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Tim Kish Settles into Coaching Role with Sooners

January 27, 2012
By VYPE Oklahoma of VYPE Oklahoma

By Lynn Jacobsen

Hired on Monday, Oklahoma linebackers coach Tim Kish hit the road Tuesday, returning to Arizona in an effort to land the Sooners one of the top defensive secondary players in Davonte Neal.

“That’s the way I want it,” Kish said in a phone interview. “I don’t want to sit idle. Anything I can do at the end (of recruiting), I want to do. We’ll see how it all unfolds. I’m happy to represent the university and coach (Bob) Stoops.”

Kish was a member of Mike Stoops’ staff for eight years at Arizona, but he also has a long-standing relationship with Bob Stoops.

“I’ve known the Stoops family for quite a long time,” said the Ohio native. “Actually, Bob and I met first. We have a mutual friend, (Michigan State head coach) Mark Dantonio. The three of us would get together occasionally when we were younger coaches. All being from Ohio, Mark from Zanesville, Bob from Youngstown and me from Columbus, it was nice to have those opportunities when we were younger.

“We stayed in touch all these years and I knew somewhere along the line  that I would be with one of the Stoops brothers. It just happened that it started with Mike, and then gravitated to here with Bob.”

 The 57-year-old Kish started his coaching career at the high school level in 1976. Prior to joining Mike Stoops’ staff at Arizona, Kish coached at the collegiate level at Bowling Green, Purdue, Ball State, Army, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana and Arizona.

During his eight seasons at Arizona, Kish served as linebackers coach, assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and lastly, interim head coach after the dismissal of Stoops during the 2011 season.

“It was something that came as a shock to all of us, to be honest,” Kish said of the coaching change. “We had just been three years in bowls. We thought we had turned the corner a little bit with the program.

“We had a Murderer’s Row schedule with the end of the last year and beginning of this year. That’s part of the game. We know that. But we didn’t anticipate halfway through that we get that phone call.”

Kish guided the Wildcats to a 3-3 record with victories over UCLA, Arizona State and Louisiana-Lafayette, the latter in the New Orleans Bowl.

“I just tried to move forward as positively as possible, that’s what Mike wanted,” Kish said. “For the seniors they were able to hold their head high and feel good about something at the end. For me, it’s an experience I will cherish the rest of my life.”

Kish, named a Top 25 recruiter for the Wildcats in 2004, 2005 and 2006, is anxious to build recruiting relationships for Oklahoma.

“I wish I could have gotten here earlier and made a bigger impact (in recruiting),” Kish said. “I’m very proud to wear the crimson of Oklahoma and get out in the spring and start recruiting.”

Kish inherits a large pool of players for the linebacker positions. Tom Wort, Corey Nelson and Jayden Burd are the veterans among the 12 roster players listed at linebacker.

“I like the group I will be working with and I’m excited to get out there and start working with them,” Kish said. “When you have change like this, it’s always a clean slate for both ends. I think that has these guys excited too. I’m looking forward to spring practice.

“Those three guys have experience and that will count. But I’m also anxious to see what the redshirt freshmen can do.”

Kish said fans will like the passion Mike Stoops brings to the defense.

“He’s a great defensive mind,” Kish said. “This is his passion, coaching the game, having an opportunity to be the coordinator again and get his hands in there fulltime. I know he is thrilled.

“Our philosophies are very similar. I don’t expect a lot of X and O changes. There will be some subtle ones. We just want to stimulate the defensive play from my perspective.”

What can fans expect from the defense in 2012?

“Certainly, first and foremost we want a group that’s hungry and passionate,” Kish said. “I correlate it to practice. If you practice possessed, you will play possessed. We’ll try to put it in a format where there’s not a lot of thinking going on, more reaction. That to me is the criteria for a good defense.”

Kish and wife Angela have three children, Megan is a freshman at Ohio State, Emily will graduate from high school in May and the couple’s son, Michael, is a high school sophomore.






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