We heard a lot of names tossed around regarding WSU's open defensive coordinator job. We knew quite a lot about a few of those names -- like Clancy Pendergast and Manny Diaz -- but they didn't get the job. Instead, Alex Grinch will come from Missouri to Pullman and well ... we know decidedly less about Grinch. We'll learn much more in the coming days and weeks, but for now, here is what we know and what we don't.
What we know about Alex Grinch
Grinch began his career as a graduate assistant at Missouri. He went on to coach cornerbacks and the secondary at New Hampshire for four years before taking over as the secondary coach at Wyoming for three seasons -- where he replaced Mike Breske. Grinch returned to Missouri in 2012 as the safeties coach. Missouri's pass defense got better in each of Grinch's seasons, improving from 7.4 yards per pass allowed in 2012 to 6.2 last season.
He spent two of his seasons at New Hampshire doubling as the recruiting coordinator and has been mentioned as being a strong recruiter by a couple of people.
Grinch is Gary Pinkel's nephew and has close ties to Missouri (his brother is associate athletic director). So he wasn't necessarily a guy who would have jumped for a little extra money. He must feel strong enough about the job to leave the Tigers.
He doesn't have very many ties to the WSU staff, but did coach a few seasons with David Yost at Missouri. The two were together for four years, including Yost's last year at Missouri in 2012.
Grinch recruited Texas while at Wyoming and Georgia during his time at Missouri. Most of his recruiting ties appear to be in the south.
Bill Connelly, resident Mizzou SB Nation expert, has good things to say:
Webb was great.
Singleton was good. Simon at the very least has improved ... which maybe be because of Grinch, too. Safety play of the last two years has been better than it was the few years before. I think he did a lovely job.
Chip Kelly also has very good things to say. Kelly coached with Grinch at New Hampshire and praised Grinch to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports:
"He's a stud," Kelly told FOX Sports Wednesday. "He's a real rising star. One of the best teachers I've been around."
What we don't know about Alex Grinch
While there are a fair amount of positives on Grinch's resume, we have no idea how he will fair as a defensive coordinator. Bill Moos said one of the priorities of the hire was to find someone with experience as a defensive coordinator. The Cougars ended up going a different route. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but there isn't previous success we can point to and say Grinch is absolutely capable. There will surely be an adjustment period, but in the end not having defensive coordinator experience may not matter at all. New Missouri defensive coordinator Barry Odom was the secondary coach at Mizzou before Grinch. He left to take the Memphis DC job and did extremely well. He was among the candidates mentioned for WSU and I suspect most would have been thrilled with the hire. We'll see if Grinch is able to make the same transition.
Scheme remains a question. Grinch has never run his own defense so it's hard to say what scheme he prefers. That's another question that will be answered quickly as the Cougars transition to spring football in the coming months.
We don't know the terms of Grinch's deal yet, but I'd suspect his salary will be similar to the $376,500 Mike Breske made last season. Grinch made $251,000 at Missouri last season.