The Mike Breske File

WASHINGTON STATE coach Mike Leach's drawn-out search for a defensive coordinator concluded over the weekend with the hiring of veteran defensive coordinator known for blitzing, and finding success using both three- and four-man fronts.

The hiring of Mike Breske, who spent the past two seasons at Montana, was confirmed by multiple sources Sunday. The Cougars have yet to officially announce the hiring of any assistants, although most or all of the coaches have been identified in the media.

Breske, a standout cornerback at South Dakota State, has coached since 1981 and served as a defensive coordinator since 1983. Twenty-one years of his coaching career were spent under Joe Glenn and included three national titles -- and four title appearances -- between Northern Colorado and Montana.

Breske spent six seasons at the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) level with Glenn at Wyoming, where he was defensive coordinator, secondary coach and assistant head coach from 2003-08. The 2006 Cowboys ranked ninth in the nation in defense, allowing 262.9 total yards per game.

His recruiting terrritories there were the states of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Breske also coached a top-10 defense (289.8) in 2010 at Montana. The Grizzlies, a traditional Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) power, ranked 26th this past season at 327.1 and reached the FCS semifinals.

Breske, who also coached at Montana from 2000-02, was on the staff of national championship teams at Montana in 2001 and at then-Division II Northern Colorado in 1996 and '97.

Breske, who spent 13 years at Northern Colorado, interviewed for the Northern Colorado head coaching job last winter. He coached at North Dakota State in 2009, so WSU will be his fourth school in five years.

Leach's staff may be complete, but there have been unconfirmed reports that would-be linebackers coach Mike Smith (a coaching intern with the NFL's New York Jets) decided not to come to Washington State. Smith played for Leach at Texas Tech.

Cougfan Top Stories