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Stolz Shuffles Staff; McConnell Resigns

Times Staff Writer

Denny Stolz, San Diego State’s football coach, announced a shake-up of his coaching staff Wednesday that included the resignation of defensive coordinator Tim McConnell.

McConnell resigned to become offensive coordinator at Illinois State rather than accept a demotion to wide receiver coach.

Ed Schmidt, who has coached the offensive line for two seasons, will replace McConnell as defensive coordinator.

“I decided we had to make a change at defensive coordinator,” Stolz said. “I offered Tim the opportunity to remain with us, but he felt it was best for his career if he moved on.”

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The resignation of McConnell and promotion of Schmidt were two of seven changes Stolz made on his nine-man assistant coaching staff.

The other major move was the promotion of Dana Bible to offensive coordinator and tight end coach. Bible, 34, had served for two seasons as wide receiver coach but recently had taken on an increasingly important role in the offense.

Because of Bible’s appointment, Stolz said he will be free of some of the administrative duties involved with running the offense and will have more time to work with the defense.

“I haven’t had much time to spend with the defense the past two years,” Stolz said. “I’m going to get back to working more closely with both sides of the ball.”

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Stolz said he plans a total overhaul in light of the team’s 5-7 record and one of the worst defensive performances in school history.

SDSU allowed a school-record 428 points last season and finished near the bottom in almost every defensive category among the 104 NCAA Division I-A teams.

“We’re going to start at ground zero with our defense,” Stolz said. “We’re going to look at our defensive concepts, our personnel and our philosophy of playing defense in the Western Athletic Conference. We’re determined to improve.”

The Aztecs ranked 95th in scoring defense, allowing an average of 434.4 yards per game; 100th against the pass (249.5 yards per game); 70th against the run (184.9 yards per game), and 98th in scoring defense (35.7 points per game).

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Schmidt, 36, will take over a unit that is expected to return seven starters. He had been a defensive coach for nine seasons--including two as the coordinator at Montana State and two as a line coach at Bowling Green under Stolz--before he moved to the offensive line.

McConnell, 32, said he was encouraged by Stolz to remain but decided his career would be better served by accepting a job at Illinois State, a Division I-AA school in Normal, Ill.

“I want to be a head coach some day, and this will give me an opportunity to work on the offensive side again,” said McConnell, who was a receiver coach for two seasons at Bowling Green. “The hardest part about leaving is the players. I’ve developed some great friendships here.”

Bible will be replaced as wide receiver coach by Ron Mims, who had coached defensive backs for two seasons. Jon Hoke, who coached tight ends, will move to the secondary. He will continue to coach special teams.

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Dan Underwood and Mike Nelson will move from the defensive line to replace McConnell as linebacker coach. Underwood, who remains assistant head coach, will handle outside linebackers, and Nelson will coach inside linebackers.

Stolz said he will seek another coach to replace Schmidt to work with Ulima Afoa on the offensive line. Wayne Moses will remain running back coach.


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