Driesbach Fills Final Vacancy On Spartan Football Staff
March 18, 2005
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Chuck Driesbach, who has 15 years experience as a defensive coordinator in five different conferences, has been named secondary coach at Michigan State, Spartan third-year coach John L. Smith announced Thursday, March 17. Driesbach replaces Paul Haynes, who resigned Feb. 28 to become defensive backs coach at Ohio State.
The 52-year-old Driesbach comes to Michigan State following three years as defensive coordinator at Ole Miss (2002-04) where he worked under David Cutcliffe. He coached the Rebel linebackers for two seasons (2002 and 2004) and supervised the secondary in 2003.
In 2003, Ole Miss won the Southeastern Conference Western Division title en route to a 10-3 record, including a 31-28 victory over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl, and a No. 13 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. The Rebels ranked fourth in the SEC and No. 14 in the NCAA in rushing defense in 2003, allowing 102.5 yards per game. The Ole Miss defensive unit also ranked among the league leaders in tackles for losses (106), interceptions (15) and turnovers forced (25).
In 2002, the Rebels went 7-6 including a 27-23 victory over Nebraska in the Independence Bowl.
During his tenure, two Ole Miss players earned first-team All-SEC honors, including nose tackle Jesse Mitchell (2003) and linebacker Eddie Strong (2002). Driesbach also helped develop two players that were selected in the 2004 National Football League Draft: outside linebacker Charlie Anderson (Houston) and cornerback Von Hutchins (Indianapolis).
"When the position reopened, we pursued the best coach available, and we're extremely fortunate to hire a coach of Chuck Driesbach's caliber," Coach Smith said. "He has a proven track record as both a defensive coordinator and position coach. In addition, Chuck has some ties to the state, having coached at Western Michigan for four years.
"We're certainly excited about what Chuck brings to the table, especially in terms of his experience. He has a wealth of knowledge about different defensive schemes. Chuck will bring some fresh ideas not only to our staff meetings but also to the field.
"Chuck is excited to be a Spartan, and he's ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work as we prepare to open spring ball next week."
"It's a thrill to have the opportunity to coach at Michigan State," Driesbach said. "This is a prestigious academic institution, with great football and athletics tradition.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for John L. Smith, both as a person and coach. I had an opportunity to coach against one of his wonderful Louisville teams when I was defensive coordinator at TCU, but I hadn't met him until coming to the Michigan State campus for an interview. Everyone told me what a fantastic person he is and what a great personality he has. After visiting with John L., I love the approach he takes with his players. He truly cares about his players. I believe in that same philosophy, so I believe this is a great fit for me.
"I've also been very impressed by the defensive staff: Chris Smeland, Mike Cox and Lucious Selmon. Those guys have done a lot of great things over the years. I'm looking forward to learning the system this spring, but my approach is very similar as it relates to playing an aggressive, attacking style of defense. I also believe in the concept of pressuring the quarterback."
Prior to his appointment at Mississippi, Driesbach spent the 2001 season at TCU where he served as defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach under Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs finished 6-6 in 2001, including an appearance in the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl (vs. Texas A&M). In 2001, TCU ranked among the NCAA leaders in both rushing defense (No. 10 at 93.8 yards per game) and total defense (No. 24 at 322.5 ypg.). Driesbach tutored linebacker LaMarcus McDonald, a second-team all-league selection in 2001 who went on to be named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2002.
He served as defensive coordinator for four years under Gary Darnell at Western Michigan (1997-2000), helping the Broncos win back-to-back Mid-American Conference West Division titles in 1999-2000. Driesbach worked with the Bronco outside linebackers for the first three years before taking over the safeties in 2000.
Western Michigan recorded three shutouts (vs. Indiana, Kent State and Eastern Michigan) on its way to a 9-3 overall record in 2000. The Broncos also snapped the nation's longest home winning streak at 33 games by posting a 30-10 victory over Marshall in Huntington, W.Va. Western Michigan ranked among the NCAA leaders in scoring defense (No. 4 at 11.6 points per game), total defense (No. 9 at 283.3 ypg.) and rushing defense (No. 20 at 105.3 ypg.) in 2000. The Broncos held seven opponents below the 100-yard rushing mark, while four opponents failed to throw for 100 yards in a game. For his efforts in 2000, Driesbach was nominated for the Frank Broyles Award, which is named in honor of the former Arkansas head coach and presented annually to the nation's top assistant football coach.
