Jan. 19, 2005
Vic Koenning, who led Troy University’s 2004 defense to a top 10 national ranking in scoring defense, rushing defense, yards per play, and pass efficiency defense, has been named Defensive Coordinator at Clemson University. Head Coach Tommy Bowden made the announcement Wednesday.
Koenning’s defense was sixth in the nation in pass efficiency defense (100.56 rating points), eighth in rushing defense (100.92), and 10th in scoring defense (16.67) for the Trojans this year, helping the squad to a 7-5 record and a bowl appearance in the Silicon Valley Bowl against Northern Illinois. Ironically, the only other Division I school to rank in the top 10 of all three primary defensive categories in 2004 was another school with Trojans as their nickname, National Champion Southern Cal.
Troy’s defense was also first in the nation in interceptions (25) and tied for second in turnovers forced (32), in addition to ninth in the nation in yards per play allowed, and 16th in the nation in total defense (311.0). Only Southern Cal had more takeaways than Troy on defense with 38.
“I have always said that the most important statistic in football is scoring defense,” said Bowden. “To have a great program you need to rank in the top 10 in the nation in defense and Vic accomplished this and much more this past season. His defenses historically have had a pattern of excellence in many areas, but especially in terms of forcing turnovers and limiting scoring.
“You have to be impressed with his results in stopping the run and the pass against quality competition this past year. He will be a terrific addition to our staff. We are very excited to welcome Vic and his family to Clemson.”
Of the 12 teams Troy faced this past year, 11 failed to reach their scoring average for the course of the season. (Only Utah State, in a 49-21 Troy victory, reached its scoring average for the season against the Troy defense.) Teams scored an average of six points per game less than their season average when facing Koenning’s defense in 2004, including Missouri, South Carolina and LSU who combined to average just 18 points per game against Troy.
The defending National Champion Tigers of LSU defeated Troy 24-20 in Baton Rouge at midseason, but accumulated just 57 yards rushing against the Trojans, the season low for Nick Saban’s rushing attack that ranked 20th in the nation and averaged 194 yards per game for the course of the 2004 season.
Koenning’s defense featured standout performances by defensive lineman Demarcus Ware, who ranked eighth in the nation in quarterback sacks and 13th in tackles for loss, and two players who ranked among the top 16 in the nation in interceptions, defensive backs Johnny Faulk and Derrick Ansley.
Troy forced 32 turnovers in 2004 to rank tied for second in the nation behind national champion Southern Cal. It marked the third time in Koenning’s last five years as a defensive coordinator that his defense ranked in the top six in the nation in turnovers forced. His 2003 Troy defense ranked sixth in the nation in turnovers forced and his 1997 Wyoming defense led the nation in that category.
The 25 interceptions that led the nation in 2004 marked the second time in his career he has coached a secondary that led the nation in interceptions. His 1997 Wyoming defense had a school record 24 thefts that also led the nation.
Koenning spent two seasons at Troy as the defensive coordinator under Trojans head coach Larry Blakeney. Prior to that he was the head coach at Wyoming from 2000-02. He coached 10 Cowboy players who earned first-team all-conference honors and 12 who were second-team selections during his five seasons at Wyoming, three years as head coach and two years as defensive coordinator.
In 1997, Koenning’s first season as Wyoming’s defensive coordinator, the Cowboys ranked second in the nation in quarterback sacks, sixth in pass defense, 17th in scoring defense and 23rd in total defense. In 1998, his defense ranked 28th in scoring defense.
Koenning served a full-time assistant coach working with the defensive backs at the University of Memphis from 1991-96. In his first year he helped the Tigers to a 24-10 upset of 14th ranked Southern Cal in the Los Angeles Coliseum. His second season with the program saw the Memphis defense rank third in the nation in total defense and 15th against scoring.
The Tigers enjoyed another successful year on the defensive side of the ball in 1993 as Koenning’s unit ranked 16th in the nation in total defense. The defense contributed to a win at 25th ranked Mississippi State. In 1994, the Tigers were again ranked third in the nation in total defense and eighth in scoring defense. His final year at Memphis was highlighted by a 21-17 upset of in-state rival Tennessee, who was ranked sixth in the nation entering that game.
Koenning spent 10 years in Memphis altogether. Between 1986-90 he worked as a graduate assistant and strength training coach with the Tigers football program.
A standout linebacker at Kansas State, Koenning was a three-year starter who was the captain of the Wildcat team in 1982. He led that Kansas State team to the Independence Bowl , the school’s first ever bowl appearance as a senior. He was the recipient of the Paul Coffman Award, which is presented each year to the Kansas State player who displays the most outstanding leadership.
Koenning pursued a professional playing career with the Denver Broncos, Oklahoma Outlaws (USFL) and the Green Bay Packers between 1983-86 before starting work on his Master’s degree in 1986 at Memphis. Koenning and his wife Tracey, have four children: Kimberly, Brady, Camden and Jackson.
Troy National Defensive Rankings in 2004 #1 in total interceptions, 25 #2 in turnovers forced, 32 6th, Pass Efficiency Defense, 100.56 rating points #8 in rushing defense, 100.92 #9 in yards per play allowed, 4.39 #10 in scoring defense, 16.67 #10 in turnover margin, +0.92 per game #16 in total defense, 311.00
Koenning Quick Facts Date of Birth: Feb. 26, 1960 Hometown: Owasso, OK Family: Wife Tracey, and children Kimberly, Brady, Camden and Jackson Education: BS in Communications, Kansas State ’83, MA in Athletic Administration, Memphis, ’89 Playing Experience: Kansas State, linebacker, 1979-82.
Full-time Coaching Experience
Year School Position 1991-96 Memphis Secondary 1997-99 Wyoming Defensive Coordinator 2000-02 Wyoming Head Coach 2003-04 Troy Defensive Coordinator
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