Ohio State football adds former Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads to support staff

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Nov 28, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads watches from the sidelines during the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Former Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads is to join Ohio State as a defensive analyst, a source confirmed to The Dispatch on Wednesday night.

The hiring, first reported by Yahoo! Sports, bolsters the Buckeyes’ support staff, which is primary made up of quality control coaches and others who assist the program in off-field roles.

While not one of the 10 on-field assistant coaches and unable to work with players during practices, Rhoads can help with game planning and film breakdowns.

Ohio State's directory listed him as a quality control coach for defense, as well as former Vanderbilt interim coach Todd Fitch as an offensive quality control coach.

Rhoads, 54, spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Arizona, but was not retained by Jedd Fisch, who was hired last month to replace Kevin Sumlin as head coach.

Known for leading Iowa State from 2009 through 2015, Rhoads has also been a defensive coordinator at Arkansas, Auburn and Pittsburgh and most often coached the secondary during his coaching career, a base of knowledge that could provide the biggest benefit to Ohio State.

The Buckeyes ranked 122nd among 127 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in pass defense last fall, allowing 304 yards per game.

Last week, Day mentioned the possibility of bringing in additional quality control coaches or analysts this offseason.

Experience is also thinner on the staff following the retirement of defensive co-coordinator Greg Mattison.

Rhoads has some ties to Columbus and Day. Along with spending a season as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1991, he hired Jeff Hafley in 2006 when he was the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh.

Hafley co-coordinated the Buckeyes’ defense with Mattison in 2019, and previously worked with Day in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers.

In looking to expand the support staff, Day has said an additional hire needed to be "the right fit culturally" and "someone who could "bring the right things to the table."

Fitch was on Boston College's coaching staff with Day in 2013 and 2014, serving as the wide receivers coach.