Lorenzo Ward was officially named Tuesday as Fresno State’s new defensive coordinator, with coach Tim DeRuyter announcing the addition of the former South Carolina assistant nearly two months after the end of the Bulldogs’ 3-9 season.
It continues a dramatic staff makeover that included the hiring of Alabama assistant Eric Kiesau as offensive coordinator.
“We are very happy to be adding a coach with Lorenzo’s experience to our football staff,” DeRuyter said. “Lorenzo has a great passion for this game and mentoring young men. He has a wealth of experience having been a coordinator in the SEC as well as having coached in the NFL. His experience will greatly benefit our team and I know that he is excited about becoming a Bulldog as we return to competing for championships in 2016.”
He has a wealth of experience having been a coordinator in the SEC as well as having coached in the NFL.
coach Tim DeRuyter on new defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward
Among the résumé highlights cited by Fresno State in a news release on the hiring:
▪ Ward has coached in 15 bowl games and built a proven track record, especially in leading secondary units while coaching 16 defensive backs who went on to be drafted into the NFL. Two were first-rounders in Stephon Gilmore (2012, No. 10 overall) at South Carolina and DeAngelo Hall (2004, No. 8 overall) at Virginia Tech.
▪ In his time as coordinator at South Carolina, he had the defense ranked in the top 25 nationally in scoring and total defense in four out of his seven seasons. In 2011, the team ranked third in total defense, allowing 267.7 yards per game, and No. 11 in scoring defense at 18.4 points per game. South Carolina ranked 11th in 2012 while giving up 315.5 total yards per game and 13th in scoring defense (18.2). In 2013, the Gamecocks were 12th in scoring defense (20.3).
▪ Ward while at South Carolina coached eight first-team All-SEC selections and six All-Americans. Jadeveon Clowney became the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Arriving in South Carolina after one season as the secondary coach at Arkansas, Ward also spent one year on Art Shell’s staff with the Oakland Raiders and coached the secondary at Virginia Tech from 1999-2005. He played collegiately at Alabama.
Ward earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Alabama in 1991. He and his wife, Tara, have one son, Lorenzo Jr.
Ward, not retained by new South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, replaces Nick Toth – who had been DeRuyter’s defensive coordinator since he replaced Pat Hill as head coach ahead of the 2012 season. Toth, who played for DeRuyter at Ohio and coached outside linebackers for him when they were at Texas A&M, was reassigned as the inside linebackers coach.
Fresno State’s current football staff, amid an offseason of change including the hiring of new offensive and defensive coordinators.
- Tim DeRuyter - Head Coach
- Eric Kiesau - Offensive Coordinator
- Lorenzo Ward - Defensive Coordinator
- Ron Antoine - Assistant Coach (Running Backs & Recruiting Coordinator)
- Pete Germano - Assistant Coach (Special Teams/Defensive Line)
- Jordan Peterson - Assistant Coach (OLBs/Asst. Recruiting Coor.)
- Nick Toth - Assistant Coach (Inside Linebackers)
- Joey Boese - Football Strength & Conditioning Coach