WSU hires ex-Minnesota coach Tracy Claeys as defensive coordinator

Jan 8, 2018, 4:36 PM | Updated: 6:19 pm
Tracy Claeys' Minnesota team beat Mike Leach's Cougars in the 2016 Holiday Bowl. (AP)...
Tracy Claeys' Minnesota team beat Mike Leach's Cougars in the 2016 Holiday Bowl. (AP)

Mike Leach’s new defensive coordinator is Tracy Claeys, who coached Minnesota to a Holiday Bowl over Leach’s WSU Cougars just one season ago.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported Monday afternoon that Claeys has been hired by WSU on a two-year deal. The school confirmed his hiring just hours later.

Jim Moore on WSU’s season-ending loss to Michigan State

“Tracy comes highly recommended as a tremendous teacher, strategist, and a player’s coach with an impressive body of work that has withstood the test of time,” Leach said in a press release. “We are fortunate to have him at Washington State University.”

Previous WSU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was officially announced as the newest member of the Ohio State coaching staff earlier in the day.

Claeys, 49, led Minnesota to an 11-8 record in his short tenure as head coach, first as interim head coach for six games in 2015. His Gophers finished 9-4 in 2016, including a 17-12 win over the pass-heavy Cougars in the Holiday Bowl, but he was fired at the end of the season amidst outrage over a player boycott due to 10 Minnesota players being suspended after they were accused of having roles in a sexual assault case.

At Washington State, Claeys is reunited with defensive line coach Jeff Phelps, as the pair coached together at Minnesota from 2011-16.

Before being Gophers head coach, Claeys spent four-plus years as the Minnesota defensive coordinator, establishing the team as one of the best defenses in the Big Ten.


The Associated Press

Boogie Ellis sparks USC Trojans past WSU Cougars 80-70

Boogie Ellis scored 17 of his 23 points in the 2nd half to offset a big game by WSU star Mouhamed Gueye and USC got an an 80-70 win.
2 days ago
The Associated Press

Jakimovski, Powell, Gueye help WSU Cougars past ASU 75-58

Andrej Jakimovski scored a career-high 22 points to help the WSU Cougars beat Arizona State 75-58 in Pac-12 action on Saturday night.
7 days ago
The Associated Press

No. 6 Arizona Wildcats beat WSU Cougars 63-58 to split series

Azuolas Tubelis had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats as No. 6 Arizona beat the WSU Cougars 63-58 on Thursday night.
9 days ago
WSU HC Jake Dickert...
The Associated Press

WSU Cougars HC Jake Dickert agrees to extension through 2027

WSU head football coach Jake Dickert has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him tied to the Cougars through the 2027 season.
10 days ago
Colorado WSU KJ Simpson...
The Associated Press

WSU falls 58-55 after Colorado’s tie-breaking 3 in final seconds

Tristan da Silva scored 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting, KJ Simpson hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds and Colorado beat WSU 58-55.
13 days ago
WSU Utah...
The Associated Press

Carlson’s 28 helps Utah beat WSU 77-63 to end 3-game skid

Branden Carlson scored a career-high 28 points to lead Utah to a 77-63 victory over WSU on Thursday night to end a three-game losing streak.
16 days ago
WSU hires ex-Minnesota coach Tracy Claeys as defensive coordinator