Joe Lorig, who has 17 years of coaching experience including eight years as a defensive coordinator and two years as a special teams coordinator, has been named Utah State's linebackers coach it was announced Thursday by Aggie head coach Matt Wells. Lorig replaces Kevin Clune who was recently named the defensive coordinator at Hawai'i.
Lorig's hiring at Utah State is pending approval from the school's Board of Trustees.
"I'm very pleased to announce the addition of Joe Lorig to our staff," said Wells. "Joe brings a lot of football knowledge, passion, energy, experience and a recruiting prowess to our program that our players and staff will greatly benefit from as we continue to strive toward our goal of being Mountain West Champions on the field and in the classroom. We welcome Joe, Becky and their children with excitement and open arms into our Aggie football family."
Lorig comes to Utah State after spending the past two seasons at Arizona State University where he served as the Sun Devils' special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach.
"I'm really excited to work with Matt Wells, defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and the rest of the USU staff," said Lorig. "From what Coach Wells has told me, the linebackers group is a smart group with a lot of character and I am very excited to meet those guys and get to work."
During the 2013 season at Arizona State, the Sun Devils won the South Division of the Pac-12 Conference with an 8-1 record and participated in the National University Holiday Bowl in San Diego and finished its season ranked 21st in the Associated Press poll with a 10-4 record.
In 2013, Lorig coached two cornerbacks who earned various Pac-12 accolades, including Robert Nelson who earned first-team all-conference honors and finished the year ranking 19th in the nation in interceptions (0.4 pg), while Osahon Irabor garnered Pac-12 second-team honors. The ASU defense finished the season ranking third in the nation with 21 interceptions.
Lorig also coached placekicker Zane Gonzalez to Freshman All-American honors in 2013 as he also earned Pac-12 first-team accolades and was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, which is given annually to the nation's most outstanding placekicker. Gonzalez finished the season ranking first in the Pac-12 and fifth in the nation in field goals per game (1.8) and 29th in the nation in field goal percentage (.833), while his 25 made field goals tied the NCAA freshman record.
In 2012, Lorig coached a pair of Pac-12 honorable mention cornerbacks in Irabor and Deveron Carr as the duo combined for 21 passes defended helping Arizona State rank third in the nation in pass defense (167.9 ypg).
Under Lorig, punter Josh Hubner set the school record, led the Pac-12 and was second in the nation for yards per punt (47.1) in 2012. Hubner was named to numerous All-America teams, including Lindy's (third team) and Sports Illustrated (honorable mention) in addition to earning all-Pac-12 second-team accolades and being named a Ray Guy Award semifinalist.
Prior to joining the Sun Devils staff, Lorig was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Central Washington University for four seasons (2008-11).
During his time at Central Washington, the Wildcats posted a 34-12 record with three Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships and two appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Lorig, whose Wildcat defense routinely placed among the top 10 in the nation in total defense, was named the 2010 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Assistant Coach of the Year.
In 2009, his defense led the NCAA Division II in scoring defense (11.9 ppg), and ranked third nationally in rushing defense (58.6 ypg) and fourth in total defense (249.3 ypg), earning him a spot as a finalist for the FootballScoop Division II Coordinator of the Year. His efforts helped the Wildcats finish the year at 12-1, earn a No. 1 national ranking in the final poll of the regular season and advance to the NCAA Division II quarterfinals.
In 2007, Lorig served as the linebackers coach at the University of Texas at El Paso. He spent one season on head coach Mike Price's staff before moving back to the Pacific Northwest to join the CWU coaching staff. Prior to UTEP, Lorig spent eight seasons as a defensive assistant with Idaho State University. He coached the linebackers and safeties at ISU, and was the defensive coordinator for head coach Larry Lewis from 2003-06.
His coaching career began as an assistant at Western Oregon, where he helped guide his alma mater to the 1997 Columbia Football Association Championship and a berth in the NAIA post-season. A two-time All-Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) honoree at cornerback at Walla Walla Community College, Lorig played his final two years of collegiate football at Western Oregon State College (now Western Oregon University), where he was a team captain.
During his coaching career, Lorig has mentored a number of professional players, including Jared Allen, an All-Pro defensive end from Idaho State who plays for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League; Pago Togafau, who has been a member of four NFL teams; Jeff Charleston, who has been a member of three NFL teams and Adam Bighill, a Division II All-American linebacker from CWU who was a rookie on the Grey Cup champion British Columbia Lions in 2011, and Deveron Carr who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013.
Lorig earned both his bachelor's degree in law enforcement (1995) and his master's in correctional administration (1997) from Western Oregon. A native of Edmonds, Wash., and an avid outdoorsman, his family includes his wife, Becky, and children: son, Tyler, and daughters, Jordan and Emma.
JOE LORIG FILE