Rice’s new head coach has officially plucked an assistant from Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan coaching staff to fill a key position on his first with the Owls.
The Conference USA football program confirmed Wednesday night that Brian Smith has been named by Mike Bloomgren as his first defensive coordinator. Smith spent the past two seasons as the Wolverines’ defensive backs coach.
The stint in Ann Arbor was Smith’s first coaching job at a Power Five program. His first coaching job at the FBS level came at his alma mater UMass, where he was linebackers coach in 2004 and wide receivers coach in 2005.
In between those two collegiate stints, Smith spent eight seasons (2007-14) with the NFL’s New York Jets, beginning as a quality control/offensive coach before moving up to help with the secondary his last couple of seasons with the organization.
In addition to Smith, Bloomgren, who came to Rice earlier this month after serving as offensive coordinator at Stanford, also announced the hiring of North Carolina Central University head coach Jerry Mack as his coordinator on that side of the ball. Mack had previously coached at this level as wide receivers coach at Memphis (2011) and South Alabama (2012-13).
In his four years heading the FCS program, Mack guided the Eagles to a 31-15 record and three Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships.