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Big 12 duo latest offered by Leavitt
Posted Mar 2, 2009 by Brett McMurphy
Updated Mar 2, 2009 at 01:25 PM
A pair of Big 12 assistant coaches is the latest to receive an offer from University of South Florida coach to come to USF as co-defensive coordinators.
Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler and Iowa State secondary coach Chris Ash were offered the co-coordinator jobs Sunday by Leavitt after Georgia linebackers coach John Jancek and Colorado secondary coach Greg Brown turned down offers to come to USF.
Ekeler interviewed with Leavitt in Tampa last week, but said he was remaining with the Cornhuskers.
“I’m thankful and glad to be here,” Ekeler told the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald on Thursday. “I’m glad that he [Nebraska coach Bo Pelini] wanted me to take a look at it, and I’m glad I did. That’s about it.”
However, with Jancek and Brown out of the picture, Leavitt went back at Ekeler and also offered a co-coordinator position to Ash, who has not interviewed in Tampa for the position.
Ekeler, 37, and Ash, 35, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Ekeler has been a full-time college assistant only one season – last year with Nebraska.
Before coming to Nebraska, Ekeler was at LSU for three seasons (2005-07), two years as a graduate assistant and one season as an intern. In 2003-04, he was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma. In 2002, he was an assistant coach at Manhattan (Kan.) High School and in 1999-2001 he was a volunteer coach at Omaha Skutt High School.
Ekeler played for Leavitt at Kansas State from 1991-94 and was recently named one of the Big 12’s top 10 recruiters by Rivals.com.
Ash was hired at Iowa State in December after a two-year stint as secondary coach at San Diego State. Before that he was at Iowa State from 2000-2006, serving as ISU’s recruiting coordinator his final season. He worked with former USF defensive line coach Dan McCarney at Iowa State and went to San Diego State after McCarney was fired at ISU.
At ISU, the Cyclones led the Big 12 in interceptions in 2005 and ranked seventh nationally with 35 turnovers. In 2004, ISU ranked 20th nationally in pass efficiency defense. He reportedly was next in line to become ISU’s defensive coordinator if USF defensive coordinator Wally Burnham had not left USF for Iowa State.
Former USF linebacker Tyrone McKenzie said Ash was instrumental in McKenzie attending Iowa State.
“He’s a good guy, he knows his defense,” McKenzie said. “His knowledge of the game is remarkable. I think he would be one heck of a defensive coordinator. He’s young, he’ll be around for years. He relates to the players, not just as a coaching figure, but someone the players look up to. He’s very passionate.”