OSU football: Oklahoma State hires Duke defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, former OSU defensive end Greg Richmond as assistants, as well as 4 other coaches
After three weeks of silence since making a change at defensive coordinator, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy announced six staff additions Monday night — including a defensive coordinator from the ACC.
Jim Knowles, who spent the last eight seasons as the defensive coordinator at Duke, will join the OSU staff, Gundy announced via Twitter.
Knowles, 52, is a Philadelphia native who played defensive end at Cornell. Prior to working at Duke from 2010-17, he was the head coach at Cornell from 2004-09.
Knowles, who ran a 4-2-5 defensive scheme with the Blue Devils, led a defense that ranked 21st in the country in scoring defense and 39th in defensive yards per play allowed in 2017.
The hires provide a little clarity as to Oklahoma State’s 2018 staff after most of January was spent with vacancies. Oklahoma State announced the firing of defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer on Jan. 11, and more recently lost defensive analyst Brian VanGorder, who left to become Louisville’s defensive coordinator.
Prior to his six-year stint as Cornell’s head coach, Knowles spent one season as a linebackers coach at Ole Miss (2003, the year Ole Miss defeated OSU in the Cotton Bowl), six at Western Michigan (two as defensive coordinator, four as defensive line coach), and was an assistant at Cornell from 1988-96.
The other five hires Gundy announced Monday:
· Greg Richmond, previously the defensive line coach at Division-II Fairmont (W. Va.) State. Richmond should be a familiar name for some OSU fans, as he played defensive end for the Cowboys from 1999-2003. He posted 21.5 career sacks, a mark that ranks fifth in OSU history.
Richmond has spent the past three seasons at Fairmont State. He began his coaching career at OSU in 2007 as assistant director of strength and conditioning.
Richmond is expected to fill the role of the 10th on-field assistant on Oklahoma State’s staff, coaching the defensive ends. Presumably, that would mean Joe Bob Clements will focus on coaching defensive tackles.
· Chris Thurmond, most recently the defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Rice.
Thurmond is another local name. The 64-year-old is originally from Tulsa, attending Sand Springs High School and playing for the University of Tulsa.
Thurmond’s coaching career spans 42 seasons, including stops at Tulsa, TCU, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas A&M, Kentucky and Rice. Thurmond was the defensive coordinator for Rice from 2012-16 before retiring.
· Shane Eachus, who was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Division-III Ursinus (Pennsylvania) College. Eachus worked as a graduate assistant at James Madison before taking the post at Ursinus.
· Brian Rock, previously the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Holy Cross. Rock was Holy Cross’ interim head coach for the final four games of the 2017 season, going 2-2. Rock has a couple decades of coaching experience, having worked at at Kent State, Purdue, Western Michigan and St. Joseph’s (Indiana) College. Rock is a Bowling Green alumnus.
· MK Taylor, previously on staff at Jacksonville State. Taylor will be a special teams analyst, according to his Twitter bio. He was a walk-on long snapper at Alabama from 2010-14 and is a native of Oxford, Alabama.
Gundy’s announcement did not include staff titles, and an OSU spokesman said Monday titles would not be published by OSU until the staff is completed.