Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder made the changes to his coaching staff official on Friday by announcing the promotion of Tom Hayes to defensive coordinator, Joe Bob Clements to defensive run-game coordinator and the hiring of Mike Cox as linebackers coach.
Hayes, a 30-year coaching veteran with previous coordinator experience at three BCS institutions, was instrumental in the Wildcats’ resurgence on defense in 2011 during his first year on the staff, while Clements has been an member of Snyder’s staff for more than a decade while working with the Wildcat defensive ends.
Cox brings 20 years of college experience with him to Manhattan, most recently serving three years as linebackers coach at the University of Washington.
A University of Iowa graduate with extensive Big Eight and Big 12 coaching ties, Hayes just completed his 23rd year of coaching at the collegiate level and participated in his 14th career bowl game when the Wildcats advanced to the Cotton Bowl.
“Coach Hayes, in his first year here, had a significant role in the continued improvement of our defense and brings a great deal of experience to the program,” Snyder said in a press release. “He and Coach Clements work very well together.”
Tutoring the K-State secondary and serving as the pass game coordinator, Hayes helped Nigel Malone become an instant playmaker at cornerback, as the junior was named a Walter Camp All-American after leading the Big 12 with seven interceptions.
Prior to joining the Wildcat staff in 2011, Hayes was the defensive backs coach at Tulane (2010), while also serving as the defensive backs coach with the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and 2007.
During his career, Hayes has served as defensive coordinator at BCS institutions Stanford, UCLA, Oklahoma and Kansas and also coached the defensive backs for the Washington Redskins for five years.
At Oklahoma, Hayes was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach. He helped the Sooners to a pair of nine-win seasons and three bowl games, including a win over Virginia in the 1991 Gator Bowl and a victory over Texas Tech in the 1993 Hancock Bowl.
He was the assistant head coach and secondary coach for two seasons at Texas A&M. He helped direct the Aggies to a combined 17-7-1 record and trips to the Hancock Bowl in ‘89 (lost to Pittsburgh) and the Holiday Bowl in 1990 (victory over BYU).
Hayes worked for nine years as an assistant coach under Donahue at UCLA (1980-88).
Clements, a Kansas native and K-State graduate, will enter his 11th season overall at K-State as an assistant coach and his fourth under Snyder since his return to the sidelines in 2009. Entering his first season as the new run-game coordinator, Clements also will continue to tutor the Wildcat defensive ends.
“Coach Clements has been a loyal and highly competent member of our program for many years and is more than deserving of this advancement,” Snyder said. “He has been a great asset to our program for many years.”
Clements tutored All-Big 12 defensive end Meshak Williams last season, as the Wildcats made significant strides on defense, particularly in the running game.
K-State ranked fifth in total defense and fourth in rush defense in the Big 12 last season.
In 2009, Clements coached All-Big 12 defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald and helped a Wildcat defense improve from 117th nationally in 2008 to No. 39 in total defense.
Fitzgerald went on to sign a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs after collecting 40 tackles — 10 for a loss — and seven sacks as a senior to lead the KSU defensive front.
Clements has been a part of 12 bowl games as both a player and coach at K-State and served a total of 10 seasons on Snyder’s staff, the final six as an assistant coach in charge of the defensive ends. He also served as the Wildcats’ recruiting coordinator in 2004 and 2005.
In his first year mentoring K-State’s defensive ends in 2003, Clements’ unit helped the Wildcats lead the nation in sacks in 2003. The unit was also big in helping K-State finish the year sixth in the nation in total defense, eighth in scoring defense, 12th in pass efficiency defense and 17th in rushing defense.
A standout player in his own right, Clements came to K-State as a walk-on before earning a scholarship prior to the 1996 season. He went on to earn four letters and appear in 41 games during his career, finishing with 107 tackles, including 18 for loss and 7.5 sacks.
Cox, a 1989 graduate of the University of Idaho, spent the 2009-2011 seasons as Washington’s linebackers coach. Prior to joining the Huskies, Cox worked two seasons (2007-08) for the St. Louis Rams, coaching the secondary and linebackers.
“Mike brings experience and knowledge as well as the appropriate intrinsic values to our program,” Snyder said. “He is a quality person, a caring and competent teacher, a hard worker and works very well within a unified system. Our players will have a great appreciation for him.”
Prior to tutoring Cort Dennison to All-Pac-12 honors in 2011, Cox coached one of the conference’s top linebacker groups in 2010. Senior Mason Foster led the league and finished second in the nation with 163 total tackles, most by a Pac-10 player since the UW’s James Clifford in 1989. Foster earned first team All-Pac-10 and first-team All-America. Meanwhile, Victor Aiyewa finished first the conference and seventh in the nation in tackles per loss, while Dennison was seventh in the league in total tackles.
In his first season as the UW linebackers coach in 2009, Cox helped oversee one of the Huskies’ strongest units.
Washington’s 2009 linebackers group was led by veterans Donald Butler, E.J. Savannah and Foster. Those three combined for 193 tackles, including 94 from Butler, who was a second-team All-Pac-10 selection.
Cox also helped coach a defense that made vast improvements over the previous season as opponents’ total offense was reduced by an average of 62 yards per game and opponents scored 12 fewer points per game than in 2008.
Cox, a native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, joined the UW staff from the St. Louis Rams, where he worked for two seasons. In 2007, he was a defensive quality control/defensive line coach before moving to assistant secondary coach in 2008. After a mid-season coaching change, he became linebackers coach for the Rams.
Before his time in the NFL, Cox spent four seasons as linebackers coach at Michigan State, where he was also recruiting coordinator in 2006.
Much of Cox’s coaching career has been spent on the various coaching staffs of John L. Smith. In all, Cox served 17 seasons on a Smith staff at Michigan State, Louisville, Utah State and Idaho.
He coached the linebackers for five seasons at Louisville (1998-2002), helping the Cardinals to consecutive Conference USA championships in 2000 and 2001.
From 1995-97, he was on the staff at Utah State, where he coached a pair of All-Big West linebackers, David Gill and Tony D’Amato.
As an assistant at Idaho (1987-94) coaching linebackers and defensive line, Cox helped his alma mater to a combined record of 73-26 (.733) from 1987-94, winning four Big Sky Conference championships and finishing in the top 10 five times.
Cox is among the Vandals’ all-time leaders with 252 career tackles.