West Completes Illini Football Staff
Feb. 8, 2010
University of Illinois head football coach Ron Zook announced today the hiring of Ron West as the final addition to the Illini staff, bringing with him 30 years of collegiate coaching experience. Zook also made two other announcements naming tight ends coach Greg Nord recruiting coordinator and adding the title of Assistant Head Coach to offensive line coach Joe Gilbert.
"I am excited to complete this staff with the hiring of Ron West," Zook said. "He and Vic (Koenning) have a great working relationship and that will add a needed cohesiveness as we move forward on the defensive side of the ball. Ron shares our passion for getting this program back on track and will be a great teacher and leader for our young men."
"I am very excited about being a part of this staff and working in the Big Ten," West said. "This is a program that has been established and is just two years removed from the Rose Bowl, so I felt like it was a great opportunity to compete for a championship, especially with Coach Zook working hard to get back to that level. I am excited about being reunited with Vic (Koenning). The last time we were together, the defense was in the top 10 in the country. We'll expect to create that passion on defense that puts us in national rankings. "
West has 14 years experience coaching on defense, including eight seasons as a coordinator, and 16 years on the offensive side of the ball. He spent the 2009 season as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Tulsa.
Prior to moving to Tulsa, he spent 10 seasons on the coaching staff at Clemson University (1999-2008), helping the Tigers win 76 games and play in nine bowl games. A 1979 graduate of Clemson, West began his stint on the Tigers' coaching staff as offensive line coach in 1999. He coached the offensive line for five seasons and spent the past five years on the defensive side of the ball.
While on the defensive coaching staff at Clemson, West coached the outside linebackers. In 2005, the Clemson defense finished among the top-25 in six defensive categories. In 2006, West coached one of the greatest players in Clemson history, the late Gaines Adams, who became the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft. The Clemson defense was in the top-25 in all four major categories, including a top-10 finish in scoring defense and total defense. Clemson's defense ranked 18th in total defense and 13th in scoring defense in 2008.
Before arriving at Clemson, West spent two years on Tommy Bowden's coaching staff at Tulane University (1997-98), where he coached the offensive line. His influence as line coach saw the Green Wave total nearly 4,700 yards and a school record 375 points. A year later, Tulane posted a 12-0 record as the offensive line helped pave the way for an offense to average over 300 passing yards and 200 rushing yards.
West began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Livingston College in 1979. He was at East Carolina in the spring of 1980 and became the offensive line coach at North Texas for the 1980 season. In 1981, West joined the Texas Tech coaching staff as the offensive line coach and special teams coordinator. He served in that capacity for four years before moving to defense in 1985 as assistant linebackers coach.
His next stop was at Louisiana-Lafayette where he spent seven seasons (1986-92) as defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. His defenses were ranked among the nation's top-20 in total defense three times. West joined the Baylor coaching staff for four seasons (1993-96) as offensive line coach and served as the running game coordinator in his final year.
During his playing career, West was a reserve offensive lineman in 1977 and 1978 for the Clemson Tigers after transferring from Marion Institute, where he earned junior college All-America accolades. He started two games as a senior and helped his team post an 11-1 record and No. 6 national ranking in the final Associated Press poll. West and his wife, Becky, have two adult children, Brad and Lori.