Jan. 4, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University Head Football Coach Paul Wulff announced Friday former Cougar secondary coach Chris Ball will return to the WSU sideline next season as part of Wulff's defensive staff.
This marks the third stint on the Cougar coaching staff for Ball, who served as a graduate assistant coach under Mike Price in 1989, then spent three seasons as WSU's secondary coach from 2000-02.
"It is great to have Chris and his family back in Pullman," said Wulff. "He gives us a veteran coach who has recent experience in the SEC and Big East Conference, not to mention his previous Pac-10 experience.
"Chris is highly-regarded throughout the coaching profession and has worked with a number of great players who have gone on to successful NFL careers."
Ball, 44, returns to Pullman after spending the 2007 season as secondary coach at the University of Pittsburgh under head coach Dave Wannstedt. During his only campaign the Panthers ranked fourth nationally in pass defense (167.3 ypg) and seventh in total defense (297.7 ypg).
Prior to that Ball served four seasons coaching the secondary at Alabama, having moved from Pullman when Price was named head coach at Alabama following the 2002 season. While at Alabama, Ball coached a Crimson Tide secondary that in 2004 led the nation in pass defense, allowing just 113.1 passing yards per game. That same year Alabama ranked second in pass efficiency defense.
The following season the Alabama secondary ranked fifth in both pass defense (160.8 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (97.8 rating), and the Crimson Tide ranked second nationally in total defense. In 2006 Ball oversaw the progress of free safety Roman Harper, who earned All-SEC honors and was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation's top defensive back. Harper now plays for the New Orleans Saints after being drafted by the team in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.
During his time at Alabama Ball coached four players who are currently on active NFL rosters: Harper, Anthony Madison (Pittsburgh), Charlie Peprah (Green Bay) and Ramzee Robinson (Detroit).
From 2000-02 Ball served under Price coaching WSU's defensive backs, mentoring such Cougar greats as Lamont Thompson, Jason David, Marcus Trufant and Erik Coleman. During his three seasons WSU's defense compiled 56 interceptions, including 26 during the 2001 campaign, which tied for second nationally. That season Thompson set a WSU single-season record and led the Pacific-10 Conference with 10 interceptions en route to All-America honors.
The following season Trufant earned First-Team All-Pac-10 and Second-Team All-America honors under the tutelage of Ball. Trufant, who last month was named to the NFL's Pro Bowl as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, was part of a secondary that includes three other current NFL players: David (New Orleans), Coleman (New York Jets) and Hamza Abdullah (Denver).
The St. Louis, Mo., native and 1981 graduate of Webster Grove High played football at Missouri Western State College and later served as a graduate assistant and defensive coordinator at his alma mater.
The 1985 All-American defensive back coached at both Northeast Missouri State (1986-87) and Akron (1987-88) before joining Price's staff in 1989. He coached at Coffeyville Community College (1990-94), Western Oregon State College (1995-96) and Missouri Western State (1997-98). Prior to joining the Cougar staff in 2000, Ball spent the 1999 season as defensive coordinator for Idaho State Head Coach Larry Lewis.
Ball and wife Tandi have a son, Brennan (14) and daughter Abigail (3).