WSU fills defensive coordinator position



Former Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys disputes a call during the second quarter against Washington State during the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. Minnesota won, 17-12.


WSU has hired Tracy Claeys, a former head coach at University of Minnesota in 2016, as its new defensive coordinator.

Claeys will fill the hole left by former Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch, who left WSU for a position at Ohio State University.

Claeys was the interim head coach for Minnesota in 2015 and was promoted to full-time head coach in 2016 with a three-year contract. However, he was fired after the end of that season and hasn’t coached since.

The last game he coached was the Holiday Bowl against the Cougars. The Gophers defeated WSU 17-12 in that game.

Claeys was fired from Minnesota in part because he supported 10 players who boycotted team activities, and tried to boycott the Holiday Bowl.

The boycott stemmed from an alleged sexual assault that occurred on Sept. 2. Minnesota players attempted to boycott the Holiday Bowl because they felt 10 of their teammates, who were suspended indefinitely due to an investigation into the sexual assault allegations, were treated unfairly.

Claeys stood by his players boycott and sent out a tweet voicing his support of their actions.

”Have never been more proud of our kids,” Claeys tweeted in 2016. “I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world.”

The players lifted the less than 48 hour boycott just before the team made the trip to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl after reading the school’s incident report and having discussions with the school’s administration. Ultimately four players were expelled and one was suspended in connection with the incident.

Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle criticized Claeys’ tweet supporting the boycott and pointed to it as one reason for his firing, according to USA Today.

In 2016, Minnesota’s defense finished the season ranked 21st nationally in total defense with Claeys at the helm, according to The Seattle Times.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from its original.