Lou West, defensive backfield coach at Virginia Tech the last four seasons, is in his first season on the Notre Dame staff and will again work with the secondary.
West's '98 Virginia Tech secondary qualified as one of the best in the country, ranking 11th nationally in pass efficiency defense (103.4 rating points) and helping the Hokies finish fourth nationally in scoring defense (12.9 points per game) and seventh in total defense (284.9 yards per game). Virginia Tech led the BIG EAST in all four major defensive statistical categories in 1998.
The Hokies ranked second in the nation in interceptions in '98 with 23, leading the BIG EAST in that category and adding three more interceptions in their Music City Bowl win over Alabama.
West's pass defense also helped the Hokies rank nationally in several categories in '95 - 10th in total defense (285.9), fifth in scoring defense (14.1) and first in rushing defense (77.4) while leading the BIG EAST in each column.
He worked with Tech teams that finished 9-3 in '98 and ranked 23rd (one slot behind Notre Dame) in the final Associated Press poll (19th in the USA Today/ESPN poll), and 10-2 in '96 (13th AP, 12th USA Today/CNN) and '95 (10th AP, ninth USA Today/CNN). Two of his '98 seniors - cornerback Loren Johnson and safety Pierson Prioleau - earned first-team all-BIG EAST honors, with Prioleau earning that distinction for the second straight year. Three other players during West's four seasons earned second-team all-BIG EAST designation.
Two of his Tech charges - Torrian Gray and Antonio Banks - were selected in the first four rounds of the 1997 National Football League draft, both by Minnesota, and were with the Vikings in '98. Prioleau was a fourth-round pick by San Francisco in '99.
West helped the Hokies to postseason bowl appearances each of his four seasons in Blacksburg - coming on the heels of BIG EAST co-championships each of his first two seasons there in '95 and '96. Virginia Tech earned a Sugar Bowl invitation to play Texas (Tech won 28-10) in 1995, then followed that up with appearances in the Orange Bowl in '96 against Nebraska, the Gator Bowl in '97 vs. North Carolina and the Music City Bowl in '98 vs. Alabama (a 38-7 Tech win).
West previously spent one season as secondary coach at Kent State in 1994 - and six seasons at Cincinnati (1988-93) where he coached defensive backs, outside linebackers and tight ends for his alma mater. During the '93 season, he coached defensive backs Chris Hewitt and Sam Garns who in '98 were starters for the NFL New Orleans Saints and New York Giants, respectively.
The Washington, Pa., native also spent two seasons (1986-87) as secondary coach at Kansas and two at Western Michigan (1984-85) as defensive back and outside linebacker coach (working with current Irish defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, then the Western Michigan defensive coordinator). He served one season at Minnesota (1983) as secondary coach and two at Middle Tennessee State (1981-82) as secondary coach.
His initial position was as a graduate assistant at Arizona in 1977, followed by two seasons (1979-80) as defensive backfield coach and intramurals director at Arizona Western Junior College in Yuma, Ariz. Arizona Western participated in the Beef Empire Bowl vs. Coffeyville following the '80 campaign.
After growing up in Niles, Ohio, West graduated from Niles-McKinley High School, then enrolled at the University of Cincinnati where he played as a defensive back (1973-76, including in the Blue-Gray Classic and North-South Shrine Bowl following the '76 campaign) prior to his 1977 graduation. He earned three letters (1974-75-76), had four career interceptions and six career fumble recoveries. He earned a master's degree from the University of Arizona in 1980.
Born Dec. 29, 1953, West and his wife Gail are parents of three children - Andre (a sophomore at Western Kentucky), Adrian and Alexandria.
The Lou West Coaching File
Year School Assignment 1977 Arizona Graduate Assistant
1979 Arizona Western Junior College Defensive Backs 1980 Arizona Western Junior College Defensive Backs
1981 Middle Tennessee State Defensive Backs 1982 Middle Tennessee State Defensive Backs
1983 Minnesota Defensive Backs
1984 Western Michigan Defensive Backs, Outside Linebackers 1985 Western Michigan Defensive Backs, Outside Linebackers
1986 Kansas Defensive Backs 1987 Kansas Defensive Backs
1988 Cincinnati Defensive Backs 1989 Cincinnati Outside Linebackers 1990 Cincinnati Outside Linebackers 1991 Cincinnati Outside Linebackers 1992 Cincinnati Tight Ends 1993 Cincinnati (8-3) Defensive Backs
1994 Kent State Defensive Backs
1995 Virginia Tech (10-2, Sugar Bowl) Defensive Backs 1996 Virginia Tech (10-2, Orange Bowl) Defensive Backs 1997 Virginia Tech (7-5, Gator Bowl) Defensive Backs 1998 Virginia Tech (9-3, Music City Bowl) Defensive Backs