By virtue of an injury that sidelined him for 10 games, Peyton Pelluer got his first taste of coaching during his fifth season at Washington State, guiding the team’s young linebackers while monitoring the Cougars’ home games from the press box with the defensive coaching staff.
Now Pelluer, a fourth-generation Cougar who appeared in more games (54) than any other player in program history, has lined up his first official coaching gig.
The former WSU linebacker will reunite with ex-Cougars coach Mike Leach in Starkville, Mississippi, at Mississippi State, as a defensive volunteer, his mother Kim confirmed to The Spokesman-Review.
It’s unclear which position group Pelluer will work with, but he hopes to be elevated to a defensive graduate assistant spot on MSU’s staff, Kim Pelluer told the S-R.
Former WSU running backs coach Eric Mele, who now holds the same position at MSU, was the first to hint at Pelluer’s addition, posting a photo with the former Coug inside the Bulldogs’ football complex.
Mele’s Twitter caption read: “Reunited and it feels so good! Welcome to #HailState”
In 2018, before Pelluer’s final season with the Cougars, Leach indicated the linebacker would be well-suited for a coaching role when his playing days ended, saying “He loves football, he’s dedicated and he’s a big film guy. Understands it, kind of gets everybody lined up. Also a real instinctual guy.”
Following his sixth and final season at WSU, Pelluer competed in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and had one brief opportunity in the NFL when he received a rookie minicamp tryout with the Cleveland Browns.
There should be plenty of familiarity for Pelluer on MSU’s staff. Along with Leach and Mele, former WSU assistants Dave Nichol, Steve Spurrier Jr., Darcel McBath, Jeff Phelps, Matt Brock and Mason Miller are also on the Bulldogs’ staff. Strength coach Tyson Brown accepted a position at MSU after Leach was hired, as did Chief of Staff Dave Emerick and Director of Player Personnel Brittany Thackery.
Pelluer is no stranger to the coaching world, either. His father Scott, once a defensive stalwart at WSU, held a variety of positions during a coaching career that spanned nearly 20 years and included stints at Washington, Arizona, Boise State, Northern Arizona and Skyline High School.
The move to Mississippi State will also bring Pelluer closer to his older sister, Jordan, who’s married to Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach/run game coordinator Tosh Lupoi. Pelluer briefly contemplated transferring to Alabama for his final collegiate season when Lupoi was the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator.
Many of Pelluer’s former WSU teammates have landed coaching positions since leaving Pullman. Two of the Cougars’ former nickels, Hunter Dale and Parker Henry, are defensive graduate assistants at UNLV and Oklahoma, respectively, and Pelluer will have a chance to reunite with ex-WSU quarterback Trey Tinsley, who’s now an offensive graduate assistant at Mississippi State working with quarterbacks and wide receivers. Former Cougars defensive lineman, a senior in 2019, Karson Block is now the defensive line coach at Division II Southwest Minnesota State.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.