TUCSON, Ariz. – University of Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez filled the remaining vacancy on his full-time assistant coaching staff with the hiring of Brian Knorr on Monday. Knorr will serve as the Wildcats’ special teams coordinator.
Knorr joins the Arizona program with 25 years of collegiate coaching experience that includes four seasons as the head coach at Ohio University, along with six seasons of defensive coordinator responsibilities at Ohio, Wake Forest and Indiana. Most recently, Knorr spent the 2016 season as a quality control assistant on Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State University.
Prior to the one-year stint at Ohio State, Knorr was the defensive coordinator a Indiana during the 2014-15 seasons, where he tutored the defensive ends and outside linebackers. In his first season, the Hoosiers made significant improvements in scoring defense (+6.0), rushing yardage (+55.1) and total yardage per game (+94.1), as well as third down conversion percentage (+10.4), sacks (+3) and tackles for loss (+13). His second season helped Indiana to a bowl berth and a six-win season for the first time in seven years.
Before his two-year stay at Indiana, Knorr served in several coaching roles at Wake Forest over six seasons. In 2008 he joined the Demon Deacons staff as wide receivers coach where he worked on the offensive side of the ball for three years, then switched sides to become co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach in 2011. He was named defensive coordinator in 2012 when he continued to coach the inside linebackers, then oversaw the outside linebackers in his final season of 2013.
As the defensive coordinator at Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons produced some staunch numbers. In 2013, Wake Forest allowed only 24.1 points per game (38th nationally), 143.2 rushing yards (34th), 223.0 passing yards and 366.2 total yards (32nd) per game. A year prior, Knorr’s system created 23 turnovers to rank second in the ACC with 12 forced fumbles. In conference games, Wake Forest ranked in the top half of the conference in eight of the 12 major defensive categories.
Knorr made the second stop of his coaching career at Air Force, his alma mater, for three seasons from 2005-07. He was initially hired to coach outside linebackers and strong safeties for two seasons, then was named assistant head coach and mentored the inside linebackers in 2007.
Prior to his return to Air Force, Knorr put together a 10-year tenure at Ohio University highlighted by four seasons as the program’s head coach from 2001-04 as he became the first Air Force Academy graduate to be named a head football coach at the Division I level. Previously, he was the Bobcats’ defensive coordinator in 1999-2000 and a linebacker’s coach from 1995-98.
The Bobcats’ defense ranked in the top five in the Mid-American Conference in scoring, rushing and total defense every year in his time as coordinator, and five players earned all-conference accolades. Additionally, Knorr oversaw Ohio’s special teams, including in 2001 when the Bobcats led the NCAA in punting. Punter Dave Zastudil earned first team All-America honors that season and went on to an 11-year professional career with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. He is one of seven players overall coached by Knorr to go on to professional careers.
Knorr began his coaching career at his alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy, serving as assistant offensive line coach, head junior varsity coach and administrative assistant to the head coach from 1992-94. He joined the Falcons following five years as a captain on active duty, stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.
As a three-year letterman, Knorr quarterbacked the USAFA to three bowl appearances. He served as a team captain his senior season.
Knorr received a bachelor's degree in management from the Air Force Academy in 1986 and an M.B.A. from Dayton in 1991. He and his wife, Julie, have a daughter, Katie, and twins, Reagan (girl) and Brett (boy).