Lance Guidry, who coached defensive backs at Miami (Ohio) the last two seasons and served as interim head coach for the RedHawks’ 35-21 win over Middle Tennessee in the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl, has been named WKU’s defensive coordinator, Head Coach Willie Taggart announced Friday. Guidry will be formally introduced at a 2:00 p.m. (central) press conference on Friday in the media room at Diddle Arena.
The bowl win enabled Miami to become the first school in Football Bowl Subdivision history to go from double-digit losses to double-digit wins in consecutive seasons as Miami posted a 10-4 record in 2010 after going 1-11 in 2009. Guidry received national acclaim for his passionate pre-game locker room speech prior to the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Miami finished 30th in the nation in the final 2010 Associated Press poll while leading the Mid-American Conference in pass efficiency defense, ranking second in rushing defense and sacks, and finishing third in total defense and scoring defense. The RedHawks also ranked 29th in the nation in total defense.
“When our defensive coordinator position opened up, I told people we were not going to settle for just anybody,” Head Coach Willie Taggart said. “We were going to make the best hire for WKU, and we were not going to rush things. After a very thorough process, there is no doubt Lance Guidry is the perfect person to be our new defensive coordinator. He is a winner and a proven leader who motivates people to do their very best. He has had an impact on young people everywhere he has been, and his impact on the Miami players and program speaks for itself. We are fortunate to have him, and I look forward to the positive influence he will have on our football team.”
Miami won the Mid-American Conference East Division in 2010 with a 7-1 record, then went on to win the MAC Championship on Dec. 3 over 23rd-ranked Northern Illinois, 26-21, at Detroit's Ford Field. Just one year before, in 2009, the RedHawks finished 1-7 in MAC play. The only other time a MAC team went from "worst to first" occurred in 1971 and '72 when last-place Kent State (0-5) captured the league title the following season (4-1).
“WKU is a program on the rise, they are going about building the program the right way, and I am very excited and proud to be their next defensive coordinator,” Guidry said. “I was very excited when Coach Taggart called and asked me to interview because he said he wanted someone with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and I feel those are two qualities I definitely bring forward. WKU reminds me a lot of Miami when we went there in 2009. We had to change the culture, because a lot of our guys had forgotten how to win. When you have an outstanding recruiting class like WKU just had with 11 three-star players, you are bringing in guys who are used to being successful. We have a lot of young, talented players coming into the system and the returning players will get better. It is a great time to be a Hilltopper.”
The RedHawks nine-game improvement from 2009 to 2010 tied Hawaii (0-12 in 1998 to 9-4 in 1999) and Stanford (1-7-1 in 1939 to 10-0 in 1940) for the greatest one-season improvement in wins in NCAA history.
“Lance Guidry is someone not comfortable with being static and views himself as simultaneously being a perpetual student and facilitator of human development,” said Miami (Ohio) Director of Athletics Brad Bates. “He is a better teacher! Lance truly understands the diversity of student perspectives and adapts his pedagogy to maximize student development. He is a better leader! Lance’s head coaching debut inspired not only our entire community but became a national sensation because of his passion, sincerity, intellect and creativity. He is an even better person! Western Kentucky is very fortunate to have Lance in a leadership position and we wish him and the Hilltoppers the very best.”
Guidry, a 1995 graduate of McNeese State (La.), joined the Miami staff after serving as the defensive secondary coach at McNeese State in 2008. A veteran coach in Louisiana football's high school ranks, Guidry served as secondary coach at Leesville High School in 1995 and 1996, helping lead the Wampus Cats to the state championship game in 1995. He also coached defensive backs at Carencro (La.) High School for three seasons (1997-99), then returned years later to serve as the Golden Bears' head coach (2005-07).
In between his stints at Carencro, Guidry served as defensive coordinator and coached the secondary at McNeese State (2000-04). The Cowboys reached the Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) playoffs in four consecutive seasons (2000-03), won three straight Southland Conference championships (2001, 2002, 2003) during that stretch, and lost to WKU in the 2002 FCS National Championship Game.
Guidry was also a team captain, four-year letterman (1990-93) and all-conference defensive back at McNeese State. He and his wife, Starlet, have four children: Janzen, Madison, Alexis and Kaitlyn. His son, Janzen, was rated as the nation’s No. 2 cornerback by Rivals.com in 2009 and is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee. Janzen earned second-team All-SEC honors at free safety in 2010.