The former California assistant is also known as a crack recruiter and his presence could affect the 2012 recruiting class.
The Washington Huskies completed their defensive coaching staff Monday with a hire that sent shock waves through the college football world, luring Tosh Lupoi away from California.
The 30-year-old Lupoi has been universally called one of the best recruiters in the Pac-12, if not the nation. But with Lupoi having grown up in the Bay Area and spending his entire playing and coaching career at Cal, it was thought he would be hard to pry loose from Berkeley.
The Huskies were ultimately able to win Lupoi over with what apparently will be a substantial raise, as well as the title of defensive run-game coordinator to go along with duties as defensive line coach.
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“Coach Lupoi is a terrific young coach and a dynamic recruiter,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said in a statement. “He will have an immediate impact with our team both on the field and in recruiting.”
Lupoi fills out UW’s five-man defensive coaching staff, which includes four new coaches — an overhaul that started in earnest with the firing of defensive coordinator Nick Holt and two others after a season in which Washington set records for points given up and yards allowed per game.
Washington previously hired Justin Wilcox away from Tennessee as its new coordinator, Peter Sirmon from Tennessee as linebackers coach and Keith Heyward from Oregon State as defensive backs coach. The lone holdover, Johnny Nansen, will shift to concentrating on special teams and recruiting coordinator duties.
All are regarded as standout recruiters, and some analysts immediately began saying UW’s new staff could be among the best in the conference heading into 2012.
“Getting him (Lupoi) to Washington is a humongous coup and will only help in their recruiting efforts,” said Adam Gorney, the West recruiting analyst for Rivals.com and Yahoo Sports.
Among those Lupoi had helped recruit to Cal was receiver/defensive back Cedric Dozier of Lakes High, one of several highly ranked prospects who appear headed out of state this year.
“He recruits our guys and has done a great job, and all of our guys have been very impressed with him,” Lakes coach Dave Miller said. “He’s young and energetic and very passionate about what he does and relates to the kids really well.”
Rivals.com named Lupoi its “Recruiter of the Year” in 2010.
Rumors had circulated for a week or so that Sarkisian had targeted Lupoi for UW’s staff. Sources said Lupoi said no on several occasions.
But one Cal recruit, safety Shaq Thompson of Grant High in Sacramento, Calif., told ESPN.com that Lupoi told him that UW eventually “gave him an offer that he couldn’t refuse.”
Some reports have Lupoi, said to be making $164,000 at Cal, receiving up to $500,000 at Washington.
School officials said contract details for all of the new assistants are not ready to be released.
Like the rest of the Pac-12, UW is flush with money from the conference’s new 12-year TV deal, which will mean an average of roughly $20 million more per year for each school. Washington State cited that money in its aggressive hire of new head coach Mike Leach.
Washington, meanwhile, is pouring the money into its defensive coaching staff, hoping to fix the side of the ball that was threatening to stall Sarkisian’s rebuilding process. The Huskies allowed a school-record 777 yards in a 67-56 loss to Baylor in the Alamo Bowl that proved the final straw in the decision to remake the defensive staff.
Along with being known as a standout recruiter, Lupoi earned plaudits for helping groom a Cal defensive line that helped the Bears rank No. 1 in the Pac-12 in 2011 in total defense, allowing 332.9 yards per game.
Lupoi played at Cal from 2000 to ’05 during a time when Wilcox was the Bears’ linebackers coach, helping forge a relationship that some said likely proved instrumental in helping bring Lupoi to UW.
Lupoi was reported to have immediately begun recruiting for UW, attempting to help the Huskies burnish a recruiting class that has been disappointing. It was ranked 45th nationally and eighth in the Pac-12 by Scout.com on Monday, and 46th nationally and eighth in the conference by Rivals.com.
Letter-of-intent day is Feb. 1, and analysts said the hiring of Lupoi would make UW one of the schools to watch to see if it can lure some of the players who had committed to Cal to come to Seattle, or simply win a few other battles. Thompson, for instance, committed to Cal two weekends ago but told several outlets Monday he would seriously consider UW now with Lupoi in Seattle.
“It could have hugely positive ramifications for Washington’s recruiting class this year with guys like Shaq Thompson and others and especially in years to come,” Gorney said.
• Washington will now have one assistant spot left to fill — offensive coordinator, as Doug Nussmeier is leaving for Alabama. Alabama had yet to officially announce the hiring of Nussmeier as of Monday afternoon.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.