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Bears Add Experience, Recruiting Prowess With Addition of Sirmon

January 19, 2018
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BERKELEY – Cal head coach Justin Wilcox announced Friday that Peter Sirmon has agreed to become the Golden Bears’ associate head coach defense and inside linebackers coach. Sirmon has been the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State (2016) and Louisville (2017) the last two seasons. He also coached on staffs with Wilcox for six seasons at Tennessee (2010-11), Washington (2012-13) and USC (2014-15), including the final three campaigns as a recruiting coordinator.

“Peter Sirmon shares our vision for Cal football and is an ideal fit for our coaching staff,” Wilcox said. “I have had the pleasure of working with Peter on previous staffs and understand the value he will bring. Peter is an excellent football coach, a top-notch recruiter and talented in the development of players both on and off the field. He will be an excellent teacher of the game as well as a tremendous mentor for our student-athletes in all aspect of their lives.”

“I’m excited to be joining the University of California and reuniting with Justin Wilcox.” Sirmon said. “We are like-minded in what we believe and in our approaches to both football and life. I’m looking forward to coaching championship football at Cal and helping create the best possible experience for the student-athletes in this program both on and off the field.”

Sirmon helped Louisville to an 8-5 record and extended his personal string of bowl appearances to six in a row at the TaxSlayer Bowl as the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach in 2017. The Cardinals were nationally ranked for much of the season and reached as high as No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25. Sirmon’s defense was second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 10 fumbles recovered and third with 23 turnovers gained to help get the ball back to a high-powered offense that ranked third nationally in scoring. Linebacker Dorian Etheridge earned Freshman All-American honors while All-ACC honorable mention selection Trumaine Washington was involved in a team-best six takeaways on four interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Mississippi State won the St. Petersburg Bowl during Sirmon’s lone campaign as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2016 with his unit contributing four defensive touchdowns to tie for eighth nationally. A Bulldogs’ defense that included 11 first-time starters and nine freshmen also had 23 turnovers gained to rank tied for 38th nationally with the total nine more than the previous season. Linebacker Leo Lewis led all SEC freshmen in tackles (79) and became the first FWAA Freshman All-American in school history, while Jeffrey Simmons led all SEC freshmen defensive linemen in tackles (40) on his way to joining Lewis on the Freshman All-SEC team.

Sirmon spent the previous six seasons working with Wilcox beginning with two campaigns at USC as the associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach. In 2015, the Trojans won the Pac-12 South title and made a second consecutive appearance in the Holiday Bowl, leading the Pac-12 in third-down conversion defense and scoring five defensive touchdowns to rank third nationally. Sirmon's guidance propelled outside linebacker Su'a Cravens to All-Pac-12 first-team honors for the second straight season before he was taken in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. Inside linebacker Cameron Smith was selected as the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in addition to being named a freshman All-American by several media outlets.

Sirmon was the linebackers coach at Washington for the two prior seasons, adding recruiting coordinator to his duties for the first time in 2013. The Huskies ranked in the top 40 nationally in total defense, scoring defense and pass defense in his first campaign in 2012 after finishing the previous campaign ranked lower than No. 105 in each category. Washington’s scoring defense jumped to tied for No. 29 nationally in 2013, while its team passing efficiency defense improved 60 spots to No. 27 in 2012 before climbing to No. 10 in 2013, with its 41.0 sacks tied for fourth nationally. The Huskies played in the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl and 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl with Sirmon moving on to USC before the latter. Sirmon tutored eventual first-round NFL Draft pick Shaq Thompson during his back-to-back honorable mention All-Pac-12 seasons as a 2012 freshman and 2013 sophomore.

Sirmon’s successful tenures as the recruiting coordinator at both Washington and USC were highlighted by Rivals’ top recruiting class in 2015 that included 12 top-100 recruits after a 2014 Trojans’ group that ranked No. 9 and a 2013 Washington group that was No. 18, all according to 247Sports. Notable members of those recruiting classes included current NFL players highlighted by USC’s Adoree Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Washington’s Kevin King, Elijah Qualls and John Ross. The Trojans’ Sam Darnold, Ronald Jones and Rasheem Green are top prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Sirmon first coached with Wilcox for two seasons at Tennessee, starting as a graduate assistant working with the Vols’ safeties during their 2010 Music City Bowl campaign before being promoted to linebackers coach in 2011.

Sirmon also spent one season as a graduate assistant at Oregon in 2009 when the Ducks won a Pac-10 title and played in the Rose Bowl after getting into the coaching business as the linebackers coach at Central Washington in 2008 for a team that finished 10-2 and reached the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Sirmon played seven NFL seasons as a linebacker with the Tennessee Titans from 2000-06, participating in 81 games with 54 starts and registering 343 career tackles while adding four interceptions including one that he returned for a touchdown. Tennessee won two divisional titles (2000 AFC Central, 2002 AFC South) while adding a third playoff appearance in 2003 during his tenure. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.

