Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson named next football coach at Tulsa
Kevin Wilson, who has been the offensive coordinator at Ohio State for the past six seasons, has been named Tulsa's next head coach.
The school announced the hiring on Monday night, a move that will leave at least one opening on the Buckeyes' on-field coaching staff. ESPN reported earlier that Wilson had reached a five-year agreement. He will be introduced by Tulsa at a news conference on Tuesday and at a men's basketball game on Wednesday.
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Wilson replaces Philip Montgomery, who was fired after the Golden Hurricane finished 5-7 this fall. Montgomery had been at Tulsa for eight seasons and led the American Athletic Conference program to consecutive bowl games in 2020 and 2021 before the dip.
The 61-year-old Wilson was the coach at Indiana for six seasons before coming to Columbus in 2017. He was previously an assistant at Oklahoma from 2002-10, including the last five seasons as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator, giving him some familiarity with the state.
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He joined the Buckeyes’ staff in the aftermath of a shutout loss to Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal in 2016. Urban Meyer, who was leading the program at the time, tapped Wilson and Ryan Day, who was hired as the quarterbacks coach, to revive a stagnant offense.
Over the following six seasons, Wilson worked with Day, who succeeded Meyer at the helm of the program, to produce some of the highest-scoring teams in the nation. In five out of the last six seasons, they have ranked in the top 10 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in scoring offense. Their 44.5 points per game average this season ranks second behind only Tennessee.
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With Wilson headed to Tulsa, there are some internal candidates who could take over in his role. Those include offensive line coach Justin Frye, who was the offensive coordinator at UCLA prior to being hired in January, as well as wide receivers coach Brian Hartline, who is viewed as a fast-rising assistant and added passing game coordinator to his title this season. Running backs coach Tony Alford was also recently promoted to run game coordinator. Day has remained the primary play-caller for the offense.
As the coaching carousel spun in past offseasons, Wilson had been linked as a candidate to some openings, including at Akron last December, but none of them led him to leave Ohio State.
Before the Buckeyes met Utah in the Rose Bowl at the end of last season, Wilson said he remained interested in a head-coaching position, but considered that one might not emerge and felt at ease on Day's staff. His son, Toby Wilson, also joined the program as a walk-on last year and is a reserve offensive lineman.
"By no means am I at a point where I'm just dying to do something," Kevin Wilson said a year ago. "I think, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be."
It's possible Wilson will remain on staff with the Buckeyes through the College Football Playoff as the Buckeyes were selected for the field on Sunday.
Previous Ohio State assistants who were hired elsewhere as head coaches prior to the playoff, including Jeff Hafley in 2019 and Tom Herman in 2014, stayed on during the postseason.