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TCU finds its Defensive Coordinator in Tulsa’s Joseph Gillespie

TCU’s coaching staff is set.

Tulsa Athletics

Sonny Dykes and TCU have found their defensive coordinator in Tulsa, hiring the Golden Hurricane’s defensive coordinator Joseph Gillespie.

Gillespie has served in various roles on Tulsa’s staff since 2015, but was named defensive coordinator in 2019 after the previous coordinator, Bill Young, retired. In his three years at the helm, Tulsa has seen their numbers improve tremendously.

In the two years prior to Gillespie taking over the defense, Tulsa was ranked 117th (2017) and 96th (2018) in SP+ on that side of the ball. In his first season at the helm Gillespie’s defense jumped to 51st.

In 2020, as I noted on this morning’s Horned Frog Report, Tulsa’s defense was one of the top defenses in the country - 23rd according to SP+.

Under Gillespie’s direction, Tulsa’s 2020 defense was ranked second in The American for total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass defense and pass defense efficiency. Tulsa also ranked among the nation’s best defenses for a variety of statistical categories. The Hurricane held opponents to 333.6 total yards (19th in NCAA) and 21.6 points per game (27th in NCAA). Tulsa also ranked 18th for fewest passing yards, 19th nationally in pass efficiency defense, 20th in red zone defense and 43rd in rushing defense.

Under Gillespie’s leadership this season, Tulsa is 49th in SP+.

Gillespie has deep Texas ties, having been the head coach at Stephenville High School for seven years prior to his time at Tulsa, winning a state championship in 2012.

Prior to his time at Tulsa, Gillespie was the head coach at Stephenville High School for seven years, taking them to a state championship in 2012.

According to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Gillespie is bringing Tulsa’s cornerbacks coach Carlton Buckels to TCU as well.

With Gillespie and Buckels on board, TCU has nine on-field coaches with one more open position to fill.

TCU Football Coaching Staff

Position Coach
Position Coach
Head Coach Sonny Dykes
Offensive Coordinator/QBs Garrett Riley
Wide Receivers Malcolm Kelly
Running Backs Ra'Shaad Samples
Offensive Line A.J. Ricker
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Joseph Gillespie
Defensive Line Chidera Uzo-Diribe
Cornerbacks Carlton Buckels
Safeties Paul Gonzales
Special Teams Mark Tommerdahl