The University of Louisville didn't waste any time announcing its two new football hirings.
U of L announced on Wednesday night that contracts had been finalized for new defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon and new defensive backs coach Lorenzo Ward, who both had been hired in recent days.
Sirmon, who comes from Mississippi State, was hired by Petrino on Sunday and replaced Todd Grantham, who served as the defensive coordinator for three seasons at U of L. Ward, who was at Fresno State last season, replaces Keith Heyward, who is now at Oregon.
"I can’t express enough how thrilled I am to lead the defense at the University of Louisville heading into next season," Sirmon said. "I have tremendous respect for what Coach Petrino has done with the program during his tenure and what the future holds as we try to attain a goal of winning a national championship.
His teams are always well-coached and execute at a high level, which has been evident by all the success this program has enjoyed over the years. There are so many great things happening there and I am humbled to receive such a great opportunity."
Considered a bright young defensive mind, Sirmon was a seven-year player in the NFL for the Tennessee Titans joins the Louisville staff after one season at Mississippi State as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
"I'm thrilled to have Peter joining our staff and running our defense," Petrino said. "Throughout the coaching ranks, he is widely considered one of the brightest young defensive minds in the country and I’m extremely fortunate to be able to have him lead our defense.
"Sirmon’s attacking style of defense was one of the best in the country at forcing turnovers last year and his ability to get his player to play hard on every play was something that caught my attention. He is a tremendous person and coach, and will be a great addition to our staff."
Ward is a veteran add to the staff by Petrino.
He's a 20-year coaching veteran at the FBS level, including one season at Arkansas under Petrino. Ward has six years of experience as a defensive coordinator, including four in the Southeastern Conference at South Carolina. Before joining Petrino’s staff, Ward served one season as Fresno State’s defensive coordinator following a seven-year stint at South Carolina under Steve Spurrier.
"Adding a coach with the experience of Lorenzo Ward is very exciting and will be a great addition to the University of Louisville football staff," Petrino said. "Lorenzo is a guy I've known and respected for a long time, and saw the incredible job he did as the defensive coordinator at South Carolina. He does a tremendous job developing players, building relationships, working with a staff, and is one of the top recruiters in the collegiate game. I’m excited he will be joining our staff."