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Sports >  WSU football

Washington State football fills out coaching staff

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 22, 2021

Washington State edges coach A.J. Cooper watches the second half of a Pac-12 game against Oregon State on Oct. 9 in Pullman, Wash.  (Associated Press)
Washington State edges coach A.J. Cooper watches the second half of a Pac-12 game against Oregon State on Oct. 9 in Pullman, Wash. (Associated Press)
By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN – Washington State has settled on a new-look football staff just four days after the Cougars lost half of their coaches.

WSU announced Friday that it will promote offensive analyst Jordan Malone into the vacant cornerbacks coach role, expand edge coach A.J. Cooper’s duties and elevate analyst Dan Ferrigno into an unspecified on-field offensive job.

Former coach Nick Rolovich was terminated Monday for failing to comply with a state COVID-19 vaccination mandate when his religious exemption application was declined.

Four assistants – Craig Stutzmann (co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Mark Weber (offensive line), Ricky Logo (defensive tackles) and John Richardson (cornerbacks) – were also fired, leaving new interim coach Jake Dickert exceedingly short on assisting personnel with less than a week until BYU came to town.

WSU had been working on contingency plans for a few weeks, according to athletic director Pat Chun. The school has also hired run-and-shoot veterans Dan Morrison and Dennis McKnight to fill the vacant QB and O-line jobs, respectively.

“We are fortunate that Dan and Dennis have joined our staff as their experience and leadership will provide great benefit as we go forward,” Dickert said, quoted in a news release. “Both coaches are very familiar with our offensive schemes and will be tremendous resources and teachers for our players.

“We also appreciate the efforts of A.J., Dan and Jordan to take on additional roles. Our entire staff has stepped up this week to benefit the program.”

It’s uncertain whether Morrison and McKnight will be in Pullman for WSU’s game Saturday against BYU.

Malone spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Division II Augustana (South Dakota) University after two years as a DBs coach at D-II Minnesota State – both past coaching stops of Dickert’s.

A Minnesota State alumnus, Malone began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Emporia (Kansas) State in 2007. He led nickels and outside linebackers for two years afterward at FCS Central Arkansas.

In 2010, Malone coordinated the defense at D-II Simon Fraser in British Columbia before moving on to Augustana for the DBs job.

Cooper will teach WSU’s interior defensive linemen as well as its edge rushers, who are in the midst of an exceptional campaign.

A 15-year coaching veteran who has worked alongside Dickert at Wyoming and North Dakota State, Cooper spent eight seasons assisting with the Bison (2006-13) after graduating from NDSU, where he played tight end.

Cooper taught defensive ends at NDSU for five years before moving to Wyoming. He assisted with the Cowboys from 2013-19 and served as defensive ends coach and defensive run-game coordinator for one of the nation’s top statistical defenses.

Ferrigno’s new responsibilities aren’t certain, but his veteran insights are sure to be valuable to offensive coordinator Brian Smith.

Ferrigno owns four decades of coaching experience in various roles. Past employers include USC, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Michigan, San Diego State, San Jose State, Western Michigan, Cal Poly, Pacific and San Francisco State, his alma mater.

The 68-year-old has been an offensive coordinator (Western Michigan, 1982-86), and over the years, he has mentored receivers, tight ends, running backs, offensive linemen and quarterbacks. He’s also been a special teams coordinator in seven past stops.

His longest coaching stint was with the Beavers. He taught three position groups at OSU from 1987-95.

From 2001-05, he instructed Oregon’s star-studded pass-catching corps. Ferrigno coached NFL star Tony Gonzalez at Cal in the mid-1990s.

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