In a move that figures to provide his defense with the same aggressive mindset that his offense has always possessed, University of Hawaii coach June Jones has hired former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville as his defensive coordinator.
The addition of Glanville, who hasn't coached at any level of the game since the 1993 season, will be officially announced on Tuesday.
Despite his penchant for self-promotion, and a style that generally draws more attention to his well-documented eccentricities than to his team and its performance, Glanville will represent a major upgrade for the Hawaii defense. The unit statistically ranked 117th out of the 118 Division I programs in 2004 and, for Jones to nudge his successful program to the next level, the defense must improve.
Under Jones, a two-time NFL head coach himself, the Hawaii offense typically ranks among the most prolific in the country. Jones still uses the run-and-shoot attack, which features four wide receivers and regularly throws the ball 50-plus times per game, and the high-octane offense has served Hawaii well.
Jones, who turned down a long-term contract from the San Diego Chargers in 1999 to accept the Hawaii job, has compiled a 48-30 record in six seasons and won two straight bowl games. Hawaii posted only 12 wins in the five seasons prior to his arrival. Hawaii opens the 2005 season on Sept. 3 by hosting defending national champion Southern California and travels to Michigan State the following week.
Glanville and Jones have worked together in the NFL before. In fact, Jones succeeded Glanville as the Atlanta Falcons head coach in 1994. The two had not spoken in several years but, when Jones recently read that Glanville was trying to return to the coaching ranks after several seasons as an NFL analyst, he decided to pursue him.
Clearly, Jones feels he can keep Glanville's ego in check. And, if he can, Glanville is certain to set a physical and attacking tone with his defensive schemes.
The hiring of the always colorful Glanville is certain to bring even more attention to a program that Jones rescued from the NCAA scrap heap. More important for Jones, however, is that Glanville will certainly install a blitzing scheme that pressures opponents and creates turnovers. There has never been any denying Glanville's knowledge of the game, or coaching skills, but those elements usually were eclipsed by his personality.
Glanville, 63, posted a 63-73 record as head coach of the Houston Oilers (1985-89) and Atlanta Falcons (1990-93) and took his teams to the playoffs on three occasions. Prior to assuming the head coach job in Houston late in the '85 season, Glanville was a longtime defensive coordinator in the league. Among his accomplishments was the development of the "Grits Blitz" in Atlanta in the 1970s, a high-risk, high-reward scheme that brought rushers from every angle imaginable.
Over the last year or so, Glanville has lobbied for several college openings, but garnered very little interest. Two weeks ago, Glanville interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Northern State University, a Division II school in Aberdeen, S.D. He subsequently withdrew from consideration for the job, citing another coaching opportunity he declined to identify.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.