An offseason of staff upheaval for Missouri’s football team might have ended Friday when Ryan Walters was announced as the new safeties coach.
Walters, 29, coached cornerbacks at Memphis last season under defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who jumped to Missouri in December.
“I’m excited to join a program as prestigious as Mizzou,” Walters said. “Coach (Gary) Pinkel and his staff have done a tremendous job over the years and I’m excited to learn their system and also to bring my perspectives in. I’m fired up to work with Barry Odom again. I think he’s one of the best coaches I’ve been around, and it means a lot to me that he wants me in his defensive room. I’m excited to get to work and to help Mizzou continue to compete for championships.”
Walters replaces Alex Grinch, who left to become Washington State’s defensive coordinator in January.
Missouri lost defensive coordinator Dave Steckel in mid-December, when he left to become Missouri State’s head coach.
The Tigers nearly lost defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, who is the reigning national position coach of the year, when he received an offer to become co-defensive coordinator at Illinois.
Kuligowski announced last week that he would stay at Missouri.
With the addition of Walters, Pinkel’s staff is back at full strength.
“I’m really pleased that we are able to attract someone of Ryan’s caliber to join our team,” said Odom, who will coach linebackers. “I’ve known him for a while now, and had the chance to work together last year and he made a big impression on me. He’s a loyal and tireless worker who I see as a great technician and fundamentals coach. He was very sought after this past season, so we’re excited to recruit him to Mizzou.”
At Memphis, Walters, a Los Angeles native who played at Colorado, helped shape a defense that ranked fifth in the nation, allowing only 17.1 points per game and gave up fewer than 350 yards per game.
Prior to his time at Memphis, Walters was a student assistant with the Buffaloes (2009), worked as a graduate assistant and defensive backs coach at Arizona (2010-11), moved to Oklahoma as a graduate-assistant cornerbacks coach (2012) and coached cornerbacks at North Texas (2013).
Odom and Walters first met when Missouri traveled to Arizona in 2010 to share best practices between staffs.
“We’re looking forward to having Ryan join our staff,” Pinkel said. “He is a really impressive young coach who has a well-respected reputation in the coaching industry. He’s had proven success everywhere he’s been and we believe he’s going to do a great job with teaching and leading our safeties.”