New Defensive Coordinator: Justin Wilcox Profile


Coach Steve Sarkisian and the Washington Huskies have hired Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon to their coaching staff. Here is a profile of Justin Wilcox. *(Information derived from sources close to the situation,, and*

Age: 35

Hometown: Junction City, Oregon

College: University of Oregon

Playing Career: Played for Oregon from 1995-1999. He started his Oregon career as a safety but was moved to defensive back his senior year. He was able to see action in the Las Vegas Bowl (97), Aloha Bowl (98), and Sun Bowl (99). He did not advance on to the NFL as a player.

Coaching Career: After playing for Oregon, Wilcox went on to be a graduate assistant at Boise State where he worked with the line-backers. After two seasons in Boise, he became the linebackers coach for the California Golden Bears. says, “Wilcox was credited with turning his linebackers into a unit that epitomized the Cal defense’s swarm-to-the-ball philosophy.” He spent three years there, where he was then recognized as a good candidate for defensive coordinator job and was picked up by his former school, Boise State.

Wilcox helped put Boise State amongst the top in the nation when it came to defense. From 2006-2009 he had defensive statistics in the top of his conference and amongst the top in the nation. says this about

his last year at Boise State:

"Wilcox, 34, made his mark on the national defensive rankings in 2009, guiding the Broncos to a No. 14 statistical finish in both total defense and scoring defense and a No. 3 showing in turnover margin. Boise State bookended the season with two of its most impressive victories, clamping down on Pac-10 Conference champion Oregon 19-8 to start the year and then closing with the 17-10 triumph over previously undefeated TCU at the Fiesta Bowl."

Wilcox was then hired away to the University of Tennessee where he was the defensive coordinator for 2 seasons. His final year there he had the Vols as the 28th ranked defense in the nation with a mix-matched crew of defenders. He had a few true freshman, a full-back converted to line-backer, and overall a very inexperienced group.

Pros: He is the guy that can help players learn, help players succeed, can design a defense that works, and can implement a strategy to succeed. His success is in the film room, at the whiteboard, and on the practice field and then you see it on game-day.

Cons: I asked Brandon Huffman of to describe the hire of Wilcox and he told me, “From an Xs and Os stand point Wilcox is solid. Recruiting, undetermined.” Wilcox isn’t a strong recruiter, that’s not his niche, he will help with it but would much rather be game-planning. This is why he makes a good team with Peter Sirmon the other new hire.