WSU Cougars

Yes, it’s happening: WSU defensive coordinator is leaving for Ohio State

Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch speaks with defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa after the Cougars’ 24-21 win over Stanford in Pullman, Wash., on Nov. 4, 2017.
Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch speaks with defensive lineman Hercules Mata'afa after the Cougars’ 24-21 win over Stanford in Pullman, Wash., on Nov. 4, 2017. AP

Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is leaving the Cougars and joining Ohio State’s staff, a person with knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press on Thursday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was still being finalized. Ohio State spokesman Jerry Emig says there would be no announcement on the addition of a 10th assistant coach on Urban Meyer’s staff until next week at the earliest. A new NCAA rule goes into effect after this season that allows FBS teams to expand staffs to 10 full-time assistant coaches.

A report said the Buckeyes will give him the title of co-defensive coordinator. Their current defensive coordinator is Greg Schiano.

Sources told The Seattle Times that being closer to family factored heavily into Grinch’s decision to move because a family member has been ill, and Grinch’s hometown of Grove City is about a 15-minute drive from Columbus. Grinch played his college football at Division III powerhouse Mount Union, in Alliance, Ohio.

Sources said Grinch informed the WSU players of his impending move shortly after rumors surfaced mid-December linking him to the Ohio State job, and was upfront with his defense about his reasons for leaving.

Grinch, 37, made $600,000 at WSU in 2017, and was due for a $25,000 raise in 2018. He would, however, likely have gotten a significant raise and contract extension if he’d opted to remain at WSU. He was viewed, per sources, as a possible successor to Mike Leach when Leach reportedly interviewed for the Tennessee job.

Ohio State paid Schiano $700,000 in 2017, per the USA Today assistant coaches’ salary database.

Grinch was popular among his players, and, in his three seasons at WSU, resurrected the Cougars’ defense, transforming a unit that ranked 97th nationally in total defense in 2014 — the last year of the Mike Breske era — to 16th in 2017.

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