Washington State Cougars Coaching Staff 2023

Fresh off his first full season in Pullman, Washington State head coach Jake Dickert made three new hires for the 2023 campaign, but also has familiar faces including guys on a second stint in Wazzu.

Washington State is coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons but has lost its last three bowl contests. Now, the Cougars are entering, realistically, the second full season under the current regime.

Washington State Cougars Coaching Staff 2023

Head coach, Jake Dickert

Jake Dickert is 10-9 overall as head coach of the Cougars and is 0-2 in bowl games. But to reiterate, the 2023 season marks his second full campaign leading the way in Pullman.

The reason: Dickert was a mid-season promotion to head coach in 2021, following the widely publicized dismissal of Nick Rolovichwhose firing came off the heels of his refusal to be vaccinated for COVID-19, which was mandated for state of Washington employees, including him.

Dickert shed the interim label on November 27, 2021. He later responded by guiding Wazzu to the L.A. Bowl for the 2022 season. He’s now entering season two of the five-year contract he signed with the university.

Dickert’s area of expertise is defense, and his ’22 unit ranked No. 3 overall in the Pac-12 for scoring defense and placed fifth in average total yards allowed.

He’s additionally knowledgeable about producing linebackers — with 2023 third-rounder Daiyan Henley (Los Angeles Chargers) thriving under him. He also produced 2020 sixth-rounder Cassh Maluia and 2019 sixth-round safety Marcus Epps while coaching at Wyoming.

MORE: Pac-12 QB Rankings, 2023

Lastly, Dickert has had an ascension from the NCAA Division II ranks to the Power Five realm. But now, he gets two new coordinators to work with.

Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, Ben Arbuckle

Arbuckle is brand new to Pullman, having been officially hired on January 6.

He comes over via Western Kentucky, where he turned the Hilltoppers into one of the nation’s most explosive offenses, as the 2022 team averaged nearly 500 yards of total offense (497.3 YPG). Arbuckle’s coaching additionally did wonders for QB Austin Reed, who led the nation in passing yards with 4,746.

One of his other past pupils at WKU? New England Patriots QB Bailey Zappe, who’s now vying for the starting spot for the Pats along with Mac Jones.

Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach, Jeff Schmedding

Like Arbuckle, Schmedding is new to the staff as a fellow January 2023 hire.

He recently game-planned against Southeastern Conference (SEC) defenses as Auburn’s defensive coordinator. One of the players he helped coach up was 2023 second-round edge rusher Derick Hall, now with the Seattle Seahawks. He was an assistant head coach under former Auburn head man Bryan Harsin in 2021.

Schmedding is no stranger to the Pacific Northwest. He coached at Boise State alongside Harsin in 2019 and 2020, winning the Mountain West Conference title in the former season. But he spent 2004-2018 with Eastern Washington — giving him familiarity with the 509.

Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Tackles Coach, Pete Kaglis

Kaglis was a January 2022 hire for Dickert and Wazzu. Like Schmedding, he’s experienced life in the MWC as a coach there but shares a Wyoming connection with Dickert. The two were on Craig Bohl’s staff from 2017-2019. His WSU interior unit helped limit rushing offenses to just 17 touchdowns in 13 games.

Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach, Nick Whitworth

Whitworth joined Kaglis as a January 2022 hire. He was previously at Texas State, where his 2020 special teams unit led the Sun Belt Conference in punt returns and kickoff coverage. He also previously coached at Portland State from 2015-18.

Associate Head Coach and Running Backs Coach, Mark Atuaia

Atuaia continues the current theme of January 2022 additions. He comes over having spent six seasons as the RB coach for Virginia. Before the Cavaliers, he coached and played at BYU. He’ll aim to improve Wazzu’s ground game as it ranked 11th in the Pac-12 in yards per game.

Wide Receivers Coach, Nick Edwards

Edwards counts as the most recent coaching hire, with Dickert helping bring him on board on January 24, 2023. While Edwards is a PNW guy as an Eastern Washington grad and was last with the Atlanta Falcons as an offensive assistant in 2022, he’s making his return to the Pac-12, as he was previously the RB coach for Cal in 2019. After Berkeley, he handled the OC reins at Cal Poly from 2020-21.

Offensive Line Coach, Clay McGuire

McGuire is back for a second season with Dickert. But he’s no stranger to Wazzu, as he was the OL coach under the late Mike Leach from 2012-17. Those Cougar lines featured All-American First Teamer and Outland Trophy finalist Cody O’Connell, plus future Detroit Lions OL Joe Dahl. Last year’s OL unit surrendered 46 sacks (an average of 3.5 per game).

Edges Coach, Frank Maile

Maile was lured in on January 6, 2023. He shares a Boise State tie-in with the DC, as Maile was assistant head coach and the defensive line coach under Andy Avalos. He previously coached at his alma mater Utah State, where he was even the interim head coach in 2018 after Matt Wells got hired by Texas Tech. Maile’s last P5 stop was Vanderbilt, where he was the DL coach from 2014-15.

Safeties/Nickels Coach, Jordan Malone

Malone has been with Wazzu since 2021, as he’s an original hire made by Rolovich. Before being promoted to CB coach in October of that season, he had served as a defensive analyst. That 2021 unit went on to snatch eight interceptions in the final six games. Super Bowl-winning CB Jaylen Watson of the Kansas City Chiefs and undrafted rookie to the New York Jets, Derrick Langford, were two players he mentored in Pullman.

MORE: Pac-12 Weekly Football Schedule

Cornerbacks Coach, Ray Brown

Much like McGuire, Brown is another with ties to the legendary Leach, as he was a 2013 grad assistant under “The Pirate.” Before returning to Wazzu in 2022, he helped guide Utah State to the 2021 MWC title as CB coach of the Aggies. He’s had his other stops with Troy and Abilene Christian. But he’s another past Pac-12 assistant as he was a GA in 2014-15 at Arizona State.