New WKU defensive coordinator Guidry says he’s in it for ‘long haul’

WKU Head coach Willie Taggart (left) and new defensive coordinator Lance Guidry discuss the past and the future of WKU football in a press conference Friday. The announcement officially introduced Guidry as the Toppers’ new DC.

Emily Patton

When Lance Guidry was introduced as WKU’s defensive coordinator Friday, his new job brought back some old memories.

Guidry was the defensive coordinator for McNeese State in 2002 when WKU won the Division 1-AA National Championship. Current WKU Head Coach Willie Taggart was a member of the Toppers’ coaching staff that season.

So Guidry said he knows about WKU’s history, and he knows where the program can go.

“It was a situation a lot like the one I just got out of where the program was trying to be rebuilt and trying to get back to the days of where it was before,” Guidry said at his introductory press conference Friday. “I’m really, really excited to be at a place where we feel like we’ve got a chance to win.”

Guidry coached the defensive backs at Miami (Ohio) for the last two seasons and served as interim head coach during the RedHawks’ 35-21 win over Middle Tennessee in the 2011 Bowl.

But what may have helped earn Guidry his job at WKU is his YouTube fame that came from the pregame speech before the bowl game.

In the speech caught on video, Guidry spoke to the Miami players about tradition before uttering the line that he said now follows him everywhere: “Let’s go get our damn trophy!”

Like the 97,000 viewers of the video, Taggart saw it too.

It persuaded him to give Guidry a phone call.

“Like everyone else, I’ve seen his video on YouTube and was like, ‘That’s what I’m looking for,'” Taggart said. “I saw that enthusiasm and brought him down here, and he didn’t let us down. It was a big-time interview.”

Guidry said he received the call moments before boarding a plane to a coaching convention, where he said he planned to search for his next coaching position.

“It’s really amazing how something can blow up like that. It’s got out of control,” Guidry said. “My son said, ‘Daddy, that’s not even one of your top-five speeches.'”

The move to the WKU football coaching staff is one that both Guidry and Taggart said they feel will be a simple transition because of his defensive plan.

Guidry said he plans to start out in a 4-3 defense, which former defensive coordinator Clint Bowen implemented last season, and then adjust into some other packages depending on the offenses WKU meets.

“I know you can’t be too complex, and you do what your guys can do,” Guidry said. “You start off in a 4-3 and work to your other packages because you’ll need them, too. I’ve learned over the years, and as a young coach I tried to do everything. Just growing up and learning as you go, sometimes more isn’t necessarily better.

“It all revolves back to playing assignment football and getting 11 guys to the football.”

WKU’s defensive coordinator position opened in December when Bowen resigned to accept the same job at North Texas.

Although Guidry’s new position has been one that has seen three defensive coordinators in three years, Taggart said this time, he made certain that his selection is in it for the “long haul.”

“Any successful program is successful because of continuity, and one of the first things we asked is whether or not he was looking at this as a pit stop,” Taggart said. “Because that’s not what we want. We want someone who really wanted to be here, and we felt like coach Guidry wanted to be here for the long haul.”

According to Deborah Wilkins, WKU’s chief of staff and general counsel, Guidry will make $110,004 as defensive coordinator for the Toppers.

“I’m not here looking for another job,” Guidry said. “What you see with me is what you get — very emotional, high-strung. I coach really hard, and when they make a play I’ll be more excited than they are. I’m excited to be here, and I’m here for the long haul.”

For more on Guidry’s hire, see Tuesday’s Herald.