Gophers cornerbacks coach Paul Haynes has been promoted to co-defensive coordinator, coach P.J. Fleck announced Friday.
Haynes, who has been on the Gophers staff since February of 2020, helped Minnesota's defense finish third nationally in total defense in 2021 with an average of 278.8 yards allowed per game, tied for sixth in scoring defense at 17.3 points and eighth in rushing defense at 97.5 yards. He'll continue to coach the Gophers cornerbacks.
"Paul is a tremendous coach and is respected universally throughout college football,'' Fleck said in a statement. "He is one of the brightest defensive minds in the game and played a huge role in why our defense was able to execute at an extremely high level last season. … He makes our team and our coaching staff better every day on and off the field. I'm excited for him to have an elevated role in leading our program.''
Joe Rossi, who received a contract extension through the 2023 season in December, remains the Gophers defensive coordinator.
Two of Haynes' cornerbacks for the Gophers had standout seasons in 2021. Senior Coney Durr made 40 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Justin Walley was named freshman All-America by 247Sports after making 29 tackles, breaking up seven passes, recovering two fumbles and intercepting one pass.
In 2020, Haynes helped cornerback Benjamin St-Juste develop into a third-round draft pick by Washington in 2021.
Haynes was Kent State's head coach from 2013-17 and joined Minnesota's staff after three seasons as Michigan State's defensive backs coach. He was defensive coordinator at Arkansas in 2012 and was co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2011.