Sirmon, who received his bachelor's degree in political science from Oregon in 1999, started all four of his collegiate seasons (1996-99) and was selected to the Senior Bowl after his senior campaign, helping the Ducks to winning campaigns in each of those seasons and three bowl games (1997 Las Vegas Bowl, 1998 Aloha Bowl, 1999 Sun Bowl). A four-year collegiate teammate of Wilcox and a first-team All-Pac-10 selection as a 1999 senior, Sirmon was the squad's leading tackler in 1997 and 1999.

Sirmon and his wife, Lindsay, have four children: son Jackson and daughters Austyn, Savanna and Sadie.

Adjusted coaching roles on the defensive side of the ball following the hiring of Sirmon include Tim DeRuyter now working with the outside linebackers in addition to his defensive coordinator duties and Tony Tuioti becoming the team’s defensive line coach.

PETER SIRMON FILE
Birthdate: February 18, 1977
Hometown: Walla Walla, WA
High School: Walla Walla HS
College: Oregon, 1999, Bachelor’s in Political Science
Family: Wife, Lindsay; Son, Jackson; Daughters, Austyn, Savanna, Sadie
Pronunciation: sermon

PETER SIRMON COACHING HISTORY
Season: Team – Position (Champions, Postseason)
2008: Central Washington – Linebackers (NCAA Division II Playoffs)
2009: Oregon – Graduate Assistant (Pac-12 Champions, Rose Bowl)
2010: Tennessee – Graduate Assistant, Safeties (Music City Bowl)
2011: Tennessee – Linebackers
2012: Washington – Linebackers (Las Vegas Bowl)
2013: Washington – Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator
2014: USC – Linebackers/Assistant Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator (Holiday Bowl)
2015: USC – Linebackers/Assistant Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator (Pac-12 South Division Champions, Holiday Bowl)
2016: Mississippi State – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers (St. Petersburg Bowl)
2017: Louisville – Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers (TaxSlayer Bowl)
2018: Cal – Associate Head Coach/Inside Linebackers

CAL FOOTBALL COVERAGE
• Twitter: @CalFootball, @CalAthletics, @CalRecruiting
• Instagram: Cal_Football, CalAthletics
• Facebook: CalAthletics
• Web: CalBears.com
• External Media Outlets: Multiple
Fans can join in the conversation on social media using the hashtags #GoBears and #CalFamily
 

Tags: Peter Sirmon
Discussion from...

Bears Add Experience, Recruiting Prowess With Addition of Sirmon

NYCGOBEARS
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Go Bears!
CAL6371
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Looks like another first-rate coaching selection.
BearGreg
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Staff
Sirmon's resume screams outstanding recruiter and player developer more than schematic defensive expert. That's an ideal fit for Cal given Wilcox and Peter's longtime relationship and understanding of each others strengths and weaknesses as well as their ability to get the best out of one another. With DeRuyter and Wilcox on the staff, we're in great shape with defensive schematics and culture. What we need is talent evaluators, recruiters and player developers.

B.A. Bearacus
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Was making 950K per year base salary as DC at Louisville. Gotta imagine he's taking steep drop in pay.
ferCALgm2
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Seems like a fantastic amazing hire, I'm just not used to get nice things.

I missing something? So he was getting paid almost $1 million dollars as DC for Louisville, and he resigned to take it for a smaller (I think) title? Will he get paid similarly here?
Goobear
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Coach Wilcox is a builder and his own man. He knows what he wants and needs. Impressive!

The people he gets to surround himself with are impressive.

Now that is the hallmark of a great CEO.

Congrats coach to Wilcox and Cal Football Staff on another great hire and welcome Coach Sirmon!
okaydo
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FrankBear21
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Gotta love it. We should just stop predicting Wilcox hires because we are always so off!

Great hire!
B.A. Bearacus
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What he sounds like. Both clips from 2014, when he was LB coach at SC.

Mic'd up:



Interviewed:

packawana
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ferCALgm2 said:

Seems like a fantastic amazing hire, I'm just not used to get nice things.

I missing something? So he was getting paid almost $1 million dollars as DC for Louisville, and he resigned to take it for a smaller (I think) title? Will he get paid similarly here?

I wouldn't be surprised if this parting was mutual.
ayetee11
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The Louisville boards are excited about this.
CalBearinLA
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Son plays LB at UW and Nephew is 2018 QB UW Commit...will be interesting to see him go up against them!
tequila4kapp
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Very nice hire.

Who is coaching the DL?
NYCGOBEARS
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tequila4kapp said:

Very nice hire.

Who is coaching the DL?

