Mike Norvell, the University of Memphis football head coach, announced Tuesday the hiring of Kevin Clune, a former defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Oregon State University, as a senior defensive assistant.
Clune spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons at Oregon State. The 2017 season was an especially tough one for the Beavers, as they finished the year 1-11. They were 0-9 in conference play, which placed them last in the Pac-12. The Beavers were 12th in scoring defense and 11th in total defense. They were also 11th in rushing defense and 12th pass defense efficiency. Forcing turnovers and rushing the passer were major issues for Oregon State, as they finished last in the conference in interceptions and sacks.
This was a major step back from their 2016 campaign, where Clune’s defense allowed 52.3 yards per game fewer than their 2015 season, finished fourth in the conference in pass defense (211.2 yards per game) and finished fifth in pass efficiency defense, a seven-spot improvement from the previous year.
Before coming to Oregon State, Clune was at Utah State, where he helped the program to four bowl appearances and the 2012 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship.
Clune is a former player at Fullerton Junior College and the University of San Diego. The California native moved to the coaching ranks at Palma High School in Salinas, California, serving as the defensive line and receivers coach. Afterward, he spent two seasons at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California, as the linebackers coach and returned to his junior college alma mater in 1996 as the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach.
After four seasons, Clune joined the staff at Occidental College in 2000 as a defensive line coach, and then served at Utah for two years as a graduate assistant coach from 2001 to 2002. With the Utes, Clune coached his first bowl-bound team, as they earned a spot in the 2001 Vegas Bowl, defeating the Carson Palmer-led USC Trojans 10-6.
Clune has a knack for coaching up talent at the linebacker position. At Southern Utah, he guided a pair of linebackers to All-American honors as Nick DiPadova and Mazrquest Harris earned second and third team honors, respectively. During his stint at Utah State as the linebackers coach, freshman linebacker Kyle Fackrell was named all-conference and a freshman All-American. Current NFL Pro-bowler Bobby Wagner has also been successful under Clune’s tutelage, as he was named the 2011 WAC Defensive Player of the Year and later was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
While at Oregon State, senior linebacker Manase Hungalu and freshman safety David Morris earned Pac-12 honorable mention in 2017. Hungalu ranked fifth in the Pac-12 with 97 tackles and was named one of five finalists for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.
The Tigers are heading into their second week of spring camp this week, as they hold their sixth, seventh and eighth practices. Their spring session culminates with the Friday Night Stripes game April 13 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Tiger Walk for the spring game will begin at 6 p.m., and the on-field activities will begin at 7 p.m.
Head coach Mike Norvell walks the sideline before the game. Norvell signed a five-year contract extension with the Tigers Dec. 5.
Mike Norvell leads his Tigers onto the field prior to their game against
Kansas. Norvell helped the Tigers go 10-3 in the 2017-18 season.