Vandals add McDonell to coach OL

FOR FIVE YEARS THE VANDAL COACHING STAFF has remained largely stable since head coach Robb Akey took over before the 2007 season. Since then his Defensive Coordinator (Mark Criner), OC (Steve Axman), and Recruiting Coordinator (Luther Carr) have remained on board, with only a small handful of position coaching changes. This week Idaho announced the addition of John McDonell to coach the O-Line.

Below is an official press release from the University of Idaho Athletics Department.

MOSCOW, Idaho – John McDonell, a native of Spokane, Wash., has returned to his northwest roots as the offensive line coach at the University of Idaho, coach Robb Akey announced Tuesday.

"I'm excited as can be," Akey said. "I've known John my entire college football life. He's going to be a great addition to our staff."

McDonell (pronounced MAC-dun-el) comes to Idaho from the University of Memphis, where he was the Tigers' offensive line coach for one season (2010) after serving for one season in the same capacity at Bowling Green State University (2009).

After graduating from Montana's Carroll College in 1981, McDonell embarked on a coaching career that began at Weber State (1984-88) before stops at Washington State (1989-2000), Stanford (2001, 2005), Notre Dame (2002-04) and Purdue (2006-08).

"He brings a wealth of experience to our staff," Akey said. "He's a first-class person, a great recruiter, a great football coach.

"He's had success at the highest levels of football."

McDonell welcomed the chance to return to his roots.

"It's an outstanding opportunity for me and my family," McDonell said. "We're from the West. We wanted to get back out this way.

"Having the opportunity to work with coach Akey and the staff he has assembled and to continue to do with the program what they are doing is very exciting to me. It's an opportunity to jump on board and continue the success the Vandals have been having."

McDonell is a graduate of Spokane's Gonzaga Prep High School. At Carroll College, he was an NAIA All-American his senior year after having been an all-Frontier Conference choice three times. He was inducted into the Carroll College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.

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