Tui
ducky23
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So Is Sirmon the heir apparent when Deruyter leaves?
Looperbear
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Wow, this is a great hire. So nice to have a coach with the brains and respect to hire top tier coaches like this.
okaydo
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ayetee11 said:

The Louisville boards are excited about this.

Isn't that a bad thing?
BearsWiin
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ducky23 said:

So Is Sirmon the heir apparent when Deruyter leaves?
This hire suggests that DeRuyter won't be here after this next year. Too many resume-heavy high-dollar guys around. It's possible that Wilcox is trying to ease DeRuyter out, but I think it's more likely that they're on the same page, DeRuyter has told Wilcox that he wants another crack at some HC job, and Wilcox is getting his guy in to overlap one year with DeRuyter so that there's continuity when DeRuyter leaves (and Sirmon came on with the expectation that the DC job would be his after a year).
71Bear
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packawana said:

ferCALgm2 said:

Seems like a fantastic amazing hire, I'm just not used to get nice things.

I missing something? So he was getting paid almost $1 million dollars as DC for Louisville, and he resigned to take it for a smaller (I think) title? Will he get paid similarly here?

I wouldn't be surprised if this parting was mutual.
I would agree... it is not a bad thing but it does mean that Sirmon isn't the kinda of guy that you hang on to "no matter what it takes" (see Coach Lakes at UW)......

packawana
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BearsWiin said:

ducky23 said:

So Is Sirmon the heir apparent when Deruyter leaves?
This hire suggests that DeRuyter won't be here after this next year. Too many resume-heavy high-dollar guys around. It's possible that Wilcox is trying to ease DeRuyter out, but I think it's more likely that they're on the same page, DeRuyter has told Wilcox that he wants another crack at some HC job, and Wilcox is getting his guy in to overlap one year with DeRuyter so that there's continuity when DeRuyter leaves (and Sirmon came on with the expectation that the DC job would be his after a year).
I don't think this says anything about DeRuyter. Sirmon was not a proven DC at Miss St. or at Louisville, and DeRuyter is. Might just be a case where Sirmon is a much better recruiter/position coach than DC -- nothing wrong with that, we already have two good to great defensive minds at the top of our program.
ayetee11
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okaydo said:

ayetee11 said:

The Louisville boards are excited about this.

Isn't that a bad thing?

After reading their boards, I like this knowing it's as a position coach. Saw comments about how Mississippi State fans tried to warn them about him as a DC. If he can recruit I'm excited.
Sebastabear
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He can definitely recruit. I think people may be reading a bit too much into this hire in terms of what it means for DeRuyter's future plans. Sirmon was a unique opportunity to get a very experienced coach with a great resume on our staff. The stars aligned favorably for us (for once) and JW was able to make this happen. Kudos to him for a great pickup.
KoreAmBear
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B.A. Bearacus said:

Was making 950K per year base salary as DC at Louisville. Gotta imagine he's taking steep drop in pay.


Seems too good to be true.
ayetee11
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Sebastabear said:

He can definitely recruit. I think people may be reading a bit too much into this hire in terms of what it means for DeRuyter's future plans. Sirmon was a unique opportunity to get a very experienced coach with a great resume on our staff. The stars aligned favorably for us (for once) and JW was able to make this happen. Kudos to him for a great pickup.

I hope DeRuyter stays for a long time as DC.
KoreAmBear
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okaydo said:

ayetee11 said:

The Louisville boards are excited about this.

Isn't that a bad thing?


Yah that's not good like that OC we got from Utah who was previously OC at Oregon. I think he was part of undefeated season and yet they weren't sad to see him go. Oregon fans were laughing. He was meh.
KoreAmBear
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packawana said:

BearsWiin said:

ducky23 said:

So Is Sirmon the heir apparent when Deruyter leaves?
This hire suggests that DeRuyter won't be here after this next year. Too many resume-heavy high-dollar guys around. It's possible that Wilcox is trying to ease DeRuyter out, but I think it's more likely that they're on the same page, DeRuyter has told Wilcox that he wants another crack at some HC job, and Wilcox is getting his guy in to overlap one year with DeRuyter so that there's continuity when DeRuyter leaves (and Sirmon came on with the expectation that the DC job would be his after a year).
I don't think this says anything about DeRuyter. Sirmon was not a proven DC at Miss St. or at Louisville, and DeRuyter is. Might just be a case where Sirmon is a much better recruiter/position coach than DC -- nothing wrong with that, we already have two good to great defensive minds at the top of our program.


Maybe it's a chance for Sirmon to get back to what he does best with the chance to be DC down the line and be back on the west coast.
ducky23
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KoreAmBear said:

okaydo said:

ayetee11 said:

The Louisville boards are excited about this.

Isn't that a bad thing?


Yah that's not good like that OC we got from Utah who was previously OC at Oregon. I think he was part of undefeated season and yet they weren't sad to see him go. Oregon fans were laughing. He was meh.


