By Christian Caple The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN — The Washington State football team has found its defensive coordinator.
A source confirmed Sunday that Mike Breske, the now-former defensive coordinator at the University of Montana, will take over a similar position on the staff of Mike Leach at Washington State, and was present Sunday at a team meeting between players and Leach’s new hires.
A phone message left for Breske was not returned Sunday. Multiple outlets — including FootballScoop.com and The Missoulian — also reported Breske has left Montana for Washington State.
Leach has maintained that no formal announcement is likely to be made about his coaching staff until after the American Football Coaches Association conference ends on Wednesday.
Several of Leach’s assistants, though not yet been officially announced as staff members, have set up offices in Pullman and have been on the road recruiting. There are nine names listed as having the title of football assistant in WSU’s faculty directory. All names listed have previously been tied to WSU through media reports.
They are, along with their expected staff position: David Emerick, Antonio Huffman (football operations), Jim Mastro (running backs), Clay McGuire (offensive line), Eric Russell (special teams), Dennis Simmons (outside receivers), Eric Morris (inside receivers), Joseph Salave’a (defensive line) and Paul Volero, who previously coached the defensive line at Central Michigan and also has experience in special teams.
It is not entirely clear whether Leach has completed his staff. It was originally reported by FootballScoop.com that New York Jets coaching intern Mike Smith would join WSU as its linebackers coach, but the New York Daily News reported last week that Smith will be promoted to a position as the Jets’ outside linebackers coach.
Breske has had two stints as UM’s defensive coordinator, rejoining the staff in 2010 after one season in a similar position at North Dakota State and six seasons as the defensive coordinator at Wyoming. He also coordinated Montana’s defense and coached safeties from 2000-2002.
Montana finished the 2010 season ranked 10th in the Football Championship Subdivision in total defense at 289.8 yards per game. Breske’s defense also helped Montana to the 2001 Division 1-AA national championship.