WSU's new D-Line coach has big credentials

FOR THE SECOND TIME in three weeks, Paul Wulff has added an assistant coach with sterling credentials to his defensive staff. Washington State's new defensive line coach comes from UCLA, where he spent the past five seasons. And before that he played and coached in the NFL, and has a Super Bowl ring to show for it. As an added bonus, he was the Bruins' point man in recruiting the Los Angeles area.

Todd Howard is trading baby blue for crimson and gray, has confirmed through multiple sources, and will start work in Pullman next week.

He replaces Malik Roberson, who has served as the Cougs' d-line coach the past three seasons.

UCLA has been going through a down period of late but one of the better pieces of the team in recent years has been the defensive line. Howard came to Bruinville in 2006 under Karl Dorrell and stayed put when Rick Neuheisel took over. This past season Neuheisel gave him the added title of associate head coach.

Alas, the heat under Neuheisel's seat is hot these days and the result is a coaching staff that is in serious flux. That's how WSU was able to land Howard. Update: UCLA announced today that Howard had been fired but CF.C has learned that Howard-to-WSU has been in the works for weeks.

The addition of Howard, along with new linebackers coach Chris Tormey, means Washington State now has two assistants with extensive recruiting ties in southern California. His recruiting region at UCLA was Los Angeles, and he also covered a number of the South Bay high schools.

On the field, Howard has mentored some true notables at UCLA, including tackle Brian Price and ends Bruce Davis and Justin Hickman. Price and Hickman were All-Americans, and Price also was the Pac-10's 2009 Defensive Player of the Year.

Howard has 14 years of experience coaching in college and five in the NFL. A third-round draft choice by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1987, he played in the NFL for two seasons and one in the World League before injury ended his playing career and started him along the coaching path.

Howard's NFL coaching resume includes three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and two with the St. Louis Rams, who won the Super Bowl in Howard's second season there.

Howard holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&M, where he starred as a linebacker in the mid 1980s and later launched his coaching career there in 1991. His head coach at A&M was former WSU head coach Jackie Sherrill. Between his last three years as an Aggie player and his three there as a coach, Howard won six Southwest Conference championships.

Note: Later on Thursday afternoon, in WSU's official statement on Howard's hire, Paul Wulff announced Chris Ball is the Cougs' assistant head coach and lone defensive coordinator. Former co-defensive coordinator Jody Sears will focus solely on coaching cornerbacks. Ball also coaches the safeties.

Cougfan Top Stories