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A List of Good Defensive Coordinators (for no reason at all)

Just making lists of guys good at defense. It’s not a crime. This is America.

NCAA Football: North Texas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s fun to watch people do something that they are really good at. It’s even better when they represent you in some capacity.

Here’s a list of guys who have a history of leading, managing, coordinating, and implementing excellent defenses as part of their job. Why? I dunno. Just because.

Doug Belk

Current Team: Houston Cougars

Current Title: Defensive Coordinator

Salary: $1.1 million (2-year contract)

How is he good?: Houston is currently the 38th best defense in SP+ which is quite a bit better than Missouri but the real interest here is the run defense stats - 6th against the run, 8th against the pass, 3rd in efficiency, 3rd in 3-and-outs, 19th in limiting explosive plays. The Cougars are also keeping opponents to 3.7 points per scoring opportunity and are the 2nd-best defense in passing down situations.

NCAA Football: Camping World Bowl-West Virginia vs Syracuse Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Gibson

Current Team: North Carolina State Wolfpack

Current Title: Defensive Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator

Salary: $700,000 (2-year contract)

How is he good?: Simply put, the Wolfpack are Top 10 in every major advanced statistic you can think of other than passing downs defense (where they are merely 44th). They aren’t super havoc-y and are overly reliant on some excellent linebackers (his specialty), but he’s fielded excellent defenses at Arizona and West Virginia before arriving in Raleigh and is surprisingly affordable given his 20-year career.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Western Kentucky v Central Michigan Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

Lance Guidry

Current Team: Marshall Thundering Herd

Current Title: Defensive Coordinator

Salary: Unclear, but certainly less than the $1.4 million assistant pool available for Marshall’s assistant coaching staff

How is he good?: Do you like sound tackling and stingy scoring defense? Then Guidry is your guy! Despite being on the field way more than any other defense in the country (averaging 80 plays per game!), the Herd defense has a 91% tackling success rate and allow only 3.5 points per scoring opportunity. Oh, and they also happen to be the 14th-best passing defense. They aren’t as good at stopping the run but do rank 45th in the country with that “weakness” and are allowing opposing offense a combined 53% completion rate when throwing the ball.

Brandon Hall

Current Team: Troy Trojans

Current Title: Defensive Coordinator

Salary: $145,000

How is he good?: Troy stinks but their defense is legit. 14th in rushing success rate, 38th on standard downs, 10th on passing downs, and the 3rd-best havoc creating defense in the country. Havoc-reliant defenses can be a tad glitchy, especially since they don’t always connect, but their aggressive style has been a nightmare for opposing offense to deal with.

Indiana v Florida International Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

William Inge

Current Team: Fresno State Bulldogs

Current Title: Defensive Coordinator

Salary: $450,000

How is he good?: 50th-best defense might not be the most impressive thing in the world but, once again, that’s way better than Missouri AND the Bulldogs are absolute demons in the passing game, currently 6th in defending the pass and holding opponents to a nation-best 48% completion percentage. They are also 23rd in standard down defense and 6th in passing downs while ranking in the Top 10 of havoc.

Kurt Mattix

Current Team: San Diego State Aztecs

Current Title: Defensive Coordinator

Salary: $500,000

How is he good?: Well, first of all, MULLET. He has a beautiful mullet. But, more importantly, his Aztec defenses are the second-best havoc defense in the country, 2nd-best in 20+ yard plays given up, 2nd best in 3rd-down success rate, 9th against the run, and 4th in passing down situations. Now, he’s a Rocky Long disciple so he likes to run that funky 3-3-5 that Missouri gave a half-ass effort in playing against Tennessee. The difference is Mattix knows how to maximize it’s effectiveness and has shown an ability to do so for multiple years.

Chad Staggs

Current Team: Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Current Title: Defensive Coordinator

Salary: $240,000

How is he good?: 2nd-best defense against the pass, #1 defense in passing down situations, 15th in overall efficiency, and the 3rd best defense at generating sacks. They are a bit all-or-nothing and tend to give up big plays, but so far the Chants’ defense is hell on wheels and perfectly compliments their funky triple-option-spread-fusion offense.

Tony White

Current Team: Syracuse Orange

Current Title: Defensive Coordinator

Salary: $300,000

How is he good?: The Syracuse coaching staff will probably get fired at the conclusion of this 2021 season but it won’t be White’s fault. His Orange defense is 40th in the country, thanks to an effective pass rush and an uncanny ability to wipe out any big plays.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Louisiana at South Alabama Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kane Wommack

Current Team: South Alabama Jaguars

Current Title: Head Coach

Salary: $700,000

How is he good?: Last year Wommack took a perennially bottom-dwelling Indiana squad and crafted a Hoosier defense that ranked 32nd in the country. This year he took over a terrible South Alabama team whose defense ranked 109th in 2020 and, currently, has it ranked 72nd. But it’s more than just that: the Jaguars are the 8th-best defense in success rate, 33rd in forcing 3-and-outs, 29th against the run, 4th against the pass, 11th on standard downs, and 14th on passing downs. Oh, and they’re also right behind Chad Staggs’ Coastal defense in havoc and sacks generated. He’s young, energetic, and used to managing stuff on his own. Hmm.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 UTSA at Illinois Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Rod Wright

Current Team: UT-San Antonio Roadrunners

Current Title: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line

Salary: $105,000

How is he good?: Say hello to the #1 big-play prevention defense in the country! The Roadrunners (MEEP MEEP) are havoc focused, disciplined tacklers (9th most accurate tacklers in the country), and are the BEST team at eliminating explosive plays on the ground. They also excel at not giving up yards in short-yardage situations (4th) and stuff runs at an elite rate (17th). Oh, and Wright also coaches defensive line. HMM.

So...why did you put this together?

Because I just felt like it. Some intriguing options out there, huh? And affordable ones, too! Curious!