Rolovich's Raiders: New Washington State Head Coach Adds 3 Wyoming Assistants to Defensive Staff

Tracy Ringolsby

LARAMIE -- During his time as the head coach at Hawaii, Nick Rolovich was known for a high-flying offense -- except the two times the Rainbows play the Wyoming Cowboys.

Coach Craig Bohl's defense held the Rainbows to an average 262.5 yards in those two games.

It obviously made an impression on Rolovich.

The newly-named head coach at Washington State, Rolovich has lured three of the Cowboys' defensive coaches to join him in Pullman, Wa. No official announcement of the hirings has been made.

However, Bohl announced in a release issued by the Wyoming athletic department on Sunday that "defensive coordinator Jake Dickert, defensive ends coach and co-special teams coordinator AJ Cooper and cornerbacks coach John Richardson will be seeking coaching opportunities with Washington State University."

And a source close to the three said they were finalizing deals with Washington State.


All three coached on Bohl's staff at North Dakota State before following him to Wyoming. Cooper and Richardson also played for Bohl at North Dakota State.

None of them have ties to Rolovich, but Rolovich did spend a season on the same Nevada staff as former Wyoming defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton. Hazelton left the Cowboys a year ago to become the defensive coordinator at Kansas State, and was replaced in the Cowboy defensive coordinator role by Dickert, who had been the Cowboys' safeties coach.

Rolovich was the offensive coordinator at Nevada from 2012-15. Hazelton was the Wolfpack defensive coodinator in 2013, and could have offered Rolovich insight on the three Wyoming assistants headed to join Rolovich's staff in Pullman.

The Cowboys have been known for their defense since the arrival of Bohl, who was a defensive coach during his days as an assistant at a series of schools, including his alma mater, Nebraska.

And getting the Washington State defense revamped will be a focus of the new coaching staff, which was hired after Wyoming native Mike Leach, known for his passion for offense, resigned to become the head coach at Mississippi State.

Last season, Washington State ranked 111th in Division I football, allowing 450 yards per game. The Cougars ranked 93th nationally, allowing 31.4 points per game, including 67 points in a loss to UCLA and 53 points in a win against Oregon State.