Prince announces coaching staff changes

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State named Wesley McGriff defensive backs coach and promoted Tim Tibesar to defensive coordinator Wednesday, head football coach Ron Prince announced.

McGriff and Tibesar will assume duties previously held by Raheem Morris, who recently accepted an offer to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the organization’s defensive backs coach. Morris held several coaching positions with the Bucs from 2002-05 and served as an assistant defensive backs coach at Tampa Bay just prior to accepting the position of defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at K-State.

"We are pleased to announce the addition of Wesley McGriff and the promotion of Tim Tibesar,” Prince said. “Coach McGriff brings tremendous experience and personal energy to our football organization. His knowledge of the game and specifically the Big 12 conference will be a real asset. He is a teacher, a terrific evaluator of talent and a man of integrity.

“We are thrilled with the job coach Tibesar has done as our special teams coach this past season,” Prince continued. “He is a seasoned defensive coordinator who built some of the nation’s top defenses during his time at the University of North Dakota and I can’t think of anyone else I would entrust our defense more to than Tim. I am excited about working with him in this new role.”

Considered one of the Big 12’s top recruiters, McGriff comes to K-State from Baylor, where he served as the Bears’ recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach under Guy Morriss for the past four seasons.

An extremely versatile coach, McGriff has mentored student-athletes on both sides of the ball during his 17-year career, including two stints as a defensive coordinator.

McGriff will have plenty to work with when he arrives at K-State as the Wildcat secondary is expected to return a number of players with starting experience, including second team All-Big 12 safety Marcus Watts, safety Andrew Erker and cornerbacks Justin McKinney, Bryan Baldwin, Joshua Moore and Byron Garvin. K-State also added one of the nation’s top junior college defensive backs in NJCAA All-American Gary Chandler from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College during the early signing period in December.

Prior to beginning his stint at Baylor in 2003, McGriff spent two seasons on Morriss’ Kentucky staff, coaching the running backs during the 2001 season before returning to the defensive side of the ball as UK's cornerbacks coach for 2002.

McGriff spent the 2000 campaign just a few miles from Lexington as the secondary coach at Eastern Kentucky, where he mentored Yeremiah Bell, a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick who went on to be drafted by the NFL's Miami Dolphins. The 2000 Colonels ranked fourth nationally in total defense, fifth in scoring defense and ninth in passing yardage allowed and posted four shutouts during the season.

From 1995 through 1999, McGriff served as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Kentucky State, where his defenses posted numerous top-10 statistical rankings, including leading the nation in total defense in 1995 and pass yardage defense in 1997. In 1998, he was named the American Football Coaches Association's NCAA Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year.

McGriff began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater, Savannah [Ga.] State, where he coached the Tigers' running backs in 1990 before moving into a full-time role as secondary coach in 1991-92. He then served as Savannah State’s defensive coordinator in 1993-94.

A native of Tifton, Ga., McGriff played on the college level at South Carolina State for one year before transferring to Savannah State, where he started at outside linebacker for three seasons and was named SSC's 1989 Male Academic Athlete of the Year. He received his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Savannah State in 1990 and in 1993 earned a master's in public administration from Georgia Southern.

An exciting young coach who was one of the top defensive coordinators in Division II prior to joining Prince’s Kansas State staff on Dec. 22, 2005, Tibesar built K-State’s special teams units into some of the best in the country during his first season with the Wildcats in 2006.

Kansas State scored more special teams touchdowns seven than any team in the nation during 2006, leading the country with a school-record three TDs on kickoff returns, ranking second nationally with three TDs on punt returns and returning a fumbled kickoff return for another score.

In the return rankings, Kansas State ranked No. 1 in kickoff returns and No. 16 in punt returns, while ranking no. 18 in kickoff-return defense. The Wildcats also blocked three punts during 2006.

Individually, senior Yamon Figurs ranked fifth nationally in average punt return yardage, while junior Tim Reyer finished the season with a 42.1 yard-per-punt average to rank 30th in the country in punting. K-State also had four different players average at least 24 yards per kickoff return which would rank in the top 35 nationally though none had enough returns to qualify under the NCAA’s minimum-number-of-returns standard.

Prior to his arrival at Kansas State, Tibesar constructed one of the stingiest defenses in all of Division II as the defensive coordinator at North Dakota. He returned to his alma mater in 2001 as the program’s inside linebackers coach and mentored a pair of North Central Conference Most Valuable Linebackers - Digger Anderson in 2005 and Travis O’Neel in 2001.

In 2003 he was promoted to defensive coordinator and proceeded to assemble a unit that ranked first in the North Central Conference in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense and quarterback sacks over the next two seasons.

North Dakota was also consistently ranked among the national leaders defensively during Tibesar’s tenure and in 2004 led all of Division II in scoring defense, yielding just 10.8 points per game.

Tibesar joined the staff at North Dakota after spending one season as tight ends coach at Cornell in 2000. Prior to that, he served as a graduate assistant and assistant offensive line coach at the University of California in 1999, a linebacker coach at Grossmont (Calif.) College in 1998 and a student assistant at San Diego State from 1997-98.

A standout linebacker at UND from 1993 to 1996, Tibesar served as a team captain for the Fighting Sioux in 1995 and 1996. A three-time All-NCC performer and the NCC’s Most Valuable Linebacker in 1996, Tibesar earned multiple first team All-America honors in 1996 and was named a Football Gazette third team All-American in 1995. He was also a three-time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American (1994, 1995, 1996) and received a 1996 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholarship Award.

In 1996, Tibesar received the Stan Marshall Award as the NCC Male Athlete of the Year. The following spring he was recognized as the 1996-97 Midwest Sports Channel Division II Male Athlete of the Year as well as the 1996-97 Ramsey County Athlete of the Year.

During his playing career, Tibesar helped North Dakota to NCC titles and NCAA Division II playoff appearances in 1993, 1994 and 1995 as UND posted a 36-11 record during his four-years in the program.

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Tibesar graduated summa cum laude from UND with a 4.0 grade point average in business economics. In 1998, he earned a master’s in business administration from San Diego State.

Tibersar’s duties as K-State’s special teams coordinator will be assumed by Matt Wallerstedt, who will continue to serve as the Wildcats’ linebackers coach, according to Prince. Wallerstedt coordinated special teams during his tenure at Akron from 2004-05 in addition to serving as the Zips’ assistant head coach and linebackers coach.

Prince also confirmed Wednesday that running backs coach Tim Horton has accepted an offer to return to Air Force to become the Falcons’ offensive coordinator and that wide receivers coach Pat Washington had accepted a coaching position at Mississippi State.

“Coach Horton did a fantastic job for our organization,” Prince said. “His selection as offensive coordinator at Air Force is a fitting promotion for a man who has excelled at every level of the college game.

“We appreciate all that coach Washington has done in his time at Kansas State. He expressed a desire to work again with (MSU offensive coordinator) Woody McCorvey, who he previously worked with at Tennessee, and we wish him the best of luck in his new position.”

Prince said that a nationwide search for their replacements was already underway.