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UH football, volleyball announce coaching hires

Brian Stewart
Brian StewartPhoto credit: UH Athletics

A coach with an impressive resume of NFL experience is joining the UH football program.

Houston Cougars head coach Kevin Sumlin announced Monday that Brian Stewart will take over as defensive coordinator. Stewart replaces Jeff Skladany, who became linebackers coach at Central Florida after UH decided not to retain him.


The selection of Stewart, who spent last season with the Philadelphia Eagles, was a bit of a surprise to those who are unaware of Sumlin’s tight-lip policy on hirings. Although candidates such as Pittsburgh Steelers defensive assistant Ray Horton and former Marshall head coach Mark Snyder were rumored as favorites, Stewart’s experience in the professional ranks could lead to an innovative defensive philosophy for the Cougars.


“We are excited about Brian joining the University of Houston as our new defensive coordinator,” Sumlin said. “His prior experience as defensive coordinator in the NFL and as a position coach at the collegiate level is exactly what we were looking for to elevate our defense to the next level.


“Brian brings a combination of experience and energy to our staff, which is what separated him from all the other candidates.”


Prior to joining the Eagles, Stewart served as the Dallas Cowboy’s defensive coordinator for two seasons. Under his watch, the Cowboys’ defense collected consecutive top-10 rankings in overall yards allowed and top-three rankings in sacks.


A league-high five defenders (DeMarcus Ware, Roy Williams, Greg Ellis, Ken Hamlin and Terence Newman) made the Pro Bowl during Stewart’s first year in Dallas (2007).


Stewart was the secondary coach for the San Diego Chargers from 2004-2006. In his final season on the West Coast, the Chargers collected a league-high 61 sacks.


Stewart is not new to Houston. The Houston Texans gave him his first NFL coaching job, as he served as an assistant defensive backs coach from 2002-2003.


As far as college experience goes, Stewart has plenty as a coach and player.


He has been an assistant coach at Cal Poly (1993-94), Northern Arizona (1995), Missouri (1996, 1999-2000), San Jose State (1997-98) and Syracuse (2001).


Before trading his cleats for a whistle, Stewart played as a cornerback and free safety at Santa Monica City College and Northern Arizona, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.



Volleyball names Ole Miss assistant head coach


Molly Alvey will tackle the job of following one of the UH volleyball program’s most winning coaches.


Athletic Director Mack Rhoades announced Monday that the University hired Alvey to the position of head volleyball coach.


Alvey, who becomes the fourth coach in program history, served as Ole Miss’ associate coach the last two seasons. She spent another three years as an assistant coach for the Rebels.


“Houston is a place that obviously has been very, very successful in the past and has the potential to be there again, from a recruiting standpoint, from the name that Houston volleyball has throughout the country and where Mack is ready to lead the athletics program,” Alvey said.


Under former head coach Bill Walton, who resigned in August, the Cougars went to the NCAA Tournament 11 times — including the 1994 Elite Eight. Walton also coached 14 20-win teams en route to recording a 458-319 record at UH.


Alvey, who helped Ole Miss reach the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and 2007, did a great deal of her recruiting for the Rebels in the state of Texas. This experience makes her feel confident in her ability to bring talent to Houston.


"With my recruiting experience at Ole Miss, half of our roster is from Texas and that's where I spend a lot of my time," Alvey said. "Being able to build a program in Texas, I have the roots and the recruiting contacts that I need. I definitely think it's a program and a University that I can bring good kids to.


"In addition, the talent that we currently have at Houston will give me the jump-start that I need to get the program where I would like."

MattMiller713@yahoo.com

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