Last week, we ran through the new offensive coaches under Mike Sanford Jr. in his first year at the helm of Western Kentucky. This week, we do the same for the defense. The Tops had the No. 2 total defense in C-USA last year along with the second most sacks and second most interceptions in the league. Only time will tell if the new staff can live up to what the old regime accomplished in its last two years.
Clayton White - Defensive Coordinator
While he’s got about 13 years of defensive position coaching under his belt, this is White’s first stab at a defensive coordinator job. After playing linebacker at North Carolina State from 1998 to 2001, White then had a three-year NFL career with the Giants and Buccaneers.
When his playing days were done in 2003, White coached defensive backs with Sanderson High School in North Carolina for a year followed by stints as the DB coach with Western Carolina, Western Michigan, and Stanford. Then in 2010, White spent the season as the defensive backs coach and co-special teams coordinator at WKU as part of Willie Taggart’s staff alongside current HIlltopper head coach Mike Sanford Jr. and current safeties coach Jamie DeBerry.
White then spent some time as the special teams coordinator at UConn in 2011 and 2012 (where he also coached running backs) before returning to NC State in 2014. During his time with the Wolfpack, White was the co-special teams coordinator and safeties coach. White’s notable NFL products from throughout his career include Richard Sherman and Dontae Johnson.
Jimmy Lindsey - Defensive Line
Lindsey played linebacker at Chattanooga from ‘96 to ‘99 then stayed on as an assistant coach through the 2002 season. He then moved on to Gardner-Webb for four years where he coached a multitude of different positions and even spent some time as their special teams and recruiting coordinator. Here, he developed the 2004 I-AA Football Gazette National Defensive Lineman of the Year in Harold Wells. He coached the D-Line at Miami (OH) and UT-Martin before returning to Chattanooga for two years.
Lindsey then moved to Furman in 2012 to coach their D-Line and was part of their staff that won the SoCon championship in 2013. Then in 2015, he was promoted to assistant head coach of Furman’s program. Most recently, Lindsey spent the 2016 season as the D-Line coach at Georgia Southern.
Lindsey’s NFL products include Gary Wilkins (Furman) and Brian Johnson (Gardner-Webb).
Jami DeBerry - Safeties/Recruiting Coordinator
Hilltopper fans will recognize DeBerry as one of the linebackers from WKU’s D 1-AA championship season in 2002. The Franklin, Kentucky, native also began his coaching career with WKU in 2008 as a grad assistant and was promoted to defensive quality control assistant in 2010.
He spent a year as a quality control assistant with Kansas in 2012 before joining the staff at Indiana State under Mike Sanford Sr. (WKU’s newly appointed special teams coordinator and father of head coach Mike Sanford Jr.). He spent four years with Indiana State coaching special teams and (mostly) defensive backs and spent the 2016 season as the pass defense coordinator.
Maurice Crum - Linebackers
Crum had some productive playing years as a linebacker for Charlie Wies from 2005 to 2008 at Notre Dame. After three years playing with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL, Crum began his coaching career under Wies at Kansas in 2012 as a graduate assistant. He stayed with Kansas football as the Assistant Director of Operations in 2013 and Director of High School Relations in 2014.
In 2015, Crum headed to Notre Dame and became a defensive graduate assistant for a year then served as a defensive backs coach at Indiana State for the 2016 season under Mike Sanford Sr.
With Jeff Brohm’s staff, there was definitely a learning curve in the first year on the defensive side of the ball when the Tops finished dead last in total defense in C-USA. We’ll see if the same happens as WKU must replace five starters on defense in 2017.