Earlier this week, one of WSU newest assistant coaching hires helped WSU land one of the hottest players on the transfer market when former Incarnate Word QB Cameron Ward announced that he will join his former head coach, and new WSU offensive coordinator, Eric Morris in Pullman this fall. And while those additions will be huge, Dickert is also banking on a pair of assistants from last years staff to help lead the way in 2022.
On Tuesday, WSU announced that defensive line coach A.J. Cooper will stay on the staff as defensive run game coordinator and edges coach. The program will also keep Jordan Malone on staff as a defensive assistant.
Cooper has spent two season with WSU. Before that he worked with Dickert at Wyoming as the defensive run game coordinator. During his time with the Cowboys he coached five all-conference players and, in 2018, helped the team rank as one of the best defenses in the country.
Last season, Cooper helped to coach one of the best groups of defensive linemen in the Pac-12. Under his leadership, Ron Stone Jr. was named to the all-Pac-12 first team while Brennan Jackson was named to the honorable mention squad.
“I have worked with AJ Cooper for a number of years and I am excited to have him on our staff in an elevated role,” said WSU head coach Jake Dickert via a press release. “He has proven to be a great developer of talent as evident in the play of our Edge position this season and excited for what the future holds.”
Malone joined the Cougs in 2020 as a defensive assistant. He was promoted to cornerbacks coach last October after several assistants were fired due to the vaccine mandate. During that stretch his unit allowed just 193.7 yards per game.
“Jordan has proven throughout the season that he possesses the knowledge and leadership to coach at the highest level and has been a great asset to our defensive secondary,” said Dickert. “I am excited to have him continue in our program.”
While two assistants have decided to stick around, Dickert also announced Tuesday that another assistant has decided to move on. Veteran defensive backs coach Mark Banker has turned down an offer to return next season due to, what Dickert is calling ‘personal reasons.’
“Mark has been a mentor of mine,” Dicker said, “someone I’ve relied on the last couple of years. He’s done an amazing job and he’ll always be welcome at our program, but I think there’s a lot of sunshine and golf in his future – he’s been in this game for 40-plus years.”
Dickert mentioned in a press conference that the team is also close to hiring an assistant to lead the tight end group. He expects that hire to be made by the end of the week.
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