Big Ten: Kerry Cooks

The Big Ten was the only major conference to avoid head-coaching changes this offseason, but the league certainly had its share of staff shuffling with assistants coming and going. Indiana's hiring of Mo Moriarity as offensive line coach on Monday marked one of the last turns on this year's Big Ten coaching carousel. Wisconsin still needs to hire a defensive assistant, but things are just about wrapped up.

Barring any late coaching changes, here's a look at who's gone, who's back and who's in new roles.


Offensive coordinator

  • Who's out: Mike Schultz (fired)
  • Who's in: Paul Petrino (previously offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach at Arkansas)
Defensive coordinator

  • Who's out: Dan Disch and Curt Mallory both were demoted to position coaches. Disch is staying on staff as linebackers coach.
  • Who's in: Vic Koenning (previously co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State)
Quarterbacks coach

  • Who's out: Kurt Beathard (fired)
  • Who's in: Jeff Brohm (previously quarterbacks coach at Florida Atlantic)
Tight ends coach

  • Who's out: Jim Pry (fired)
  • Who's in: Greg Nord (previously running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Louisville)
Running backs coach

  • Who's out: Reggie Mitchell (left to become running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Kansas)
  • Who's in: DeAndre Smith (previously running backs coach at UNLV)
Other moves

  • Mallory left his position as secondary coach to become defensive coordinator at Akron.
  • Special-teams coordinator Mike Woodford was fired along with Schultz, Beathard and Pry.
  • Ron West was hired as a defensive assistant. His official responsibilities have not been announced.

Offensive line coach

  • Who's out: Bobby Johnson (left to become assistant offensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills)
  • Who's in: Myron "Mo" Moriarity (previously served as head coach at Carmel (Ind.) High School

No staff changes, but recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson was named tight ends coach. Wide receivers coach Erik Campbell previously had worked with the tight ends, while Johnson had helped Darrell Wilson with the linebackers.


Linebackers coach

  • Who's out: Jay Hopson (left to become defensive coordinator at Memphis)
  • Who's in: Quality control assistant Adam Braithwaite was promoted to outside linebackers/strong safeties coach. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will take a more active role with the linebackers in 2010.
Other moves

  • Secondary coach Tony Gibson will continue to work with cornerbacks and free safeties, and also serve as special-teams coordinator.

Running backs coach

  • Who's out: Dan Enos (left to become head coach at Central Michigan)
  • Who's in: Brad Salem (previously served as head coach at Augustana College)

Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach

  • Who's out: Jedd Fisch (left to become quarterbacks coach with the Seattle Seahawks)
  • Who's in: Jeff Horton (previously served as quarterbacks coach with the Detroit Lions)
Wide receivers coach

  • Who's out: Richard Hightower (left to become assistant special-teams coach for the Washington Redskins)
  • Who's in: Steve Watson (previously served as associate head coach with the Denver Broncos in 2008)
Other moves

  • Running backs coach Thomas Hammock was named co-offensive coordinator

No coaching changes


No coaching changes


No coaching changes


Defensive line coach

  • Who's out: Terrell Williams (left to become defensive line coach at Texas A&M)
  • Who's in: Gary Emanuel (previously served as defensive line coach at Rutgers). Emanuel also was named co-defensive coordinator with a focus on run defense.

Defensive backs coach

  • Who's out: Kerry Cooks (left to become outside linebackers coach at Notre Dame)
  • Who's in: Chris Ash (previously served as defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Iowa State)
Other moves

  • Randall McCray, who served as Wisconsin's recruiting coordinator and assistant secondary coach, left to become defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. Wisconsin has yet to fill the vacancy.
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema has tabbed Chris Ash to coach the Badgers' defensive backs, replacing Kerry Cooks, who left for Notre Dame last month.

Ash comes to Wisconsin from Iowa State, where he coached the secondary and served as recruiting coordinator. He has spent eight of the last 10 seasons at Iowa State, though he worked with Badgers defensive coordinator Dave Doeren and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge at Drake in 1996 to 1997. Ash actually succeeded Doeren as Drake's defensive coordinator after the 1997 season.

