COLUMBIA, S.C. (February 9, 2015) – Long-time NFL assistant coach Jon Hoke has joined the University of South Carolina football coaching staff, head coach Steve Spurrier announced today. Hoke has been given the title of co-defensive coordinator, along with Lorenzo Ward.
“I’m really happy and excited to return to college football and especially at the University of South Carolina with Coach Spurrier again,” said Hoke. “I’m looking forward to working with Coach Ward and the defensive staff, and our plan is to return our defense to one of the best in the SEC.”
A 32-year coaching veteran, Hoke has spent the past 13 seasons as an NFL defensive backs coach, first with the Houston Texans (2002-08), then with the Chicago Bears (2009-14). He previously worked for Coach Spurrier for three seasons (1999-2001) at the University of Florida as the Gators’ defensive coordinator/secondary coach. He added the title of assistant head coach in his final two campaigns (2000-01) at Florida. In his final season with the Gators, the Florida defense ranked first in the SEC in total defense, scoring defense, and pass efficiency defense and was second in rushing defense.
While in Chicago, cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman were named to a total of four Pro Bowls under Hoke’s tutelage. From 2009-13, Chicago ranked third in the NFL in interceptions (97), second in interception return yards (1,569) and led the league with 19 interception return touchdowns. During his time with the Texans, Houston defensive backs accounted for 82.8 percent (72 of 87) of the teams’ interceptions, seventh-highest percentage in the NFL during that span and third-highest in the AFC. In 2002, he coached cornerback Aaron Glenn to the Pro Bowl.
Hoke has extensive experience in the collegiate ranks as well. He began his coaching career at Bowling Green in 1983 as the Falcons’ secondary/special teams coach. He spent four seasons in Bowling Green before taking a position as the defensive backs/special teams coach at San Diego State from 1987-88. He spent the next five years as the defensive backs coach at Kent State (1989-93), adding the title of defensive coordinator in his final season with the Golden Flashes. He mentored the defensive backs at Missouri for five seasons from 1994-98 before joining Coach Spurrier’s staff in Gainesville in 1999.
A four-year letterman at Ball State (1976-79), Hoke garnered all-MAC honors as a defensive back while earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He logged a brief stint in the NFL as a player, seeing action in 11 games for the Chicago Bears in 1980, recording seven tackles.
A native of Kettering, Ohio, Hoke and his wife, Jody, have four children: Mallory, Kyle and twins Kendall and Carly.
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Good! Now maybe Ward will now have some time to go take some language and speech classes so that people can understand what the hell he’s saying.
Good addition by Gamecocks, they had to do something to shake up that horrific defense.