In a bit of a shock on Tuesday morning, Miami Athletics announced that Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line coach Jess Simpson had resigned to take a job in the NFL. And, UM also announced his replacement: 33 year coaching veteran Todd Stroud, who will fill both the Assistant HC and DL coach roles.
Here’s the press release on this move from Miami Athletics:
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami football program has hired veteran college football coach Todd Stroud as its Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line, head coach Manny Diaz announced Tuesday.
Stroud, who has coached at nine schools over his 33-year coaching career, replaces Jess Simpson, who resigned to take a coaching position with a National Football League team.
“We are excited to welcome Todd to The U,” Diaz said. “As we have built this staff we have emphasized continuity on the defensive side of the ball. Todd is a high energy teacher and motivator whose defensive philosophy aligns perfectly with ours. He knows exactly what a Miami defense looks like up front – from the weight room to the film room to the playing field.
“Todd’s varied background as a head coach, coordinator, position coach, strength coach and recruiter also gives him a unique, overarching perspective. We are fortunate to have someone with his knowledge, experience and character join our program.”
Stroud most recently served as associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Akron, where he spent the past seven seasons. Throughout his career, Stroud has tutored numerous NFL Draft picks and developed nationwide recruiting ties. During the 2006 NFL Draft, three of Stroud’s North Carolina State defensive linemen were first-round selections, including top overall pick Mario Williams by the Houston Texans. He was the head coach at West Alabama from 1994-96.
In 2018, the Zips’ defense ranked third in the Mid-American Conference in third-down defense, third in passing efficiency defense and forced 21 turnovers, including two pick-sixes in a 39-34 win at eventual Big Ten West champion Northwestern – Akron’s first win over a Big Ten opponent since 1894. The Zips improved from 91stin yards per play to 36th nationally, and from 66th in yards per pass attempt to 21st in the country.
In 2017, as Akron’s assistant head coach, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, Stroud helped the Zips advance to the MAC Championship Game for only the second time in school history. Akron finished seventh in the nation in interceptions (19), and ranked eighth in defensive touchdowns and 19th in turnover margin.
In 2015, Akron’s rushing defense led the MAC and ranked third nationally, yielding just 92.9 yards per game. In 2014, the Zips ranked in the Top 40 nationally in eight defensive categories, while the defensive line racked up 194 tackles, 13 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss. Akron’s 2013 defensive line amassed 21 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss.
Prior to his stint at Akron, Stroud coached two seasons at Colorado State. He coached tight ends and fullbacks in 2010 in addition to serving as recruiting coordinator. In 2011, Stroud shifted to defensive line coach. From 2007-09, Stroud was the head strength and conditioning coach at his alma mater, Florida State.
That followed an eight-year run at N.C. State, first as director of strength and conditioning from 1999-2004, and then as associate head coach/defensive line from 2004-06. In 2004, Stroud helped the Wolfpack allow just 221.4 yards per game and 102.4 rushing yards per game, both of which rank second in school history. In 2005, Williams set single-season school records in both sacks (14.5) and tackles for loss (27.5). Williams (Texans), Manny Lawson (San Francisco 49ers) and John McCargo (Buffalo Bills) were all selected in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Stroud was the head strength and conditioning coach at Memphis (1997-99) prior to his three-year head coaching stint at West Alabama. In 1993, as the head strength and conditioning coach at Auburn, Stroud helped the Tigers to an 11-0 regular season, which earned them a No. 4 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. Stroud was the defensive line and strength and conditioning coach at Samford from 1987-93. He got his start in coaching in 1986 as the defensive line coach at UCF and then a weight room assistant at Florida State.
Stroud played nose guard for the Seminoles from 1983-85 and was team captain his senior season. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Florida State and a master’s degree in athletics administration from UAB. He and his wife, Marianne, have four children.
This is obviously a big move, as Simpson helped the Miami DL develop and perform as one of the best teams in America in his one year with the Canes. He has worked in the NFL before, and went back to that level of coaching again.
Stroud, an FSU alum, has a wealth of coaching experience and success at multiple stops as well. If he can continue what Simpson and Craig Kuligowski started with Miami’s DL, then the Canes’ D should be in a great spot. The biggest question, to me, is recruiting, as Miami had leaned heavily on Simpson’s connections throughout the Southeast to offer and sign recruits in the last 2 classes.
We wish Jess Simpson all the best as he moves back to the NFL level.