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Wofford hires Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Josh Conklin to replace Mike Ayers as head coach

Ayers was the second-longest tenured coach in the FCS

NCAA Football: Wofford at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple outlets, the Wofford Terriers have found their new coach. Former Wofford assistant Josh Conklin will be the new man patrolling the sidelines in Spartanburg. He will have some pretty big shoes to fill in replacing the legendary Mike Ayers.

It was a phenomenal run for Ayers. He had been Wofford’s coach for the last three decades and shepherded the program from Division II to the FCS. Ayers took the program to new heights over the last decade, leading Wofford to seven playoff appearances in the last 11 years. The Terriers have also won five Southern Conference titles in the last 15 seasons under his watch.

Ayers retired back on December 13, a few days after the team’s loss to North Dakota State in the FCS Quarterfinals. After Ayers’ announcement, the school made it clear that it wanted someone with prior ties to Wofford to replace the long-time head coach.

The Terriers’ hire of Conklin shows that they are trying to recreate the formula that proved to be successful with Ayers. Both Conklin and Ayers were defensive assistants with Wofford early on in their careers, and both coaches left in order to be a defensive coordinator at another school. Conklin and Ayers were each hired in their late 30s with the intention of having them stay in Spartanburg for a long time.

Conklin has an impressive resume. He left Wofford in 2009 to become the defensive coordinator for The Citadel in 2010 and 2011. His defenses were so good that he quickly made the leap to the FBS level and was hired on as the safeties coach at Tennessee in 2012.

Following Derek Dooley’s firing, he went to Florida International and was the Golden Panthers’ defensive coordinator for two seasons. He was hired on to be the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Panthers following the 2014 season, and he held that role from 2015 to 2017.

Conklin has used a variety of defensive schemes along the way, so it is unclear whether or not he will keep Wofford’s base 3-4 defense or switch to a different look. Additionally, it is unclear whether or not this will still be a triple option team.