Fifth-Year Coach Maurice Crum Promoted to Defensive Coordinator
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -Western Kentucky Football has promoted Maurice Crum to defensive coordinator, head coach Tyson Helton announced Sunday morning.
Clayton White, the Hilltoppers defensive coordinator the previous four season, left The Hill to become the defensive coordinator at South Carolina
Crum is the longest-tenured full-time Hilltopper coach and entering his fifth season working with the linebacker position group. In 2020 he served as Co-Defensive Coordinator with White and served as Co-Special Teams Coordinator in 2018.
“I am elated to lead our defense,” Crum said. “I would like to thank Coach Helton for believing in me and Coach White for his guidance. To the players: Let’s get ready to play.”
In 2020, the WKU defense rank eighth in pass yards allowed (177.3), 28th in total yards allowed (348.7), and 41st in points allowed (25.3) per game. Primary linebackers Kyle Bailey and Eli Brown combined for 129 tackles, including 16.5 for loss with five sacks, two interceptions, and six quarterback hurries. The pair we also voted 202 Conference USA Honorable mention.
2019 saw a top 25 overall defense by WKU and had one of the best seasons defensively in recent memory. The Hilltoppers allowed just 20.1 total points per game, which was the lowest mark for the program since 2004 and ranked No. 22 in FBS.
That same season, Crum help Bailey make the transition from safety to linebacker and making an immediate splash. Bailey led the Tops with 109 tackles and three interceptions, He was one of just seven defenders to record at least 100 tackles and three picks in 2019.
Clay Davis also took a big step in 2019 under Crum. Davis finished with 20 tackles, three TFL’s, one sack, and a forced fumble. Davis had to sit out in 2018 due to NCAA transfer rules.
In 2018, Crum helped develop linebacker Ben Holt into a tackling machine. Holt would set WKU’s FBS Era record for tackles per game (9.67) with 116 tackles in 12 games. His 9.67 tackles per game ranked fourth in Conference USA while his 116 total tackles were the third-most in the league during the regular season.
Crum arrived on The Hill in 2017 and immediately had his work cut out for him as WKU had to replace two of the team’s three starting linebackers from the previous season. Junior Joel Iyiegbuniwe, the only returning starter exploded in 2017 under Crum’s direction. Iyiegbuniwe led the Hilltoppers with 116 tackles, the third-most in a single season in the FBS Era, along with 11.5 tackles for loss. He capped off 2017 by earning All-C-USA First Team honors. Iyiegbuniwe declared for the NFL a year eary and was selected 115th overall by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round.
Crum was a standout linebacker at Notre Dame from 2005-to-2008. During his playing career, Crum played in 50 games with 42 consecutive starts and registered 306 tackles, including 23 tackles for loss, with eight sacks. His 306 career tackles ranked 11th in Notre Dame history. A two-time team captain in 2007 and 2008, Crum was one of only 17 players in school history to accomplish that feat.
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