by staff–10 Jan ’17
University of Wyoming head football coach Craig Bohl officially announced on Tuesday the hiring of Scottie Hazelton as Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach for Cowboy Football.
Hazelton comes to Wyoming from the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL, where he was the assistant linebackers coach the past three seasons. He previously coached with Bohl for five seasons at North Dakota State from 2007-11 — the first three seasons as the Bison defensive line coach and the last two years as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. In his first season as NDSU’s defensive coordinator in 2010, the Bison made their first appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs, advancing to the quarterfinals. The next year in 2011, NDSU won its first FCS National Championship.
“Scottie Hazelton brings a great body of experience, having coached in the NFL, in the PAC-12 and the Mountain West,” said Bohl. “Most importantly, he was an architect of the start of our great defenses that we had at North Dakota State.
“Scottie and I have a long history together. We’re excited about welcoming him, Brooke and their family to Wyoming. He hails from Brighton, (Colo.), so he is very familiar with this area. Scottie will add a great deal of vision coordinating our defense — a defense he has many years of experience in running.”
“I’m so excited to become a Cowboy,” said Hazelton. “Even though I’ve never lived in Wyoming, it feels like I’m coming home because of the history I have with Craig (Bohl) and his staff. I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to help continue the tradition and culture of Cowboy Football. I’m anxious to get started. Go Pokes!”
For the last three seasons, Hazelton has served as the assistant linebackers coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL. In the 2016 season, the Jaguars ranked sixth out of the 32 NFL teams in total defense, allowing opponents only 321.7 yards per game. The Jacksonville defense also ranked No. 5 in pass defense, giving up only 215.2 yards per game. Hazelton worked with linebacker Paul Posluszny, who in 2016 ranked No. 8 among all NFL players in total tackles, with 133 and in 2015 ranked No. 2 in the NFL in tackles per game, averaging 9.5. Another Jaguar linebacker that Hazelton assisted coaching was Telvin Smith, who tied for 16th in the NFL in tackles in 2016, with 118, and tied for sixth in the NFL in 2015, with 128 tackles.
Prior to earning the opportunity to coach in the NFL, Hazelton coached 18 seasons at the college level. He served as the defensive coordinator at Mountain West member Nevada in 2013. Hazelton was the linebackers coach at USC in 2012 on a team that earned a Sun Bowl berth versus Georgia Tech.
Hazelton was part of Bohl’s staff at North Dakota State for the 2007-11 seasons. His final two seasons with the Bison, Hazelton served as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. His first season as defensive coordinator in 2010, NDSU’s defense ranked No. 7 nationally in both scoring defense (allowing only 18.21 points per game) and turnover margin (+1.07 per game), was 15th in pass efficiency defense (105.7 rating) and ranked 19th in sacks (2.57 per game).
In 2011, the Bison defense ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense (allowing only 12.73 points per game), was No. 8 in turnover margin (+1.20 per game), ranked 17th in rushing defense (118.73 yards per game), was 19th in sacks (2.67 per game) and was 20th in total defense (315.93 yards per game).
He was the defensive line coach for NDSU from 2007-09. In 2008, North Dakota State led the FCS in pass defense (116.82 yards per game), ranked second in sacks (3.36 per game), fifth in total defense (254.0 yards per game), fifth in tackles for loss (8.55 per game) and 19th in scoring defense (19.18 points per game allowed).
Hazelton’s coaching career began in 1996 at his alma mater, Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. He was the defensive backs coach at Fort Lewis from 1996-99 and was the interim defensive coordinator in 1998. He served his first stint at North Dakota State from 2000-01 as a defensive graduate assistant coach. He moved on to a full-time coaching position at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., in 2002 and ‘03, serving as the defensive backfield coach. Hazelton was hired next at Missouri Southern in Joplin, Mo., for the 2004 and ‘05 seasons where he was the defensive coordinator. In 2006, he became the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Michigan Tech in Houghton, Mich., for one season before returning to North Dakota State in 2007.