Three assistant coaches left the Cal Poly football team in the months following the team's worst season in 53 years. On Tuesday, the school announced their replacements.
James Jones III will be the new defensive line coach, Matt Ta'ufo'ou will coach outside linebackers, and Kenneth McMillan will coach the fullbacks in the 2018 season.
The coaches will replace former defensive line coach Payam Saadat, former linebackers coach James Emma and former fullbacks/tight ends coach Eric Coleman. All three former coaches left for new positions — Saadat left to become defensive coordinator at Portland State, Coleman to become the offensive coordinator at Occidental College and Emma joined Cal Lutheran, his alma mater.
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Jones was the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Northern Colorado the past two seasons. He coached a Northern Colorado defense that finished 11th out of 13 teams in total defense the Big Sky Conference in 2017. Cal Poly finished seventh in the same category. Northern Colorado was the only team to shut out Cal Poly last season with a 42-0 win over the Mustangs on the final game of 2017.
“It’s great to be able to have a defensive coordinator from the Big Sky take our position as defensive line coach,” said Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh. “His experience will be extremely valuable both to our position players as well as support for (defensive coordinator) Josh Brown on the defensive side of the ball."
Walsh added that Jones' experience as a recruiter at San Jose State and time spent as a coach at Dartmouth will help with recruiting.
Ta’ufo’ou returns to the sidelines to coach the outside linebackers after five years working as a sales representative and bank operations manager for Finxera in San Mateo. Before that he was an inside linebackers coach at College of San Mateo and played linebacker at Iowa State for three seasons before graduating in 2012.
“Matt comes from four years as the linebacker coach at a very successful community college program,” Walsh said. “He has great ties in Northern California, which will help in recruiting, and I am excited to see his energy on the field."
McMillan was an offensive signal caller and video coordinator, among other things, at Cal Poly for the past five seasons.
“If anyone ever earned the opportunity to be an on the field as a Division I football coach, it is Kenny. What he has given to this program the past five years has been nothing short of spectacular,” Walsh said.
Spring football camp opens Wednesday and will conclude with the annual Spring Game on April 27.