(Courtesy Oregon Athletic Department)
EUGENE, Ore. – Willie Taggart added another member to his coaching staff when he announced the hiring of Keith Heyward on Wednesday to coach safeties.
Heyward joins Willie Taggart’s staff after a season as Louisville’s defensive backs coach in which the Cardinals racked up 15 interceptions. Heyward worked at USC for the two years prior (2014-15), coaching defensive backs while also serving as passing game coordinator for the Trojans.
While helping the Trojans to the Pac-12 Championship game and a trip to the Holiday Bowl in 2015, cornerback Iman Marshall earned first-team Freshman All-American honors, while Adoree' Jackson was a Hornung Award finalist and an All-Pac-12 first-team performer at defensive back under Heyward’s tutelage.
Heyward went to USC from Pac-12 rival Washington, where he was the defensive backs coach for the 2012 and 2013 seasons for the Huskies. Heyward’s secondary finished 23rd in the nation in passing defense in 2012 (197.3 ypg), and he coached first-round draft pick Desmond Trufant.
Heyward’s first Pac-12 coaching stint came in 2008 at his alma mater, Oregon State, where he worked as the defensive backs coach until 2011. He started his coaching career with the Beavers as a graduate assistant in 2005 and 2006, and worked as linebackers coach at Cal Poly in 2007 before rejoining OSU’s staff as secondary coach.
Heyward, who played his prep ball at Taft High in Woodland Hills, Calif., earned his bachelor’s degree in communications in 2000 and was a four-year letterman as a cornerback at Oregon State, earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors as a senior and ending his career with 35 consecutive starts.
After graduating from OSU, Heyward played professionally for the BC Lions in the CFL (2001), the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe (2202) and the L.A. Avengers of the Arena League (2004).