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Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox's Six Degrees of Separation

Tyler Hawkins |
October 7, 2015 | 5:15 p.m. PDT


USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was a defensive back at the University of Oregon from 1996 to 1999 when he first crossed paths with current Washington Huskies Head Coach Chris Peterson. Peterson was the Ducks wide receivers coach from 1995 to 2000. 

Once his playing days were over with the Ducks, Wilcox took a graduate assistant job at Boise State under then head coach Dan Hawkins. Peterson was already there, and was the Broncos offensive coordinator from 2001 until 2005.

Wilcox left BSU for Cal, coaching linebackers under Jeff Tedford from 2003 to 2005. His next move was back to Boise, where he was hired for his first defensive coordinator position when Peterson took over the program in 2006. Together they won the 2007 Fiesta Bowl over the Oklahoma Sooners 43-42.

After wrapping up three successful years at BSU, Wilcox headed south to the University of Tennessee, where he held the same position under first-year head coach Derek Dooley. 

In 2012, Steve Sarkisian, then the newly appointed Washington head coach, lured Wilcox back to the west coast offering him the same title he held in the volunteer state. Two years later Sarkisian left his post in Seattle, and once again Wilcox was on the move. This time to Southern California. 

Don’t expect this Thursday’s game at The Coliseum to be a family reunion between Wilcox and Peterson. For Wilcox, Thursday’s game isn’t about his history with Peterson. Those days have passed, and in the world of college football, coaches are constantly on the move. Right now, he’s committed to improving the USC defense in his second year as a member of the Trojans. 

You can reach Contributor Tyler Hawkins here.



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