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It's Official: Chris Ash Named DC

Aaron Carrara

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Here's the official release via Texas Athletics:

Ash named defensive coordinator at Texas

A former head coach at Rutgers and veteran defensive coordinator, including leading the defense for Ohio State’s 2014 National Championship team, Chris Ash has joined the Longhorns staff.

AUSTIN, Texas – Chris Ash, a former head coach at Rutgers and defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, Arkansas and Ohio State has been named defensive coordinator at Texas, head coach Tom Herman announced Tuesday. Ash’s success as a defensive coordinator includes leading the Ohio State defense when the Buckeyes won the 2014 National Championship. He will join the Longhorns staff on Dec. 18th, but will not be coaching in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

“After taking a hard look at a lot of options at defensive coordinator, Chris was the one that continued to stand out,” Herman said. “We couldn’t be more excited what he’ll add to our staff. I’ve witnessed firsthand Chris’ skills as a game planner, his attention to detail and ability to develop players. He gets the best out of every one of them and has a history of building physical, fundamentally sound, winning defenses. He has done it at the highest level, is a tremendous all-around coach and an awesome person. I know he’ll do great things, and our players, coaches and staff will really enjoy working with him. We look forward to his arrival in Austin, getting to work, and him and his family joining our Longhorn family.”

This marks the third time Herman and Ash will join forces on the same coaching staff, as Herman was offensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2014, and they were also together at Iowa State in 2009. Herman was offensive coordinator there, while Ash served as the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator.

“Number one, I’m humbled and extremely honored to be able to coach football at The University of Texas,” Ash said. “I want to thank Tom Herman and Chris Del Conte for this opportunity and for their professionalism throughout the process. My family and I are very excited to move to Austin and become part of Longhorn Nation, and I’m ready to lead and serve our student-athletes.

“I have a great deal of respect for Coach Herman as a coach and a person. If I didn’t believe in him, I wouldn’t be making this move. I have complete confidence and faith and trust in his ability to lead and to coach, and I’m excited to be a part of this program.”

After a 19-year career as an assistant coach and coaching staff member, Ash became head coach at Rutgers in 2016 and spent three-plus seasons with the Scarlet Knights.

The 2017 season was one marked by improvements for Rutgers as the team matched its program record for victories in Big Ten play, tying a league win total of three from 2014, its first year in the conference. Rutgers defeated Illinois on the road for its first league road win in two seasons and topped both Purdue and Maryland at home.

Before Rutgers, Ash served as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Ohio State and helped lead the Buckeyes to the 2014 National Championship. Ash spent five years in the Big Ten Conference, including four as a defensive coordinator, with four Big Ten championships.

In his five seasons total as a defensive coordinator, including 2013 at Arkansas, Ash led four groups ranked in the top 25 statistically, including a top-10 defensive unit in 2015 at Ohio State. As the defense coordinator at Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012, the Badgers put together back-to-back seasons that ranked 15th overall in total defense. The 2011 squad was 13th in scoring defense, while the 2012 team was 17th.

“Texas is a place with a lot of history and tradition,” Ash said. “It’s synonymous with success. There are great players that have been in this program, there are great players in this program, and I’m really excited about what we can do in the future. I’ve recruited in the state of Texas. When I was at Ohio State, I had been in the state to recruit, and as a young coach at Iowa State in the Big 12, I always thought Texas was the gold standard and would be a place you would want to be at and work at, and I’m thrilled about this opportunity.”

Ash was hired by Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer in January 2014 to improve a Buckeye defense that placed 110th nationally in pass defense and 46th in total defense in 2013. In his first season, OSU's defense ranked 19th nationally in total defense (342.4 ypc), 26th in scoring defense (22.0 ppg), 13th in pass efficiency defense (108.17) and 28th in pass defense (201.1 ypg). The Buckeyes also ranked fourth nationally with 24 interceptions, fifth in turnovers gained (33), 16th in third-down defense (34.4%), 13th in sacks (3.00 pg) and 14th in tackles for loss (7.3 pg) en route to a Big Ten and National Championship.

