Monday, February 9, 2015

OU Football Announces Hiring of Cooks, Simmons

University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops officially added Kerry Cooks and Dennis Simmons to his coaching staff Monday, while announcing new responsibilities for other assistant coaches.

Cooks will serve as defensive backs coach, working with cornerbacks and safeties. He joins the Sooners after spending the past five seasons at Notre Dame. Simmons will coach outside receivers for Oklahoma in 2015 after spending the past three years in that role for head coach Mike Leach at Washington State.

Stoops also indicated several changes in responsibility on his coaching staff. Mike Stoops continues to serve as associate head coach and Oklahoma’s defensive play caller in his role as co-defensive coordinator. In addition to those duties, he will coach the outside linebackers in 2015. Jerry Montgomery will add duties as co-defensive coordinator to his assignment as defensive line coach, while Tim Kish will coach the inside linebackers.

On offense, Lincoln Riley will serve as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Cale Gundy adds responsibilities as assistant head coach and moves to inside receivers coach this season, in addition to retaining his capacity as director of recruiting. Jay Boulware will coach running backs and fullbacks, while continuing to serve as special teams coordinator. Bill Bedenbaugh returns for this third season as Oklahoma’s offensive line coach.

“I feel organizing our coaches in this manner will best utilize the talents of both the new and returning members of our staff,” the head coach indicated. “Each assistant coach has clearly defined roles, responsibilities and expectations. We are all excited to get back on the practice field with our team for the start of spring football on March 7.”

More on Irving, Texas, native and former NFL defensive back, Kerry Cooks
A four-year letter-winner and two-year starter as a strong safety at Iowa from 1993-97, Cooks captained the Hawkeyes as a senior and earned All-Big Ten honors. He was selected in the fifth round of the 1998 NFL Draft by Minnesota. He also spent time on the rosters of Green Bay, Atlanta and Jacksonville before retiring in 2001.

“Kerry adds another talented coach and recruiter to our staff,” said Stoops. “We are excited to welcome Kerry and his family to the University of Oklahoma.”

The Fighting Irish made five straight bowl appearances during Cooks’ stint with Notre Dame (2010-14), including a berth in the BCS National Championship Game following the 2012 season. That year, Notre Dame ranked second in the nation in yards per completion (9.95) and were tied for sixth among FBS squads by allowing just 11 touchdown passes as the team permitted 199.8 passing yards per game, a figure that ranked 25th in the country.

Notre Dame consistently boasted one of the nation’s best pass defenses under Cooks’ tutelage. In 2014, the Irish tied for 15th among FBS teams, forcing 16 interceptions. In 2013, Notre Dame ranked 15th in the FBS in pass defense (198.2 ypg), improving from 25ththe previous season (200.2 ypg).

RELATED: Report: Kerry Cooks Accepts DBs Coaching Position

Five defensive backs mentored by Cooks at Notre Dame were selected in the NFL Draft: Harrison Smith (1st round in 2012 – Minnesota), Robert Blanton (5th round in 2012 – Minnesota), Jamoris Slaughter (6th round in 2013 – Cleveland), Zeke Motta (7th round in 2013 – Atlanta) and Bennett Jackson (6th round – N.Y. Giants in 2014).

Cooks enjoyed previous coaching stops at Wisconsin (2006-09), Minnesota (2005), Western Illinois (2004) and Kansas State (2003).

Cooks graduated from Iowa in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He and his wife, Elvern, are the parents of two daughters, Kerrington and Kenadee.

Dennis Simmons previously worked with Lincoln Riley at Texas Tech, East Carolina

“Dennis is a great fit for our coaching staff,” said Stoops of Simmons. “He’s worked closely with Mike Leach and Lincoln Riley, and possesses the talent to teach our receivers the concepts and techniques necessary to excel in this offense. His track record of developing playmakers like Michael Crabtree and many other talented receivers will be another asset to our program.

RELATED: Report: Dennis Simmons Named Oklahoma Wide Receivers Coach

“In addition, Dennis has built a strong network of relationships across the country that will also benefit us as we continue to attract the nation’s top players to the University of Oklahoma.”

In 2014, Washington State led all FBS schools in passing, averaging 477.7 yards per game, over 100 ypg more than the next-closest squad as the Cougars shattered the Pac-12 record with 5,732 passing yards. Washington State also ranked seventh in the nation in total offense and were ninth in completion percentage last season. Simmons’ top pupil in 2014 was Vince Mayle, a former basketball player who tied for fourth in the nation with 106 receptions, while his 1,483 receiving yards ranked fifth among FBS players.

During the 2013 campaign, Washington State set another Pac-12 record with 470 completions as the Cougars ranked fourth in the nation by averaging 368.0 ypg after coming in 10th in the nation in that department in 2012 (330.4 ypg).

Simmons most recently worked with Riley at East Carolina from 2010-11 as the Pirates’ outside receivers coach. He helped propel Lance Lewis to a record-setting 2010 campaign. Lewis became only the third player in school history to register a 1,000-yard receiving season as the All-Conference USA performer caught 89 passes for 1,116 yards with 14 scores.

His initial assignment working with Leach and Riley came at Texas Tech, where he coached wide receivers from 2008-09 and helped Michael Crabtree earn the Biletnikoff Award and consensus All-America honors as a redshirt sophomore in 2008. Crabtree was subsequently tabbed as the 10th overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft after accumulating 97 receptions for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns during his final campaign for the Red Raiders.

In 2009, Simmons and Riley helped develop walk-on receiver Alex Torres into a Freshman All-America selection who led the Red Raiders in receiving. Simmons served as Leach’s chief of staff from 2005-07 after originally joining Texas Tech as the assistant athletics director/quality control for the football program. He previously coached running backs at Cornell University in 1999, where also held the title of assistant athletics director and chief of staff.

A three-year starting outside linebacker at BYU, Simmons began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1997, working with the offensive line and special teams. He earned a degree in broadcast communications was a member of teams that claimed four straight Western Athletic Conference titles and made four bowl appearances.

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Simmons earned his master's degree in educational leadership in August 1999 from BYU. He served as an NFL Minority Fellowship intern with the Buffalo Bills during the summer of 1999.

Simmons and his wife, LaTosha, were married in 2012. He has one daughter, Kendyll and they have one son, Kannon.

The hiring of Cooks and Simmons is pending the approval of the University’s Board of Regents.

/// SoonerSports PR

Are you on Google+? Add +Oklahoma Sooners Blog to your Circle!
Share this PostTwitter sharePin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This