Alford joins Utah coaching staff

Alford joins Utah coaching staff

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SALT LAKE CITY—Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham has hired Aaron Alford as his new cornerbacks coach, while promoting Jay Hill to special teams coordinator. Alford comes to Utah from Akron, where he coached the cornerbacks for the past three seasons. In addition to overseeing the special teams, Hill will coach the tight ends - a position previously held by Jay Boulware, who recently accepted a position as special teams coordinator and running backs coach at Iowa State. Hill was the co-special teams coordinator for the past two years, while also coaching the cornerbacks. With the exception of Boulware, Whittingham's original staff will remain intact for a third year.

Alford helped coach one of the nation's top pass defenses in 2005, when Akron ranked 16th in the nation and allowed just 180.85 passing yards per game. The Zips finished 38th in pass defense in 2006 (186.17) and were 44th in both pass efficiency defense (119.85) and total defense (322.42).

Prior to his stint at Akron, Alford held assistantships at Wyoming (2002), Western Illinois (2001), Southern Utah (1999-2000) and Kent State (1998). In 2003, he served as the academic coordinator in the SUU athletics department while completing a graduate degree in secondary education.

Alford began his coaching career as a student coach at Colorado State in 1996. He spent the 1998 season as a defensive graduate assistant at Kent State before taking a full-time post as cornerbacks coach at Southern Utah. He was responsible for the defensive secondary at both Western Illinois and Wyoming.

Alford played for Colorado State, lettering as a defensive back in 1993. He graduated from CSU in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in education. He then accepted a position at East Middle School in Colorado Springs, Colo., working with special education students. His next job was as an administrative assistant at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in 1998.

Alford (pronounced alf-ord) is a native of Colorado Springs, Colo. He and his wife Linda, a Park City, Utah, native, are parents of three children: Elijah, Max and Sam.

Hill takes over the special teams after sharing coordinator duties with Boulware for the past two years. Under Hill's oversight, Utah's kicking game and coverage teams excelled. Sophomore kicker/punter Louie Sakoda was named the 2006 Mountain West Conference co-Special Teams Player of the Year and the MVP of the Armed Forces Bowl. Utah led the nation last fall in net punting (41.58 yard average) and finished second in punt return defense (2.37 yards per return). In 2005, Hill mentored first-team all-conference place kicker Dan Beardall.

The cornerbacks also fared well during Hill's two years as position coach. Eric Weddle was named a 2006 Consensus All-American and was the MWC Defensive Player of the Year in both 2005 and 2006. Weddle led the league in interceptions as a senior, with seven, and was tops in the MWC in passes defended in 2005, with 16 (including four interceptions). Hill's corners accounted for 12 of Utah's 17 total interceptions in 2006.

Although the former Ute defensive back has coached on the defensive side of the ball as either a graduate assistant or full-time coach since 2002, he does bring some offensive experience into his new position with the tight ends. Hill's his first coaching job was as an offensive graduate assistant for the Utes in 2001, when he worked with the wide receivers.

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