Defensive end Joey Bosa was a unanimous first-team All-American, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and first-team All-Big Ten, along with DB Doran Grant, while DT Michael Bennett and LB Joshua Perry were second-team. Grant and Bennett went on to both be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.

In 2015, the Ohio State defense continued its strides under Ash, ranking second nationally in scoring defense (15.1 ppg) and ninth in total defense (311.3 ypg), as well as 16th in passing defense (184.5 ypg) and 22nd in rushing defense (126.8 ypg). It also ranked sixth in pass efficiency defense (104.78) and ninth in sacks (2.92 spg). The No. 7 Buckeyes defeated No. 8 Notre Dame, 44-28, in the Fiesta Bowl, finishing the year with a 12-1 record and a No. 4 ranking in both The Associated Press and Coaches Polls.

Bosa was named consensus All-America and Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. Defensive tackle Adolphus Washington and safety Vonn Bell earned first-team All-America honors from the Sporting News, while Bell also was an Associated Press first-team All-American. Perry earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition, while LB Darron Lee and CB Eli Apple earned second-team honors.

The 2016 NFL Draft saw numerous players from Ash’s unit selected, including the first overall defensive player in Bosa, who was picked third by the San Diego Chargers. In all, the draft featured six players from the Ohio State defense, all in the first four rounds with three in the first round. Along with Bosa, Apple was chosen 10th overall by the New York Giants, and Lee was selected 20th by the New York Jets. Bell was taken in the second round, while Washington was picked in the third, and Perry in the fourth.

Prior to taking over the OSU defense, Ash held the defensive coordinator post and coached the secondary at Arkansas in 2013 under head coach Bret Bielema. He helped improve Arkansas' pass defense in his one season in Fayetteville, with the Razorbacks' defense finishing 72nd nationally in passing yards allowed after ranking 113th in 2012.

Ash was first promoted to the level of defensive coordinator at a Power Five school while at Wisconsin, where he spent three seasons, the last two of which were as coordinator (2011-12) with the first as defensive backs coach (2010). His 2011 defense ranked fourth nationally in fewest passing yards allowed (163.6 ypg), 13th in scoring defense (19.0 ppg) and 15th in total defense (316.4 ypg). In 2012, the UW defense again ranked 15th nationally in total defense (322.5), along with 17th in scoring defense (19.1 ppg), 18th in fewest passing yards allowed (193.6 ypg), 22nd in pass efficiency defense and 24th against the run (128.9 ypg).

Ash began his coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant at his alma mater, Drake, in 1997. He was promoted to defensive coordinator for the next two seasons before moving on to Iowa State in 2000. Ash spent eight seasons over two different stints in Ames, including the 2009 season, during which Herman was the offensive coordinator. Ash progressed from graduate assistant with the Cyclones in 2000-01 to defensive backs coach for a total of six seasons, adding the title of recruiting coordinator for 2006 and ‘09.

Ash spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons at San Diego State as the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator under head coach and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Chuck Long.

A native of Ottumwa, Iowa, Ash earned his undergraduate degree from Drake in 1996, and was a two-time letterwinner at defensive back for the Bulldogs. He is one of three from that era of Drake football who became an FBS head coach, joining Dave Doeren (NC State) and Charlie Partridge (formerly with Florida Atlantic). Ash completed his master's degree in education from Iowa State in 2005.

Ash and his wife, Doreen, are the parents of a son, Brady and daughter, Alexis. Ash also has a son, Tanner, and a daughter, Jacey.

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I like this hire. The comfort hire angle is being overplayed behind the paywalls. Take away the comfort hire aspect and Ash checks all the boxes we as Longhorn fans were looking for.

1. Success at a high level at a major program

2. Excellent recruiter

3. Teaches a four man front with man to man quarters in the secondary.

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4 hours ago, Baron said:

I like this hire. The comfort hire angle is being overplayed behind the paywalls. Take away the comfort hire aspect and Ash checks all the boxes we as Longhorn fans were looking for.

1. Success at a high level at a major program

2. Excellent recruiter

3. Teaches a four man front with man to man quarters in the secondary.

I 100% agree. He’s been successful every he’s been a DC and his area of expertise is the secondary. Perfect hire IMO.

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