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Texas A&M Aggies To Hire Patrick Dougherty As Special Teams Coordinator

Patrick Dougherty spent two seasons under Mike Elko at Duke as the special teams coordinator.

Texas A&M is finalizing its coaching staff under first-year coach Mike Elko, and it seems to be making a significant change at one position. 

The Aggies are hiring Duke's special teams coordinator/tight end coach, Patrick Dougherty for the same role, according to 247Sports. 

Dougherty is set to become the fourth Blue Devils coached hired by Elko from his previous staff in Durham alongside Trooper Taylor (running backs), Adam Cushing (offensive line) and Ishmael Aristide (defensive backs)

A&M hasn't had a legitimate special teams coordinator since 2017, during the final season under Kevin Sumlin. During the six years of the Jimbo Fisher era, Eric Russell and Fisher often split duties on play concepts and roster construction. 

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Hired away from Ball State, Dougherty, 38, helped the Blue Devils become one of the top special teams units in the ACC. Last season, Duke finished second nationally in net punting average (43.51 yards) and 15th in punt return defense (3.0 average return yards allowed).

The Aggies must replace both return man Ainias Smith and punter Nik Constantinou heading into 2024. Smith, one of the top returners in program history, averaged 14.2 yards per return last season and scored a touchdown against Arkansas in the Southwest Classic. 

Constantinou, a former All-SEC punter, struggled during his final season in College Station, averaging a career-low 41.1 yards per punt. Kicker Randy Bond still has two years of eligibility remaining and should be a staple under Dougherty after drilling two kicks from over 50 yards. 

Elko, who went 18-9 during his two seasons with the Blue Devils, recently announced the hirings of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Collin Klein, defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Jay Bateman, and defensive line coach Sean Spencer. Taylor, Cushing, and Aristide were all expected to follow Elko from Durham down to College Station, as was recruiting general manager Derek Miller. 

A&M also hired former LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt to run the Aggies' strength and conditioning program. Moffitt spent over two decades in Baton Rouge and helped three coaching staffs win national titles while sending countless players to the NFL. 

The Aggies, who finished the 2023 season 7-6 following a 31-23 loss Wednesday evening in the TaxAct Texas Bowl against No. 20 Oklahoma State, open the 2024 season against Notre Dame at Kyle Field.