College Sports

Sacramento State hires Paul Wulff as assistant head football coach

Washington State head coach Paul Wulff talks with a player.
Washington State head coach Paul Wulff talks with a player. The Associated Press

Sacramento State coach Jody Sears and Woodland native Paul Wulff go way back.

They were teammates at Washington State before coaching together at Eastern Washington and their alma mater, Wulff as the head man and Sears as his loyal assistant.

Now they have reunited, but with the roles reversed. Wulff, a former Davis High School standout, will be the Hornets’ assistant head coach, offensive-line coach and run game coordinator.

“We have a lot in common; obviously we’re good friends,” Sears said. “He is a wonderful person to work with. The person he is coincides with the expertise we are going to get from the football side of things. He was an awesome offensive-line coach, and he has a wonderful offensive mind.”

Wulff, who turns 49 Thursday, said he is happy to be back home.

We have a lot of common; obviously we’re good friends. He is a wonderful person to work with. The person he is coincides with the expertise we are going to get from the football side of things. He was an awesome offensive-line coach, and he has a wonderful offensive mind.

Sacramento State coach Jody Sears on Paul Wulff

“I’ve got two boys, ages 9 and 12, and wanted the opportunity to come back to family and friends,” Wulff said. “And Jody and I are as close as can be without being brothers. I want to help him move things along at Sac State. I’ve always thought that it could be a special place (where you could) do special things.”

They hope to do at Sac State what they helped do in their previous Big Sky Conference stint together. During his eight seasons at Eastern Washington, Wulff was 53-40 and the Eagles won two Big Sky Conference co-championships and advanced to the FCS playoffs three times. Wulff is a three-time Big Sky Coach of the Year.

Wulff was 9-40 during four seasons at Washington State before being fired in 2011. He then was an offensive assistant under Jim Harbaugh with the 49ers for two seasons, the offensive coordinator and offensive-line coach at South Florida in 2014 and an unpaid volunteer assistant at Iowa State for five games last season.

In Sears’ first season, the Hornets were 7-5 in 2014, but they dipped to 2-9 last season. Like Sears, Wulff always thought Sac State had the potential to be an FCS powerhouse.

“There’s phenomenal high school talent in the area and a phenomenal fan base that can support a powerhouse college football program,” Wulff said.

Sears has made several other changes, including giving up his defensive coordinator duties. Samuel Lawanson, the running backs coach the last two seasons and a defensive assistant at Tulsa from 2000 to 2003, will be the defensive coordinator. Former Cordova High School star James Montgomery moves from offensive assistant to running backs coach. And offensive-line coach Bill Laveroni left to coach his high school-aged son in Washington.

“Some of us were spread a little thin,” Sears said. “This gives us a little more balance and a chance to address some areas we’ve been weak in.”

Bill Paterson: 916-326-5506, @SacBee_BillP

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