Safeties coach Alex Grinch is leaving Missouri's football staff to become the defensive coordinator at Washington State, he confirmed in an email. Grinch will coach the WSU secondary.
“We are excited to have Alex part of our football family,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said. “He is a passionate, tireless worker who brings tremendous excitement and aggression to our team. He has a track record of developing young talent which will be of great benefit to our defense."
“I’m excited to join the Washington State football program and thank Coach Leach for the opportunity,” Grinch said. “It’s time to get to work to produce a defense that Cougar fans can be proud of!”
Grinch replaces WSU coordinator Mike Breske, whom Leach fired after the Cougars' 3-9 season. WSU ranked 99th nationally in total defense, giving up 442.3 yards per game.
Grinch, who has coached safeties for the Tigers the last three seasons, will join former Mizzou assistant David Yost in Pullman, Wash., where he coaches receivers under Leach. Yost stepped down at Mizzou after the 2012 season. He was quarterbacks coach from 2001-2012 and served as offensive coordinator from 2009-12.
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Grinch first joined MU's staff as a graduate assistant and served in that role from 2002-04. He then spent four years at New Hampshire and three years at Wyoming.
“He’s the real deal!” said Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who worked alongside Grinch as the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire in 2005-06. “He’s intelligent, articulate and has an unbelievable work ethic. He is one of the best teachers I’ve been around.”
After the 2011 season, Grinch rejoined Mizzou's staff to replace Barry Odom, who left to take over the defensive coordinator position at Memphis. Coincidentally, Odom is back at Mizzou as defensive coordinator, replacing Dave Steckel, now head coach at Missouri State. Grinch is the nephew of Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel.
Grinch has also been Mizzou's primary recruiter in Georgia and helped land quarterback Eddie Printz, receiver Nate Brown and safeties Thomas Wilson and Tavon Ross. At MU, Grinch did his best work developing three-year starting safety Braylon Webb into a second-team All-SEC selection.
Odom was hired to coach linebackers but has spent most of his college coaching career working with safeties. Mizzou could shift Odom to safety duties and hire a new linebackers coach rather than look for a new staffer to take over Grinch's duties.