Cougars add four coaches to defensive staff

CJ Elleby and Isaac Bonton lead WSU to season sweep over UW
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CJ Elleby and Isaac Bonton lead WSU to season sweep over UW

PULLMAN, Wash. (Jan. 29, 2020) – Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich announced the hiring of four defensive assistant coaches to the Cougar Football coaching staff Wednesday.

Mark Banker will coach the safeties, A.J. Cooper will coach the defensive ends, Ricky Logo will coach the defensive tackles and John Richardson will coach the cornerbacks and be the recruiting coordinator. Banker and Logo both coached with Rolovich at Hawai’i while Cooper and Richardson both coached at Wyoming with newly hired Cougar Defensive Coordinator Jake Dickert.

Mark Banker, Safeties

https://wsucougars.com/sports/football/roster/coaches/mark-banker/2898

“Mark is a great addition to our staff, he’s a former defensive coordinator, has coached in the NFL and is familiar with the Pac-12 from his teams at USC, Stanford and Oregon State,” Rolovich said. “Mark has strong recruiting ties to the Polynesian communities and did a great job in developing some of the best defensive players to ever wear the Hawai’i uniform, most recently linebacker Jahlani Tavai who was a second-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2019.”

Banker worked the past two seasons as the assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach for Rolovich at Hawai’i, helping UH to back-to-back bowl games, including a 10-5 mark and Hawaii Bowl win over BYU in 2019. Banker, a 40-year coaching veteran, mentored a pair of All-Mountain West Conference selections the last two seasons in Honolulu led by 2019 NFL second-round pick linebacker Jahlani Tavai who appeared in 15 games including six as a starter for the Detroit Lions as a rookie.

Prior to Hawai’i, Banker spent 20 years coaching alongside Mike Riley at Nebraska (2), OSU (14), San Diego Chargers (3), and USC (1) where he has been a part of eight bowl teams at OSU, two at Nebraska and compiled a combined 7-3 postseason record.

Banker served as Nebraska’s defensive coordinator from 2015-16 where his defense ranked ninth nationally in rushing yards allowed (109.8) in 2015 and was No. 14 nationally in interceptions (16) and No. 30 in total defense (363.7) in 2016. Banker spent 12 years as Oregon State’s defensive coordinator (2003-14), turning the Beavers into one of the best defenses in the Pac-10/12. Five of his OSU defenders were selected in the 2009 NFL Draft while more than 70 defensive players earned all-conference honors at OSU.

Banker spent three seasons with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers (1999-2001) as the cornerbacks coach and was elevated to interim defensive coordinator midway through the 2001 season. The Chargers ranked No. 11 in the league in total defense and first in rushing defense in 2001.

 

A.J. Cooper, Defensive Ends

https://wsucougars.com/sports/football/roster/coaches/a-j-cooper/2899

“A.J. is a very diligent recruiter, is a well-respected coach and is loved by his players,” Rolovich said. “He has experience coaching special teams, has developed players who excel in a disruptive pass-rush scheme, has produced a number of players in the NFL and is very excited to raise his family in Pullman.”

Cooper, who owns 14 years of college coaching experience, comes to Washington State after spending the past six seasons working the defensive ends and special teams for the University of Wyoming. Prior to the 2019 season, Cooper was promoted to serve as the Cowboys’ defensive run-game coordinator. He worked the previous eight seasons at North Dakota State including the final five seasons coaching the Bison defensive ends. For Wyoming, he coached five All-Mountain West Conference players including one Special Teams Player of the Year and one Freshman All-American on the defensive line.

Cooper helped the 2019 Cowboys finish sixth in the country in red zone defense, No. 11 in the country in rush defense (107.1) and scoring defense (17.8), No. 40 in tackles-for-loss (83) and No. 43 in total defense. Cooper helped coach All-Mountain West Conference second-team selection punt returner Austin Conway and saw redshirt-freshman defensive end Solomon Byrd earn Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers of America.

