Koonz actually filled the coaching void left at Texas when Chizik departed Austin in November to be Iowa State's head coach. He was a full-time member of Mack Brown's staff through the Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl. Koonz worked under Chizik as a defensive graduate assistant at Texas during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He worked in the same role with the Cyclone head coach at Auburn in 2003 and 2004.
"Jeff has been with me for five years and coached linebackers at Texas after I left for Ames," Chizik said. "He has garnered experience working on coaching staffs that have won an SEC championship, a Big 12 championship and a national championship. There are coaches who work a lifetime without experiencing that level of achievement and see first hand what it takes to get there. Jeff has experience on offense as well and he'll be a great hard-working member of our staff."
At Auburn and then Texas, Koonz shared Chizik's 29-game personal win streak over two seasons. Texas ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense, 10th in total defense and fourth in pass efficiency defense in 2005. In 2004, Auburn gave up a national low 11.3 points per game. The Tigers gave up an average of just 277.62 yards of total offense per contest, ranking fifth nationally. Koonz earned his bachelor's degree from Auburn in physical education in 2004. He received his master's degree in educational administration there in 2006.
"Coach Chizik is the first reason I am here," Koonz said. "I met him at Auburn and within a week after he got to Texas he called me and asked me to come to Austin. At the same time I had seen Iowa State's team the last two seasons and saw the great effort made by the players. I said to myself that Iowa State would be a great place to coach. Just meeting people here has reinforced that thought."
Pearson lettered three times in football at Alabama State, where he earned his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1997. The Gilbertown, Ala. native played eight seasons in the Arena Football League with stints at Tampa Bay, Florida and Los Angeles as one of the league's all-time greats. In 2003, Pearson was named to Arena Football's 15th Anniversary team as a fullback/linebacker.
Pearson's first coaching assignment was at Central High School in Mosses, Alabama, where he was defensive coordinator and then head coach in 1997 and 1998, respectively. He worked as defensive coordinator (1999-2000) and then head coach (2001-2003) at Elmore County High School in Eclectic, Ala. Pearson has been the defensive coordinator and head track coach at Oxford (Ala.) High School the last three seasons.
"Travis brings unique experience to our staff," Chizik said. "He has been a successful high school coach and played professionally in the AFL. He fills a niche for us."
"To be able to work with coach Chizik at this level of college football was an opportunity I could not pass up," Pearson said. "I have known Gene since our days at Auburn and I'm really excited to get started."
Pearson was the Metro 4A Coach of the Year in 2004 and coached in the Alabama North-South All-Star game that season.