Editor’s note: Indiana has five new football coaches this year, including two new coordinators. In our five-part Meet the Coaches series, we’ll introduce them all to you, and in our second episode, we’ll meet new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Chad Wilt.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. –Chad Wilt’s football roots were planted in small-town Indiana as a two-time NAIA All-American defensive end at Taylor University in Upland. He was a coach’s son growing up and considers himself, his wife and three children an Indiana family. And now Wilt has the chance to represent the state as the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach for the Hoosiers.
During his introductory press conference on January 22, Wilt made some historical references in defining what coaching means to him.
“I really believe that coaching is teaching,” Wild said. “When you look up the word coach, it goes back to the 1500s and France and Hungary, literally to carry, to take, to carry.”
Wilt is trying to take Indiana’s defense to the next level, a job he has compared to a stagecoach that delivered someone from point A to point B in the Wild West. His coaching style also mirrors that of his father, who was the head coach of Wingate College and Taylor University, which is reflected in the way he builds relationships with players.
“My dad taught me as a coach that it’s never about the person, it’s always about the action,” Wilt said. “That you coach the action negatively, not the person negatively. Praise the person. Don’t coach the person negatively, coach the action negatively.”
Wilt has coached 10 bowling games for various schools, but his coaching career began at Central Connecticut State in 2001 as a defensive line coach and special teams coordinator.
Wilt then chose to pursue a master’s degree at Virginia, where he also took on a graduate assistant role. The sports management major says Virginia taught him to learn throughout life, and he now sees himself as a 22-year-old learner as he continues to challenge himself to improve as a coach.
After leaving Virginia, Wilt coached defensive linemen at seven different schools, including Liberty, Richmond, Ball State, Maryland, Army, Cincinnati and Minnesota. At Richmond, Wilt coached Martin Parker to All-American status in 2010, a player who went on to win Super Bowl XLVI with the New York Giants.
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Wilt coached three eventual 2016 NFL Draft picks at Maryland before leaving to coach for the Army. In 2018, Wilt guided the Army defense to the nation’s highest-ranked fourth-ranked conversion and conversion defense and the No. 8 total defense and scoring defense.
In Wilt’s only season in Cincinnati, the Bearcats ranked first in total defense, won the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl and finished No. 21 in the latest AP 25 poll. More recently, Wilt has coached defensive linemen at Minnesota for two seasons, which finished third in the nation in total defense in 2021.
And when looking for a new coaching role, Wilt said he couldn’t have asked for a better fit than head coach Tom Allen, whose character and belief system align well. with those of Wilt. Allen will call defensive plays for the Hoosiers in 2022 and said Wilt will serve as a right-hand man in meetings and a go-to person for organizational purposes, even during the game.
Wilt replaces Charlton Warren, who left Indiana to become North Carolina’s defensive co-coordinator. Wilt inherits a defense that allowed more points per game than any Big Ten team in 2021. Last year, Indiana’s defense ranked eighth in rushing yards and 11th in passing yards allowed per game.
Wilt will also be tasked with replacing an All-American-sized hole in the middle of defense as Micah McFadden entered the NFL Draft. Indiana added two linebackers in the transfer gate — UCLA’s Myles Jackson and Kentucky’s Jared Casey — to fill that void.
Linebacker Cam Jones and cornerback Tiawan Mullen return as the leaders of the Indiana defense. And while coaching at Minnesota, Wilt watched many Indiana defensive films.
“They play with passion,” Wilt said. “I always want to challenge this group to keep growing and take the next step. But you also see a group that is not afraid.”
In 2022, Wilt doesn’t want Indiana to play with a don’t break mentality. He wants his defense to attack. For Wilt, that means focusing on tackles for losses, sacks, pass breakups, interceptions and forced fumbles.
He is also thrilled to coach the freshmen who made up Indiana’s all-time top recruiting class in 2022, especially Dasan McCullough, who is Indiana’s highest-ranked recruit of all time. .
“We just have to take that and keep building it, shaping it, refining it, growing it,” Wild said. “And help them perform at or above their God-given abilities.”
Indiana Football Related Stories
- MEET WALT BELL: There have been a lot of changes to Indiana’s football coaching staff this offseason, with five new faces now part of the daily teaching routine. In part one of our ‘Meet The Coaches’ series, meet Walt Bell, the Hoosiers’ new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. CLICK HERE