Youngstown State Head Football Coach Eric Wolford announced today that Jamie Bryant, a former defensive coordinator in the Southeastern Conference, has joined the Penguins' coaching staff.
Bryant will serve as the special teams coordinator and assistant linebackers coach for the program. He brings 16 years of collegiate coaching experience to the YSU staff, including nine as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt. His first day with the Penguins will be Monday, Feb. 18.
"Jamie is an Ohio native and we are happy to have him back in his home state," Wolford said. "He has a tremendous wealth of experience, including a nine-year run in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt always was well coached on defense and he did a great job with their special-teams units."
Prior to coming to Youngstown State, the Fredericktown, Ohio, native spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Houston on the staffs of Tony Levine and Kevin Sumlin. In 2012, he served as the Cougars' defensive coordinator. As linebackers coach in 2011, Houston had its best season in school history posting a 13-1 record, including a 12-game winning streak during the campaign.
During the 2011 campaign, Houston's top four linebackers each led the team in tackles, with both the senior McGraw (141) and the true freshman Mathews (106) eclipsing the century mark. Overall that starting collection had 62.5 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks and 10 interceptions.
Bryant served as the secondary coach during his entire tenure on the Vanderbilt coaching staff from 2002-10. He spent one year coordinating special teams and was the defensive coordinator during his final two seasons. He helped lead Vandy to its first postseason appearance in 26 years when the Commodores participated in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. VU defeated Boston College 17-16 with a late field goal to earn its first Bowl victory in 53 years.
He tutored Vanderbilt's first-ever All-American defensive back in D.J. Moore in 2008. He also produced All-SEC defensive backs in three consecutive years -- Moore in 2008, Myron Lewis in 2009 and Casey Hayward in 2010. Hayward led the SEC in passes defended and ranked second in interceptions. Moore and Lewis were also NFL draftees, with Moore selected in the fourth round in 2009 and Lewis in the third round a year later.
Bryant was a defensive graduate assistant at North Carolina for the 2001 season, his first with a BCS program. That year, an aggressive defense helped the Tar Heels win seven of their final nine regular-season games, including impressive routs of ACC foes Florida State and Clemson, before defeating Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
In 2000, he spent a season at the FCS level serving as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Saint Francis (Pa.).
Bryant entered the collegiate coaching ranks in 1997 as outside linebackers coach at Clarion. He spent three seasons with the Golden Eagles and his duties evolved to secondary coach and special teams coordinator for his final two seasons.
Before embarking on his 17-year college career, he coached for five seasons at three separate high schools in Ohio. He spent three seasons as the head coach at East Clinton High School and served as an assistant coach at Anderson and Hayes High School's for a single campaign.
A three-year letterwinner at Ohio Wesleyan, he earned a degree in Economics Management in 1993.
Bryant and his wife, Elisa, are the parents of three sons, Luke, Jake and Josh.