COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes have officially named the last piece to their football coaching staff on Thursday with the announcement that Chris Ash will assume the role of co-Defensive Coordinator and Safeties Coach. The announcement was made official with a university-issued press release even though Ash's name had been linked to the Buckeyes for more than a week.
"We've competed against a Chris Ash defense before and I have respect for him as a coach," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in the statement. "I like the fact he has experience in the Big Ten Conference and that he is a great recruiter. He was highly recommended by everyone I spoke to."
Ash most recently served as the Defensive Coordinator at Arkansas for a season under Bret Bielema and coached under the former Wisconsin coach with the Badgers since 2010. Ash has Midwestern ties, born in Iowa and spending all but three years of his coaching career in the region.
"I was attracted to this position because it is Ohio State," Ash said, "and I had to wonder if I ever would have this opportunity again. This is one of the top five college football programs in the country. It has tremendous history and tradition, and it is a great academic institution.
"The opportunity to work for Coach Meyer and to learn as a part of his staff will absolutely enhance my knowledge of the game and my coaching experiences."
Ash was part of Wisconsin's run of three consecutive Rose Bowls and was credited for giving current Ohio State Offensive Coordinator Tom Herman fits when the two faced off with Ash at Wisconsin. The Buckeyes came out on top but the Badgers' defense clamped down on the Buckeyes. Ohio State was not alone in struggling against the Ash-led defenses however. Ash served as DC in 2011 and 2012 in Madison (Wis.) and during those two season the Badgers were ranked among the nation's elite in total defense, pass defense and scoring defense.
The Buckeyes will continue to run a 4-3 defense and that is something that Ash is very familiar with. He is responsible for a video series named Aggressive 4-3 Defense, something that Buckeyes fans will be excited to see installed into Ohio State's game plan.
"To me, to be successful, I think you have to be detailed," Ash said. "You have to be able to coach and teach the fundamentals of the game, and that's how you develop players. You have to have a consistency with how you prepare yourself so you can prepare them and then get them to play hard."
Meyer has stated on numerous occasions as well that he wants his coaches to be stars not only as coaches but as recruiters and Ash has held the title of Recruiting Coordinator at stops both at Iowa State and San Diego State.
"You can recruit anywhere in the country," Ash said. "You can recruit players that are talented, that have character and that believe education is very important. When you have all three of those attributes in players, then you can build upon this outstanding program."
Ash joins Larry Johnson as new coaches on the staff moving forward as the Buckeyes looked to replace Mike Vrabel (Houston Texans - LB Coach) and Everett Withers (James Madison - Head Coach).