Tigers hire Kevin Clune as linebackers coach


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Wake Forest defeated Memphis 37-34 Saturday at the Birmingham Bowl.
Jason Munz, Southern Miss Sports Writer

Memphis football coach Mike Norvell completed his staff by announcing the hiring of Kevin Clune as linebackers coach.

Clune was a senior defensive assistant last season at Memphis after spending the 2016 and 2017 seasons as Oregon State’s defensive coordinator.

“Kevin brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience to the position, having been a defensive coordinator, with over 15 years coaching the position,” Norvell said in a statement. “Coach Clune is one of the smartest football coaches I have been around. He also has great familiarity of our players and has earned the respect of everyone in the program over the last year while being a part of our staff.”

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Clune is the second member of Norvell’s staff who was promoted. Tight ends coach Tony Tokarz was elevated after serving as a graduate assistant the past two seasons.

Clune spent the 2015 season as Utah State’s defensive coordinator, his second stint with the Aggies after coaching linebackers from 2009-13. He was a defensive coordinator at Southern Utah (2003-04) and Weber State (2005-08).

Analysis

Clune has a strong track record for developing linebackers. During both stints at Utah State, he saw three of his players taken in the NFL Draft, including future All-Pro and Super Bowl champion Bobby Wagner in 2012 by the Seattle Seahawks.

New Memphis linebackers coach Kevin Clune was previously defensive coordinator at Oregon State from 2016-17 (Photo: Gary Horowitz/Statesman Journal)

In 2016, Nick Vigil and Kyler Fackrell were drafted in the third round by the Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers, respectively.

At Weber State, linebacker J.D. Folsom was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2009.

Clune had mixed success as a coordinator. At Utah State, the Aggies ranked 13th nationally in passing yards allowed and 17th in total defense. But at Oregon State in 2017, the Beavers finished 11th in the Pac-12 in total defense and last in turnover margin.

Clune’s strength, however, is working with linebackers and him being around the Tigers last season will help ease the transition under a new system with defensive coordinator Adam Fuller. The Tigers return several linebackers, including starters Austin Hall, JJ Russell and Bryce Huff.

COACHING CHANGES: Mike Norvell’s new coaching staff set for 2019 season

SPRING PRACTICE: Memphis football announces spring practice to begin March 16

 

 


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