UConn football has a new man to lead their much-maligned defense. The Huskies will hire Alabama defensive analyst Lou Spanos as defensive coordinator, the school announced Wednesday.
“Lou was exactly what I was looking for when I started the search for a new defensive coordinator,” head coach Randy Edsall said in a release. “I wanted someone who had NFL and college experience, someone who has coordinated a defense previously with success and someone who knows how to develop players and will be aggressive with the scheme that we will be running.”
A native of Pittsburgh, Spanos has spent time in both the college and NFL ranks. After a four-year career as a center for Tulsa, Spanos joined the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he spent 14 years as the defensive quality control and assistant linebackers coach. There, he coached in three Super Bowls, winning twice.
He left to join Mike Shanahan’s staff with the Washington Redskins in 2010 before he got his first defensive coordinator job with UCLA two seasons later.
“I have known Lou for a long time and have always admired the job he did so when I had the opportunity to become the head coach of the Washington Redskins, Lou was one of the first people I hired,” Shanahan said. “Lou is a heck of a football coach and a great family man who players instantly follow and listen to and his knowledge of the game is very impressive. Perhaps his best quality is his ability to relate to players and that is of the utmost importance. This is a great hire by UConn.”
Once he took over the Bruins, he employed a much more aggressive defense, helping the team go from 14 sacks the year before he arrived to 47 in 2012.
“Lou Spanos is a man and coach I greatly admire,” former UCLA coach Jim Mora said. “He had an immediate and profound impact on the UCLA football program and our student athletes as our defensive coordinator. Lou is a great communicator, a creative football mind, and a humble and loyal person. He has worked with some of the great defensive football minds of this generation and has taken the best attributes of each and applied them to his own successful philosophy.”
After two years on the west coast, Spanos left to return to the NFL as a linebackers coach with the Tennessee Titans, before he was fired after the 2017-18 season when new head coach Mike Vrabel came in. Spanos then joined Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as a defensive analyst, where he coached in the national championship game.
Spanos has also coached with the likes of Bill Cowher, Dick LeBeau, Mora, Saban, Shanahan, Mike Tomlin and Ken Whisenhunt.
Spanos replaces Bill Crocker, who was fired by UConn head coach Randy Edsall on Dec. 1. The new defensive coordinator will take over the worst defensive in FBS last season and one of the worst in the history of the sport. He joins defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins and strength and conditioning director Matt King as the new hires on Edsall’s staff.