With the Jan. 3 announcement of Paul Williams as the new cornerbacks coach, Stanford head coach Troy Taylor has now officially finalized his coaching staff. FBS programs are allowed 10 on-field assistant coaches to be utilized at the head coach’s discretion.
Taylor’s staff is a distinct shift from his predecessor David Shaw’s. Tavita Pritchard ’09 is the lone holdover from the previous regime, but the former Cardinal quarterback has received a demotion. He now just holds the title of Kevin M. Hogan Quarterbacks Coach, where he previously was also the Andrew Luck Director of Offense under Shaw. Taylor will serve as offensive coordinator and call plays.
The first hire Taylor made was Klayton Adams as offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Adams arrives on the Farm after serving as the Indianapolis Colts’ tight ends coach for the past two seasons, and an assistant offensive line coach before that. The former Boise State center has college coaching experience at Colorado, San Jose State and Sacramento State. He held a range of positions at Colorado, including running backs and tight ends coach, offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator.
Taylor brought a pair of assistants with him from Sacramento State in running backs coach Malcolm Agnew and wide receivers coach Tyler Osborne. Agnew has only served as a position coach at the FCS-level, but saw impressive returns from his running backs at both Sacramento State and North Dakota. He played the position collegiately for both Oregon State and Southern Illinois. Osborne has been in the Pac-12 before as a student assistant and analyst at Oregon and a graduate assistant at Washington. He coached wide receivers for four years under Taylor in Sacramento.
Rounding out the offensive staff is tight ends coach Nate Byham. Byham has so far spent his entire coaching career at Albany, an FCS school. This past season, he held three titles: associate head coach, co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. For the seven seasons prior to that, he was the Great Danes’ tight ends coach and run game coordinator. Byham was an All-Big East tight end at Pittsburgh and played four years in the NFL after being a sixth round draft pick in 2010.
The defensive side of the coaching staff has a strong Wisconsin flavor. In his introductory press conference, Taylor said he would hire a defensive coordinator and give them complete control of that side of the ball, and it seems that he has kept his promise so far.
Bobby April was Taylor’s pick for the Willie Shaw Director of Defense, and he also will coach the outside linebackers. April comes over from Wisconsin where he had been the defensive run game coordinator since 2020 and the outside linebackers coach since 2018. He also has NFL experience having spent four years as a linebackers coach for the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.
“I’m beyond thrilled to announce Bobby April III as our new defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach here at Stanford,” Taylor said. “At Wisconsin, he and Jim Leonhard have consistently produced some of the top defenses in the nation. His reputation for recruiting and developing NFL talent is widely respected across the country. This is truly a great fit for Stanford. I can’t wait for him to get started.”
April brought over two of his fellow Wisconsin staff members with him: defensive line coach Ross Kolodziej and inside linebackers coach Mark D’Onofrio. Kolodziej played on the defensive line for the Badgers before embarking on a seven-year NFL career. He then served as a strength coach at both Pittsburgh and his alma mater, before becoming a d-line coach in 2021. D’Onofrio only spent one season at Wisconsin with April and Kolodziej, but he has extensive Power 5 experience. He has been a defensive coordinator at three schools — Temple, Miami and Houston — as well as a linebackers coach at Virginia and Rutgers. D’Onofrio was a star linebacker for Penn State in the late ’80s.
The Cardinal will have two coaches responsible for the secondary: Bob Gregory and Paul Williams. Gregory’s title is special teams coordinator and safeties coach, while Williams will oversee the cornerbacks. Gregory spent this past season as an analyst at Oregon, but was a key member of Chris Petersen’s staffs at both Boise State and Washington. He is also no stranger to the Bay Area, having been Cal’s defensive coordinator from 2002-2009. Williams spent the past three seasons at Wake Forest, and he has also coached defensive backs at a number of schools including Houston, Illinois, Miami and Temple.
Pete Alamar, who has been Stanford’s special teams coordinator for the past 11 seasons, will stay on as a special teams analyst. That is not an on-field coaching position. The strength & conditioning coach will be Ryan Deatrick, who comes over from Sacramento State with Taylor.
Now that the staff is fully in place, attention turns back to recruiting and filling out the 2023 roster. The Early National Signing Period is behind us, but high school seniors can still sign in February. Taylor has been hard at work in the transfer portal, already landing commitments from a pair of undergraduate transfers, a first for Stanford in the transfer portal era. Linebacker Gaethan Bernadel and running back Justin Williams-Thomas — from Florida International and Tennessee, respectively — are set to join the program. More transfers are being pursued by Taylor and co.