After spending a couple weeks assessing his options, Mike Gundy has hired Jim Knowles to be the next defensive coordinator of the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
In his typical way, Gundy made the announcement in a very nondescript way on Twitter.
Shane Eachus (Ursinus College)
Jim Knowles (Duke)
Greg Richmond (Fairmont State)
Brian Rock (Holy Cross)
MK Taylor (Jacksonville State)
Chris Thurmond (Formerly Rice) pic.twitter.com/uqUAWuYgYa
— Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) January 29, 2018
Knowles leaves the Duke Blue Devils where was the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Knowles joined the staff in 2009 following six seasons as the head coach at Cornell.
Knowles is coming off an impressive season with the Blue Devils. In 2017, Duke’s defense was one of the best in the ACC, ranking third in scoring defense and fourth in total defense. The Blue Devils allowed just 20.2 points per game, marking the program’s lowest total since 1977, and surrendered more than 24 points just twice. Duke was one of just four defenses in the ACC to have four players register 9.0 tackles for loss or more each, joining Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech.
Knowles has a lengthy history of producing good defenses in Durham and has helped mentor some of the top linebackers in the ACC. In 2016, he led two Freshman All-Americans at the position in Joe Giles-Harris and Ben Humphreys. The two made Duke one of only eight Power 5 conference teams to have two linebackers with 100 or more tackles.
Mike Gundy fired defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, who had held the position since 2013 and was on the staff dating back to 2008.
The Pokes’ defense has been an issue the past few seasons, as their rankings for total defense the past five seasons have been 53rd, 93rd, 100th, 92nd, and 79th.