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Wisconsin hires former USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch as safeties coach

Alex Grinch
Posted at 4:28 PM, Feb 01, 2024

MADISON (AP) — Former Southern California defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has resurfaced at Wisconsin as the Badgers' new safeties coach.

Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell announced the hire on Thursday. Grinch replaces Colin Hitschler, who left to join new Alabama coach Kalen DeBoer's staff.

"I'm thankful to have the opportunity to add Alex to our staff," Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell said Thursday in a statement announcing the hire. "Alex has phenomenal experience from across the college football landscape and I'm excited for the schematic, recruiting and coaching talents he'll bring to our defensive staff."

Grinch is a two-time semifinalist for the Frank Broyles Award given annually to college football's top assistant coach. He has been a defensive coordinator at Washington State (2015-17), Oklahoma (2019-21) and Southern California (2022-23). He also was Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach in 2018.

He got fired at USC with two games left in the 2023 regular season, one day after the Trojans allowed 572 yards in a 52-42 loss to eventual College Football Playoff runner-up Washington. A week before the loss to Washington, USC had allowed 527 yards in a 50-49 victory over California.

USC's 2022 defense intercepted 19 passes to rank third among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams as the Trojans led the nation in turnover margin.

"I'm thrilled to be joining Coach Fickell's staff at Wisconsin," Grinch said in a statement. "I've admired Coach Fickell's coaching and leadership style from afar for a while and I can't wait to enter a new era of Big Ten football on his staff at Wisconsin."