Anyone remember Steve Marshall. Can't say opposing fan bases didn't warn us about that one.

I think 9 times out of 10, opposing fan bases know what they're talking about.

Thankfully this guy is coming in as a lb coach, which I'm sure he will excel at
lovecakes
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BearsWiin said:

ducky23 said:

So Is Sirmon the heir apparent when Deruyter leaves?
This hire suggests that DeRuyter won't be here after this next year. Too many resume-heavy high-dollar guys around. It's possible that Wilcox is trying to ease DeRuyter out, but I think it's more likely that they're on the same page, DeRuyter has told Wilcox that he wants another crack at some HC job, and Wilcox is getting his guy in to overlap one year with DeRuyter so that there's continuity when DeRuyter leaves (and Sirmon came on with the expectation that the DC job would be his after a year).


You also don't know that Sirmon himself will be here next year.
KoreAmBear
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ducky23 said:

KoreAmBear said:

okaydo said:

ayetee11 said:

The Louisville boards are excited about this.

Isn't that a bad thing?


Yah that's not good like that OC we got from Utah who was previously OC at Oregon. I think he was part of undefeated season and yet they weren't sad to see him go. Oregon fans were laughing. He was meh.


Anyone remember Steve Marshall. Can't say opposing fan bases didn't warn us about that one.

I think 9 times out of 10, opposing fan bases know what they're talking about.

Thankfully this guy is coming in as a lb coach, which I'm sure he will excel at
Now I remember -- Andy Ludwig or as Oregon fans called him, Dudwig.
NVBear78
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B.A. Bearacus said:

Was making 950K per year base salary as DC at Louisville. Gotta imagine he's taking steep drop in pay.


Is it possible that this was all negotiated? Louisville wanted him out as coordinate so we pick him up as assistant coach with Louisville on the hook for the difference for the duration of their contract with him?
B.A. Bearacus
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NVBear78 said:

B.A. Bearacus said:

Was making 950K per year base salary as DC at Louisville. Gotta imagine he's taking steep drop in pay.


Is it possible that this was all negotiated? Louisville wanted him out as coordinate so we pick him up as assistant coach with Louisville on the hook for the difference for the duration of their contract with him?

Had glossed over the fact that his title with the Bears includes "Assistant Head Coach." That probably allows his pay to be bumped up vs. just LB coach.

"According to Sirmon's contract, if he terminates the deal before its end date (Jan. 31, 2020), he owes Louisville $75,000 within 30 days of his final date of employment. Cal can now pay that fee." (Courier Journal)
philbert
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BearsWiin said:

ducky23 said:

So Is Sirmon the heir apparent when Deruyter leaves?
This hire suggests that DeRuyter won't be here after this next year. Too many resume-heavy high-dollar guys around. It's possible that Wilcox is trying to ease DeRuyter out, but I think it's more likely that they're on the same page, DeRuyter has told Wilcox that he wants another crack at some HC job, and Wilcox is getting his guy in to overlap one year with DeRuyter so that there's continuity when DeRuyter leaves (and Sirmon came on with the expectation that the DC job would be his after a year).
Although I think DeRuyter did well with the talent he was given, will the D create enough buzz to make him a HC candidate next year? Remember his tenure at Fresno did not end well at all. Tedford turning them around so quickly would also seem to look bad for him.
okaydo
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KoreAmBear said:

ducky23 said:

KoreAmBear said:

okaydo said:

ayetee11 said:

The Louisville boards are excited about this.

Isn't that a bad thing?


Yah that's not good like that OC we got from Utah who was previously OC at Oregon. I think he was part of undefeated season and yet they weren't sad to see him go. Oregon fans were laughing. He was meh.


Anyone remember Steve Marshall. Can't say opposing fan bases didn't warn us about that one.

I think 9 times out of 10, opposing fan bases know what they're talking about.

Thankfully this guy is coming in as a lb coach, which I'm sure he will excel at
Now I remember -- Andy Ludwig or as Oregon fans called him, Dudwig.

BearGoggles
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ducky23 said:

KoreAmBear said:

okaydo said:

ayetee11 said:

The Louisville boards are excited about this.

Isn't that a bad thing?


Yah that's not good like that OC we got from Utah who was previously OC at Oregon. I think he was part of undefeated season and yet they weren't sad to see him go. Oregon fans were laughing. He was meh.


Anyone remember Steve Marshall. Can't say opposing fan bases didn't warn us about that one.

I think 9 times out of 10, opposing fan bases know what they're talking about.

Thankfully this guy is coming in as a lb coach, which I'm sure he will excel at
That might be true if the coach is being hired for the same position. In this case, we're not hiring Srmon to be DC (I'd be concerned if we were). Seems like he's been a good lb coach at prior stops and, more importantly, a strong recruiter.

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