Urban Meyer’s rejuvenated coaching staff might be complete.
Ohio State officially announced the hiring of Chris Ash as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Thursday, rounding out coach Meyer’s coaching staff for now, according to a press release.
“We’ve competed against a Chris Ash defense before and I have respect for him as a coach,” Meyer said in a released statement. “I like the fact he has experience in the Big Ten Conference and that he is a great recruiter. He was highly recommended by everyone I spoke to.”
An OSU spokesman said in an email Thursday afternoon Ash is set to earn $520,000 as part of the Buckeyes’ coaching staff, $30,000 less than what he made in his previous position.
Ash comes to OSU after spending one year as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Arkansas. He is set to replace former OSU co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Everett Withers, who was named the next head football coach at James Madison University Dec. 20. Withers earned $580,000 this past season at OSU, according to The Lantern archives.
“I was attracted to this position because it is Ohio State,” Ash said in a released statement. “And I had to wonder if I ever would have this opportunity again. This is one of the top five college football programs in the country. It has tremendous history and tradition, and it is a great academic institution.
“The opportunity to work for coach Meyer and to learn as a part of his staff will absolutely enhance my knowledge of the game and my coaching experiences.”
Prior to coaching at Arkansas this past season, Ash spent two years at Wisconsin with former Badgers and current Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema. In 2011, the Wisconsin defense allowed just 163.6 passing yards per game, good for fourth-best nationally. It also ranked 13th in the country in scoring defense, giving up just 19 points per game, and 15th in total defense, allowing 316.3 yards per game.
In 2012, the Badgers defense finished ranked 15th in the country in total defense, allowing 322.6 yards per game, and 16th in scoring (19.1 points per game) and 18th in fewest passing yards allowed with 193.6 yards per game. He was part of the coaching staff that helped lead the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls from 2011-13.
Ash will look to bring stability to OSU’s defensive secondary, which finished ranked 112th in the nation last season, giving up an average 268 yards per game.
“To be successful, I think you have to be detailed,” Ash said in a released statement. “You have to be able to coach and teach the fundamentals of the game, and that’s how you develop players. You have to have a consistency with how you prepare yourself so you can prepare them and then get them to play hard.”
Ash, a 1996 graduate of Drake University who grew up in Iowa, said in a statement he is looking forward to recruiting for OSU.
“You can recruit anywhere in the country,” Ash said in reference to the OSU coaches. “You can recruit players that are talented, that have character and that believe education is very important. When you have all three of those attributes in players, then you can build upon this outstanding program.”
Ash earned $550,000 this past season at Arkansas, according to the USA TODAY coaches database.
The Buckeyes are set to open their 2014 campaign Aug. 30 against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.