Jan. 3, 2005
Seattle - First-year Washington football coach Tyrone Willingham announced the hiring of five assistant coaches and a director of football operations today. The group includes three coaches who worked for Willingham at Notre Dame and two holdovers from the former Husky staff. There are still four openings remaining to be filled on the current staff.
Newcomers Kent Baer, Steven Wilks and Mike Denbrock will join veteran UW assistant coaches Randy Hart and Chris Tormey. Baer will serve as the defensive coordinator, Hart will coach the defensive line, Tormey the linebackers and Wilks the secondary. Denbrock will coach the offensive line. Erica Genise, who worked for Willingham at Stanford and Notre Dame, will assume the role of Director of Football Operations.
Washington will mark the fourth Pac-10 school where Baer has worked as the defensive coordinator. Baer has worked for Willingham the past 10 years at Stanford and Notre Dame. He was the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame from 2002-04 and served as the Irish head coach during the 2004 Insight Bowl. Baer coached the linebackers at Stanford from 1995-98 and added the duties of defensive coordinator for the 1999-2001 campaigns. Baer started his collegiate coaching career at his alma mater, Utah State, from 1977-85 and held similar roles at Idaho (1986), California (1987-91) and Arizona State (1992-94).
Like Baer, Denbrock has also worked for Willingham at Notre Dame and Stanford coaching the offensive line. Denbrock concentrated on the Irish tackles and tight ends from 2002-2004. He coached the offensive line at Stanford in 2001, Willingham's last season on The Farm. From 1999 to 2000 Denbrock worked as the assistant head coach for the Buffalo Destroyers in the Arena Football League. From 1992 to 1998 he worked at his alma mater, Grand Valley State (Mich.). His first four seasons he was the offensive coordinator. He was the defensive coordinator and mentored the Lakers' linebackers during his final three years in Allendale.
Wilks worked for Willingham during the 2004 season as Notre Dame defensive backs coach. A 1992 graduate of Appalachian State, Wilks was the defensive coordinate at Johnson C. Smith in his hometown of Charlotte from 1995-96. He held the same position at Savannah State for the 1997 and 1998 campaigns before taking over as the Tigers' head coach for the 1999 season. Prior to joining the Irish staff, Wilks was the defensive backs coach at Illinois State (2000), Appalachian State (2001) and Bowling Green (2003) and was the defensive coordinator at East Tennessee State in 2002.
The 2005 season will mark Hart's 18th season as an assistant coach at Washington. Hart has coached the Husky defensive line since joining Don James' staff in 1988. A 1970 Ohio State graduate, Hart began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes. He coached the offensive line at Tampa in 1972 before coaching the defensive lines Iowa State (1973-76), Purdue (1977-81) and Ohio State (1982-87). Willingham will be the fifth different Washington head coach Hart has worked for.
Tormey will be in his 13th season as a UW assistant coach. He returned to Montlake last year after spending the previous nine seasons as head coach at Idaho (1995-99) and Nevada (2000-03), compiling a combined 49-54 record. Tormey's first stint at Washington was as a graduate assistant for Don James from 1980-81. He coached the defensive line at his alma mater, Idaho, from 1982-83 before returning to Washington in 1984. Tormey coached the UW tight ends for two years before overseeing the outside linebackers (1987-91) and then defensive backs (1992-94). He was Washington's defensive coordinator in 1994.
Genise was the Irish director of football operations from 2002-2004. She worked for Willingham as an administrative associate from 1998-2001. She has worked in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers as an executive assistant to the President (2002), as an administrative assistant for the Minnesota Vikings (1994-97) and as an intern for the New England Patriots (1991-92). She is a 1993 graduate of Iowa.