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Who will be hired as the Defensive Coordinator at Wake Forest? ***UPDATE KNORR AND BILLINGS NAMED CO-COORDINATORS***



UPDATE (6:30): Shortly after writing this article, Heather Dinich reported that Brian Knorr and Tim Billings have been promoted to defensive co-coordinators. Of course I predicted that Steve Russ would get the job. This is a bit of an odd move, but could have been done to keep things harmonious between the coaching staff and the players. 

Now that the basketball season is over, we should turn our attention to the vacant defensive coordinator spot left open by Brad Lambert leaving to become the first head coach at Charlotte.

Knowing what we know about the way that Jim Grobe makes promotions, it would make sense that the new coordinator will come from the current coaching staff. It seems to me that there are three feasible replacements if a coach on the current roster will be promoted to the DC position: Tim Billings, Brian Knorr, and Steve Russ.

I will take a closer look at each one of these, as well as project who will get the job, and tell who I would like to get the job.

Click through for more information of the DC situation after the jump.

Wake Forest hired Lonnie Galloway last Wednesday, which made a lot of sense because of Galloway's recruiting prowess, particularly in the state of Florida:


According to multiple team sources, Galloway informed players of his decision Wednesday morning, citing proximity to his home as his major reason for the move.

Galloway came to WVU in the 2008 season under head coach Bill Stewart and was the only member of the 2010 offensive staff to be retained when new coordinator Dana Holgorsen took over for the Mountaineers. He was largely considered one of WVU’s best recruiters, specifically in the state of Florida. 


This essentially fills the open spot on the roster that Coach Lambert left us with, which reinforces my opinion that a promotion will come within. Let's take a look at the three guys with the "inside track" if you will:

Tim Billings


  • Been on the staff since 2006.
  • Coached 3 different positions in 5 years, and his group as almost always been one of the strongest groups on the team. He won Secondary Coach of the Year in 2008 when his secondary held opponents to just 172.5 passing yards per game.
  • Was an assistant coach from 1990-1998 at Marshall, and then took over as the DC in 1999. His scoring defense was the second lowest in Division I. Marshall went 13-0 that year, and finished 10th nationally.
  • Coach Billings graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he was an all-conference as a defensive back.
Brian Knorr
  • Coached at Wake Forest since 2008 season
  • This is his third time coaching alongside Jim Grobe.
  • Was the defensive coordinator at Ohio University in 1999. Was promoted to Head Coach when Jim Grobe left to come to Wake Forest (2001-2004). 
  • Was the assistant coach at Air Force for 3 years before coming to his current job (Assistant Coach/Wide Receivers) at Wake Forest.
Steve Russ


  • Also been at Wake Forest since 2008. Served as an assistant coach/Linebackers coach last year.
  • Was the defensive coordinator at Syracuse in 2007.
  • Played under Coach Grobe at Air Force in the mid-90's, and has a longstanding 
  • Played for the Denver Broncos for four years, and won 2 Super Bowl titles.
  • Coached FB's and TE's in the 3 years for the Deacs.
All three of these guys are outstanding coaches, and are extremely versatile guys that can move around and teach a lot of different areas. They all have been defensive coordinators at the D1 level, and experienced a lot of success. There have been musings and rumblings that indicate Steve Russ may be the front runner. 

In my opinion, Coach Billings has done a terrific job at every coaching job he has held. His numbers at Marshall were among the best in the nation, and he has also experienced a ton of success. While the other guys are more than capable of doing the job, I think it is time to give Tim Billings the chance to take over the defensive coordinator position.

No matter who takes over the spot, Coach Grobe has the unenviable task of trying to keep all of the coaches happy. Clearly he had to bring in somebody to take the spot, and that leaves two other worthy options with their same job (or perhaps a different position to coach). Maintaining harmony on the coaching staff and players is probably more important than the coach that gets the actual job. I have no doubt that everything will be fine, and the guys will be extremely supportive of one another.

Regardless of who is promoted, I think we can all agree that the defense needs to improve significantly from last year and will propel us to a better record than last year.