It doesn’t look like anyone saw this hire coming. Bo Pelini announced that he was resigning as the Head Coach of Youngstown State to become the defensive coordinator at LSU. After that, rumors started circulating that either Carl Pelini, Mark Brungard, Akron Hoban coach Tim Tyrell or possibly, but not likely, Bob Stoops were going to get the job. This was just like Andy Benard getting the Regional Manager job in season eight of the Office, which no one expected. 21WFMJ director Dana Balash reported that YSU was hiring Cincinnati Bearcats running back coach Doug Phillips. YSU made the announcement official on its social media page several hours later.
YSU Hires Doug Phillips as Head Coach
Last year, the Cincinnati Bearcats finished with a record of 11-3 and 7-1 in the American. They finished the season ranked 21st, just missing the top 20. Two of their losses were back to back against Memphis (last loss being in the AAC championship). Michael Warren II finished tied for 22nd in FBS rushing. Warren had 1,265 yards on 261 carries, averaging just under five yards per carry and 14 touchdowns. Warren II was tied for 16th.
The Bearcats dominated the Boston College Eagles in the TicketMaster Birmingham Bowl, with Phillips’ running back Warren rushing over 100 yards. His other running back, freshman Ryan Montgomery, had seven carries for 47 yards and a touchdown in the 38-6 win.
Cincinnati will have to replace Phillips and find a guy to build off of what he did last season. He was also the tight ends and special teams coach in 2017.
Phillips’ Past Assignments
YSU and Doug Phillips have familiarity with each other. Phillips has experience in the Mahoning and Trumbell county areas. He previously coached for the Penguins as a graduate assistant in 1991 and 1992 under now president Jim Tressel.
He was also on the 2006 Ohio State staff with Tressel and Luke Fickell. That team went 12-0 in the regular season before losing to the Florida Gators in the National Championship.
Before his one year coaching as a Buckeye, Phillips was the head coach for the Springfield Tigers (1997-2000) and the Salem Quakers (2001-2005), turning around both struggling programs. He coached 15 years at the high school level. Finally, Phillips finished his last two years at Salem (2004-2005) with a record of 13-7.
After Ohio State, Phillips joined the Bowling Green Falcons staff in 2007 as a recruiting coordinator. He then was superintendent at West Branch in 2015. Phillips contacted 21 sports director Dana Balash Friday morning. He said that he is excited to get ready to be back in the Valley and serve as head coach.
Now, Phillips will look to bring back hardcore winning football to the campus of Youngstown State. However, the challenge can honestly be tougher than playing in the AAC. Apart from this, Phillips will also have to find another star defensive end for the 2020 season.
Justus Reed Enters Transfer Portal
A week after Pelini announced he was leaving, Justus Reed followed up with a statement on Twitter thanking the Penguin program, but that he would enter the Transfer Portal for the 2020 season.
Reed has already transferred one time. In 2017, he was with the Florida Gators under head coaches Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain. He saw limited action from 2014-2016, but still had his share of tackles and quarterback hurries.
In his three seasons at Youngstown State, Reed finished with 58 total tackles, 17.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. In 2019, he tied the Missouri Valley with 13 sacks. This was a big comeback season after being out for the whole 2018 season with injuries.
Sports Illustrated and Saturday Down South report two schools that are trying to recruit Reed. The first is Virginia Tech. Reed stated in the article that he has not visited any schools yet, but that they were in contact with each other. The next college is LSU, and this is no shocker. Reed can get a starting position under coach Ed Orgeron and Pelini’s new 4-3 defense.
Pelini and Reed have known each other for three years, so having someone with SEC experience and experience at playing in arguably the toughest FCS conference can be beneficial to LSU. There have not been any other reports on who else can be interested in Reed. A Bo, Donald D’Alesio and Reed reunion would be great.
A new decade means a new change in scenery. This is what YSU needed heading into the 2020 season. After the 2019 season, fans wanted Pelini gone, but most thought he would stay because of the contract. Now, the Penguins and Phillips are getting ready for the spring game. Then, once August hits, its go time. For Pelini, we will see what the 4-3 defense does with this LSU program that is dramatically different than when he was last there. Let’s see if these two Youngstown Boys can win championships. YSU’s first since 1997 and LSU going back to back.