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Memphis hires Ohio State coach Matt Barnes as defensive coordinator

During his three seasons in Columbus, Barnes helped the Buckeyes post an overall record of 31-4.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State secondary coach Matt Barnes was announced as the next defensive coordinator for the University of Memphis by head coach Ryan Silverfield on Monday.

"Matt Barnes is one of the brightest young defensive minds in college football," Memphis head coach Silverfield said. "He has served as an interim defensive coordinator at two Big 10 programs with great success. Matt is a fantastic teacher and we are excited for his family to join us here in Memphis."

Barnes spent the last three seasons with the Buckeyes. He served as the special teams coordinator for two seasons before moving to the secondary this past season.

Following the loss against Oregon in the second game of the season, head coach Ryan Day demoted defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs and put Barnes in charge of calling plays.

During his three seasons in Columbus, Barnes helped the Buckeyes post an overall record of 31-4.

"My family and I are so excited to be joining the Memphis football family," Barnes said. "We are so impressed with the culture that Coach Silverfield has built and what the city has to offer."

Barnes is the first member of the coaching staff to leave this offseason.

It was known at least one coach would be gone after Day announced the hiring of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State on Dec. 7.

Knowles was a finalist for the Broyles Award, which recognizes the nation’s top assistant coach, after the No. 9 Cowboys finished as the third best in the country in total defense (278.4 yards per game) and in the top 10 in several defensive categories.

The Oklahoma defense improved in each of Knowles’ four years as coordinator.

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