Badgers hire Wilcox as defensive coordinator

BY foxsports • January 28, 2016

It took perhaps a little longer than some expected, but the Wisconsin Badgers found their replacement for departed defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Thursday, UW head coach Paul Chryst announced he hired Justin Wilcox, pending Board of Regents approval.

Wilcox spent the last two seasons as USC's defensive coordinator but was fired by new head coach Clay Helton shortly after Helton was given the job. Wilcox did not coach in Wisconsin's Holiday Bowl victory over the Trojans.

"During my many conversations with numerous football people that I trusted, one name kept surfacing, Justin Wilcox," Chryst said in a release. "I am very happy that we were able to get a quality coach like Justin to join our staff. I think he's a great fit for Wisconsin and this program is a great fit for him. His addition makes us better. He has tremendous experience at some big-time schools and has coached some really good players. He does a great job putting his players in the best situations so they can be successful."

Wilcox inherits the job from Aranda, who took the same position with LSU after building Wisconsin into one of the top defenses in the country. Under Aranda, who switched UW's scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4, the Badgers finished second in the nation in total defense in 2015, fourth in 2014 and seventh in 2013. Under Wilcox, USC was 78th in the nation in total defense in 2014 and 65th in 2015.

With a lot of highly ranked recruits, expectations were high at USC. The Trojans defense struggled at times this past season -- allowing more than 40 points four times, including twice to Stanford -- and he came under fire from fans, one of whom set up a website www.firejustinwilcox.com.

Wilcox also served as a defensive coordinator at Washington (2012-13), Tennessee (2011-11) and Boise State (2006-09), where he had varying degrees of success. Wilcox, 39, who was a defensive back at Oregon from 1996-99, also served as linebackers coach at California from 2003-05 after a two-year stint as a graduate assistant at Boise State.

"It is humbling to be able to work at a place with the personality and character that Wisconsin has," Wilcox said in the release. "The biggest draws to the program were the opportunity to work for Coach Chryst and with the rest of the staff, as well as the student-athletes that Wisconsin has in the program. Everything about the culture and tradition of the program, from recruiting, to style of play, to development of players, was appealing to me. This is a special opportunity and I am excited to get started."


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