PULLMAN – An esteemed member of Washington State’s Alamo Bowl-winning 2018 football team is returning to the Cougars in a coaching role.
A school spokesperson confirmed to The Spokesman-Review that former WSU nickel Hunter Dale is joining Mike Leach’s staff as a defensive quality control assistant. The news was initially reported by Cougfan.com.
Leach won’t hire a new defensive coordinator to replace Tracy Claeys until the 2019 season ends, so Dale’s addition gives the Cougars another set of eyes for the time being, as inside linebackers coach Roc Bellantoni and cornerbacks coach Darcel McBath split DC duties.
“We’ve always wanted to have Hunter, I always thought he’d be a good GA (graduate assistant),” Leach said. “When he went through the whole, what opportunities are out there for him to keep playing and things like that. Once we kind of cycled through that, we did think he’d be a good GA, so I had the opportunity to bring him in.”
Dale was a two-year starter who played in 46 career games for the Cougars, mostly at nickel – a hybrid linebacker/defensive position – and was a respected leader for the 2018 group that won a school-record 11 games and ranked fourth in the conference in total defense.
In his four seasons at WSU, Dale notched 113 tackles, 13½ tackles-for-loss and 3½ sacks. The New Orleans native also forced a fumble and had one interception.
Quality control assistants are somehwat restricted in what they are and aren’t allowed to do on the field, but those in the position often take on film responsibilities and handle miscellaneous tasks during practice.
“He’ll work over there on defense, whatever they have him do, and I think that role will probably grow as he does as far as coaching,” Leach said.
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