In his final season at Western Michigan, Driesbach worked with defensive end Jason Babin, who became the only true freshman on the Bronco roster to letter in 2000. Babin went on to earn All-America honors as a senior in 2003 and became the first player in WMU history to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, going to Houston (No. 27 overall) in 2004.
In 1997, he played a major role in helping Western Michigan post the nation's biggest turnaround, producing an 8-3 record after finishing just 2-9 in 1996.
"I spent four years at Western Michigan and my family fell in love with the people in this state because they're very genuine," Driesbach said. "This state has so much to offer in terms of the water and winter sports, plus the outstanding golf courses. It's also an added bonus having my daughter, Lindsay, already enrolled here at MSU.
"I've worked a lot of coaching clinics throughout this state, so I'm looking forward to renewing friendships with so many high school coaches. I'm also looking forward to building some new relationships."
Driesbach spent four years as defensive coordinator under John Majors at Pittsburgh (1993-96) where his pupils included three future NFL players: defensive back Anthony Dorsett Jr. (Houston, 1996; Tennessee, 1997-99; and Oakland, 2000-03), linebacker Tom Tumulty (Cincinnati, 1996-99) and defensive tackle Mike Mohring (San Diego, 1997-2001; and Oakland, 2002).
He worked for three years as defensive coordinator under Jim Hofher at Cornell (1990-92), where he helped the Big Red to a combined record of 19-11 (.633) including the 1990 Ivy League championship.
In 1989, Driesbach began his first stint at Ole Miss where he coached the defensive secondary for Billy Brewer. The Rebels finished 8-4 in 1989, including a 42-29 victory over Air Force in the Liberty Bowl.
His college coaching credits include a two-year stop at East Carolina (1987-88) where he worked with the running backs in addition to performing the duties of admissions and academic coordinator for head coach Art Baker. While on the ECU coaching staff, Driesbach recruited linebacker Robert Jones, who later became a consensus All-American and Butkus Award finalist in 1991 and a first-round pick (No. 24 overall) by Dallas in the 1992 NFL Draft.
Driesbach spent three seasons at Wake Forest (1984-86) where he coached on both sides of the football for Al Groh. He worked with the defensive line for two years before overseeing the receivers and tight ends in 1986. During his tenure with the Demon Deacons, Driesbach tutored three future NFL players, including defensive lineman Gary Baldinger (Kansas City, 1986-88; Indianapolis, 1989; and Buffalo, 1990-92), tight end Greg Scales (New Orleans, 1988-91) and wide receiver Ricky Proehl (Phoenix/Arizona, 1990-94; Seattle, 1995-96; Chicago, 1997; St. Louis, 1998-2002; and Carolina, 2003-present).
He began his coaching career at Kansas State where he spent eight seasons (1976-83), including three years as a graduate assistant under Ellis Rainsburger and five more as a full-time assistant under Jim Dickey. As a graduate assistant, Driesbach worked primarily with the tight ends and receivers, including future NFL All-Pro Paul Coffman (Green Bay, 1978-85; and Kansas City, 1986-87).
From 1979-83, Driesbach coached the Wildcat defensive secondary. In 1982, Kansas State (6-5-1) made its first-ever postseason appearance, earning a trip to the Independence Bowl (vs. Wisconsin). In 1980, the Wildcats led the NCAA in pass defense, allowing just 91.4 yards per game.
During his stay in Manhattan, Kan., Driesbach recruited three future pros, including wide receivers Eugene Goodlow (New Orleans, 1983-86) and Gerald Alphin (New Orleans, 1990-91) and tailback Tony Jordan (Phoenix, 1989-90).
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Driesbach was a three-year starter at wide receiver for Coach Lou Ferry at Villanova (1972-74). He earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Villanova in 1975.
Married to the former Kim Widmer of Coffeyville, Kan., Driesbach and his wife have two daughters: Lindsay, a junior communication major at Michigan State, and Kate, a sophomore communications major at Ole Miss. Both daughters graduated from Portage (Mich.) Northern High School.
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