Prior to Wyoming, from 2009-13 Cooper coached the North Dakota State defensive ends and added special teams to his coaching responsibilities in 2013. He helped NDSU to a 43-2 (.956) overall record and a 22-2 (.917) Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) mark on way to its three consecutive FCS national titles.

Originally from Phoenix, Ariz., Cooper began his college playing career at Glendale Community and went on to become an All-America tight end at North Dakota State (2004-05). Cooper earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from the Football Gazette in 2005, was selected First Team All-Great West Football Conference as a senior, and also earned All-Northwest Region honors. Following his college playing career, Cooper signed a free-agent contract with the Green Bay Packers in 2006.

 

Ricky Logo, Defensive Tackles

https://wsucougars.com/sports/football/roster/coaches/ricky-logo/2900

“Ricky has been a very successful defensive line coach at a number of high-level places including the SEC and he has strong recruiting ties to American Samoa and Texas,” Rolovich said. “Ricky is known for creating great bonds with his players and it comes across when you watch how passionate they play. He is one of the greatest human beings I’ve been around and he will benefit not only our players, but the Pullman community.”

Logo worked the past two seasons coaching the defensive line for coach Rolovich at Hawai’i, helping UH to back-to-back bowl games including a 10-5 mark and Hawaii Bowl win over BYU in 2019. Logo, who owns 20+ years of coaching experience and helped his teams to eight bowl games, coached four All-Mountain West Conference selections the last two seasons in Honolulu and saw the 2018 defense tally 30 sacks, the most for UH since 2011.

Prior to Hawai’i, Logo worked three seasons at Colorado State (2015-17) as defensive line coach, helping lead the Rams to three bowl appearances. Prior to CSU, Logo coached the defensive line at Houston (2012-14), helping the Cougars to a 2014 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl victory. Logo coached four seasons in the SEC at Vanderbilt (2007-10) and was part of a staff that led the Commodores to their first winning season since 1982. Logo also worked five seasons at Troy University, two as co-defensive coordinator where he coached a pair of future NFL All-Pro linemen in Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants and Demarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys.

Logo played nose tackle at North Carolina State, helping the Wolfpack to four consecutive bowl games. As a senior in 1992, he was named team captain, earned All-ACC and third-team All-America honors and played in the Hula Bowl, the Japan All-Star Game and the East-West Shrine Game.

 

John Richardson, Cornerbacks / Recruiting Coordinator

https://wsucougars.com/sports/football/roster/coaches/john-richardson/2901

“I’ve respected John from the first day I met him, I’ve followed his career and been impressed with how he recruits and develops his cornerbacks,” Rolovich said. “John has the ability to evaluate and develop strong relationships with his players, is a tireless and well-known recruiter in Los Angeles and coaches with great passion.”

Richardson, who owns 11 years of college coaching experience, comes to Washington State after spending the past six seasons as the cornerbacks coach for the University of Wyoming. Richardson helped the 2019 Cowboys finish sixth in the country in red zone defense, No. 11 in the country in rush defense (107.1) and scoring defense (17.8), No. 40 in tackles-for-loss (83) and No. 43 in total defense. Senior cornerback Tyler Hall capped his career earning All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention for the second straight season.

Prior to coming to Wyoming, Richardson coached at North Dakota State (2009-13) including the last two seasons coaching the cornerbacks (2012-13). During his time on the NDSU coaching staff, the Bison won three consecutive national titles in 2011-13 where Richardson helped the Bison lead the nation in scoring defense for three consecutive seasons, holding opponents to only 12.7 ppg in 2011, 11.5 ppg in 2012 and only 11.3 ppg in 2013. In 2012-13, Richardson coached Consensus First-Team All-America cornerback Marcus Williams.

Richardson was a two-year starter at cornerback for NDSU (2007-08) where he made 85 tackles over his two-year career, 19 pass breakups, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He began his college career in his home state of California at Mt. San Antonio Community College. Originally from Compton, Calif., Richardson earned Missouri Valley Football Conference Honor Roll honors his senior year of 2008 and completed his bachelor’s degree in sports and recreation leadership in 2010 from North Dakota State.