OSU hires new Defensive Coordinator

Brenden Slaughter, Sports Reporter

When head coach Gary Andersen learned that former defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake had taken the head coaching job at BYU, Andersen had a list of candidates who he thought shared his vision for Oregon State. At the top of that list: Kevin Clune.

Clune was introduced to the media on Friday afternoon as the new defensive coordinator at OSU, after holding the same title last season at Utah State.

“Coach Clune has been with me a number of years and I’m excited that he will once again be on my coaching staff,” Andersen said. “He is a proven recruiter, tactician, and shares our philosophy about developing and changing the lives of student-athletes.”

Clune’s connection to Andersen goes back over a decade when they met at Utah in 2001 when Andersen was the special teams coach, and Clune was a graduate assistant.

In addition to coaching the defense, Clune will also serve as the inside linebackers coach; he also coached linebackers at Utah State last season.

When Andersen and Clune last coached together at Utah State, Clune was Andersen’s linebackers coach, most notably recruiting and coaching Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Clune brings 24 years of coaching experience to OSU and eight years as a defensive coordinator. In his last season at Utah State, he helped the Aggies reach the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Beyond his years of knowledge, Clune also has had the reputation of having a very aggressive, and statistically sound defense. Last season at Utah State, his defense ranked 17th in the country in total defense and seventh in scoring defense.

Clune inherits a defense that ranked 11th in the Pac-12 last season in terms of total yards and  ranked last in rush defense. From the moment that Clune knew the job was open, he saw it as an opportunity to help the Beavers grow.

“After our bowl game, I became very interested and wanted to take this jump,” Clune said. “I started talking to (Andersen) and I wanted it.”

With Sitake leaving, the Beavers lost one of their most proven recruiters. Many recruits took to Twitter to voice their opinions about who Andersen would replace Sitake with.

Ultimately, Andersen felt that if he hired someone who shared his philosophy, everything else would fall into place.

“It was very important to find someone who had the same views and beliefs that we have,” Andersen said. “(Clune) is used to the way that we do things here, and the transition is very easy for us.”

Clune also weighed in on how important it was to keeping the recruiting class intact, even contacting with most of defensive recruits his first night on the job.

“Recruiting is the lifeblood of what we do,” Clune said. “Last night I got on the phone and told them that I am exciting to coach them, and am excited for the future here.”

With the new hire, OSU is taking the steps to have a complete staff, but regardless the product on the field is nowhere near where Andersen wants to have it.

“We are not competing anywhere near where we expect to be, or where anyone in beaver nation expects us to be,” Andersen said. “But we are competing for championships academically and that is a great start.”

On Twitter @b_slaught

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