"I’m very excited to welcome Chris aboard," Bielema said in a statement. "He brings great knowledge and tremendous experience. I've known Chris for a long time and his familiarity not only with our staff but with our schemes will help in what I think will be a seamless transition for him and the rest of our coaches."

Ash's familiarity with both Doeren and Partridge, as well as his knowledge of Midwest recruiting, certainly helped his cause for the job. One potential red flag: Iowa State ranked 102nd nationally against the pass in 2009.

Big Ten lunch links

January, 13, 2010
Kind of quiet up here in Big Ten country, at least compared to Knoxville and L.A.

A few tidbits for you on another frigid day in Chicago.

  • Speaking of the weather, I cracked up when I saw there's a wind chill advisory and a freeze warning for Opa Locka, Fla., site of tonight's FedEx Orange Bowl matchup between No. 10 Iowa and No. 9 Georgia Tech (Fox, 8 p.m. ET). Apparently 40-degree temperatures scare people down there. As my buddy Nick P. likes to say, get tough. Anyway, Iowa certainly will feel right at home tonight, as temperatures will be between 45 degrees and 51 degrees during the game. Winds are at 10 mph. Though Georgia Tech is a running team, the weather probably favors Iowa. Wonder whether the Yellow Jackets will need sideline heaters like Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl.
  • Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema has confirmed that secondary coach Kerry Cooks will leave to join Notre Dame's staff. Cooks is expected to oversee the linebackers at Notre Dame. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reports that Badgers reserve running back Erik Smith will transfer, which isn't surprising considering the team's logjam in the backfield.
  • Here's what Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez had to say about his new boss, Dave Brandon: "We are very excited that Dave will be leading our athletic department. He has been a successful leader in business, and I'm sure all of our teams will benefit from his experience."
  • Will Penn State running back Evan Royster follow teammate Navorro Bowman to the NFL? The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Musselman thinks so.
  • Several former Illinois assistants, including former head man Ron Turner, got the boot from the Chicago Bears today.

Big Ten lunch links

January, 4, 2010
If you hadn't noticed, it'll be Orange Bowl Central around here through Tuesday night's game between Iowa and Georgia Tech. Also, check out the ACC blog as my colleague Heather Dinich reports from South Florida.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Official practice reports are few and far between in the Big Ten -- I'm definitely jealous of ACC blogger Heather Dinich -- but several teams put together some notes on the early workouts.

Here are a few tidbits from around the league.

WISCONSIN (Tuesday's practice)

  • One notable thing from the position drills was the defensive backs were putting a lot of emphasis on catching whatever was thrown their way from assistants Randall McCray and Kerry Cooks. During one of the interception drills, if a player dropped a ball, they had to do push-ups, much like the wide receivers had to do during spring practice. I only noticed three players doing push-ups during the drill.
  • After the position work, the Badgers broke down onto 7-on-7 drills and punters Brad Nortman and Ryan Wickesberg had the opportunity to punt in special teams work. Aaron Henry and David Gilreath worked as the punt returners and after that, the team did a tempo drill to work on getting substitutions from the sideline and in and out of the huddle at a fast pace.
  • Offensive linemen Bill Nagy and John Moffitt were both kept out of practice today, but they were seen riding on the stationary bikes.
  • Freshman wide receiver Kraig Appleton had a lot of throws coming his way, but the most impressive one came during the freshmen vs. freshmen drill. Jon Budmayr found Appleton, who was heavily defended at the sidelines, but caught the pass and broke the defense before going out of bounds.
MINNESOTA (Tuesday's practice)
  • The passing game is coming along. Junior Hayo Carpenter showed some very sticky hands on a couple of passes that maybe shouldn't have been caught. One day after a dropped pass on what could have been a big gain, sophomore Brandon Green made a great diving catch along the far sideline for a 30-plus yard gain. Last but not least, in seven-on-seven drills, senior Eric Decker got free down a seam in the defense and out-ran the secondary to the end zone.
  • Cornerback Traye Simmons had a big day defensively. Simmons put together quite a nice sequence late in practice, during some team scrimmage work. In the span of four plays, he tallied a pick and a pass break-up. Simmons grabbed the interception on a tipped ball and got the PBU by knocking away a pass that looked like it would surely come down in the hands of Decker.