Ohio State Officially Hires Ex-Indiana Head Coach Kevin Wilson as Offensive Coordinator, Tight Ends Coach

By Eric Seger on January 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm
Ohio State officially hires Kevin Wilson as its offensive coordinator.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

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Former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson is officially Ohio State's next offensive coordinator and tight ends coach, the program announced on Tuesday.

Wilson is set to take over for Ed Warinner, who the Buckeyes did not mention in a press release. Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reported earlier on Tuesday that Warinner is in line to be P.J. Fleck's offensive line coach at Minnesota. Eleven Warriors later confirmed that move.

News began to circulate of Wilson's imminent hire last week after Ohio State and Urban Meyer announced the hire of Ryan Day as its next quarterbacks coach in place of Tim Beck, who left for Texas.

Day will serve as Wilson's co-offensive coordinator, according to the press release. Ohio State also said Bill Davis will coach the linebackers in place of the departed Luke Fickell, who left to take the head job at Cincinnati.

Kevin Wilson's Career
Year(s) Team Pos
1984–86 NORTH CAROLINA GA
1987 WINSTON-SALEM STATE OL
1988 NORTH CAROLINA A&T OC/OL
1989 FRED T. FOARD HS HC
1990–91 MIAMI (OH) OL
1992–97 MIAMI (OH) OC/OL
1998 MIAMI (OH) OC/QB
1999–2000 NORTHWESTERN OC/QB
2001 NORTHWESTERN AHC/OC/QB
2002–05 OKLAHOMA Co-OC/OL
2006–10 OKLAHOMA OC/TE/FB
2011-16 INDIANA HC
2017– OHIO STATE OC/TE

Meyer deemed the shifts necessary following a horrendous offensive showing in the Fiesta Bowl when Clemson thumped the Buckeyes 31-0.

A brilliant offensive mind, Wilson and the Hoosiers ranked in the top three of the Big Ten in total offense in four of his six seasons in Bloomington. Before that, Wilson spent nine seasons as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator and won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach in 2008. That year, the Sooners averaged 547.9 yards per game (third in the country) and scored 716 points — then a NCAA record — on their way to the BCS National Championship Game. Meyer and his Florida Gators won that game 24-14.

Wilson left Indiana amid controversy. He resigned on Dec. 1 under pressure from his administration despite signing a six-year, $15 million contract the January before. Rumors into mistreatment of players that began in 2015 led to an investigation by the Hoosiers and ultimately sweated Wilson out. He went 26-47 in six years with the program and led Indiana to its first bowl game last season since 2007 and just its second in 22 years.

Wilson and Meyer share a mutual respect that dates all the way back to 2001 when the latter got his first head coaching gig at Bowling Green. Wilson worked at Northwestern then and Meyer took many of the same principles of what he did offensively in Evanston with him to his own spread attack.

Wilson is from Maiden, North Carolina and was an interior lineman for the Tar Heels from 1980-83. He served as a graduate assistant at his alma mater from 1984-86 then worked at Winston-Salem State, North Carolina A&T and Miami (OH) before taking the job as Northwestern's offensive coordinator in 1999.

Ohio State's first game in the 2017 season is at Indiana on Aug. 31, Wilson's former employer.

Additional information on Wilson courtesy of Ohio State's press release:

  • Miami Redhawk Travis Prentice rushed for 3,937 yards and 56 touchdowns in three seasons under Wilson, and he closed his career sixth in NCAA rushing history
  • Northwestern's Zak Kustok had 532 yards of offense in a 2001 game -- still the seventh-most yards in Big Ten history -- when Wilson was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach
  • Two of Wilson's running backs -- Northwestern's Damien Anderson and Indiana's Tevin Coleman -- accumulated 2,000 rushing yards in a season with Coleman's 2,036 in 2014 16th in NCAA history and Anderson's 2,063 in 2000 not ranked by the NCAA because of bowl game yards but fifth in Big Ten history
  • Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson just missed a 2,000-yard season under Wilson in 2004 with 1,925 yards
  • Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is the NCAA's career-leader in passing efficiency (min. 500 completions)
  • Bradford and Oklahoma's Landry Jones each passed for over 4,700 yards in a season to rank 21st and 23rd, respectively, in NCAA history
  • Wilson's 2008 Sooner offense set an NCAA record by scoring 60 points in five consecutive games
  • Indiana quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld, in 2015, and Richard Lagow this year, have the top two single-season passing yardage totals in IU history, with Sudfeld's 3,573 yards 10th in Big Ten history
  • The 2015 IU offense became just the fourth in FBS history -- and second for Wilson -- with a 3,500-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same year (USC in 2005; Oklahoma in 2008 and Southern Mississippi in 2015)
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