Coaching veteran Spanos hired as UConn defensive coordinator

When UConn football coach Randy Edsall started his search for a defensive coordinator, he had some specific requirements for the job.

Edsall wanted a veteran coach with NFL and college experience, as well as one with a successful track record running a defense and developing players.

Lou Spanos, a 24-year coaching veteran, met all of those requirements and then some. Edsall announced the hiring of Spanos on Wednesday morning.

"Lou was exactly what I was looking for when I started the search for a new defensive coordinator," Edsall said in a press release. "When you look at who Lou worked for and with throughout his career, it is very impressive. Talking with the coaches that Lou has worked for and with during his career, it was very apparent to me that we were able to attract an outstanding coach, person and recruiter to our staff and someone that will relate very well with our student-athletes and take us to where we want to go defensively."

Spanos will be UConn's third defensive coordinator in the last four years. He'll take over a young defense that set NCAA records for most points (50.4) and yards (617.4) allowed per game. The Huskies finished 1-11 overall.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to join coach Edsall's staff at UConn," Spanos said. "I can't wait to get up to Storrs and meet the student-athletes on the team and hit the recruiting trail."

His resume is impressive.

On the college level, Spanos most recently worked an analyst last season on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama. He served as the defensive coordinator at UCLA from 2012-13. During his two-season tenure, the Bruins racked up 79 sacks and forced 58 turnovers.

Former UCLA coach Jim Mora said that Spanos is a man and coach that he greatly admires.

"Lou is a great communicator, a creative football mind and a humble and loyal person," Mora said. "He has worked with some of the great defensive football minds of this generation and has taken the best attributes of each and applied them to his own successful philosophy. Lou is a family man, mentor and trusted friend who will embrace the vision of coach Edsall and UConn football."

Spanos' last NFL job was as the linebackers coach for the Tennessee Titans from 2014-18. He helped coach a defense that recorded the second highest number of sacks through the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

"Lou Spanos is passionate about his job and his family and is fully committed to both," said Mike Mularkey, the former Titans head coach. "He is a great teacher of the game and it is very important to him that his players find success. He brings toughness and physicality to everywhere he has coached."

Other NFL stops include two seasons as linebackers coach for the Washington Redskins and 15 seasons as a defensive assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At Pittsburgh, Spanos, a four-year lettermen at center for Tulsa, worked with the linebackers and secondary. While he was on the Steelers staff, the defense was ranked No. 1 in the NFL four times. He was on the staff for three Super Bowls  — a loss to Dallas in Super Bowl XXX, a win over Seattle in Super Bowl XL and a win over Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.

Spanos coached nine different Steelers linebackers with a combined 19 Pro Bowl appearances, including Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd, Chad Brown, Levon Kirkland, Jason Gildon, Kendrell Bell, Joey Porter, James Farrior and James Harrison. In addition, Harrison was named the  Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and Bell was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2001.

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