Given how quiet things were surrounding the search, it only makes sense that a name we've never heard mentioned in connection to Oklahoma's final coaching vacancy would wind up getting the job.
That name is former Auburn assistant Jay Boulware who Oklahoma announced as their new tight ends and special teams coach. And we say 'former Auburn assistant' because Boulware is actually coming from Wisconsin, but was only there long enough for about a cup of coffee. He was introduced in Madison on January 11th and now less than two months later has accepted a job in Norman. His time in Madison was so brief in fact that it was omitted entirely from his coaching bio.
Here is the official release from OU and Bob Stoops:
University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops announced Friday that Jay Boulware has joined the OU Football staff. He will coach tight ends and will also have special teams duties to be further defined at a later date. Boulware spent the last four seasons at Auburn as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, where he helped the Tigers to an undefeated 2010 campaign and a victory in the 2011 BCS Championship Game.
"Jay owns an impressive track record as both a coach and recruiter," Stoops said. "He possesses a wide range of coaching experience, competing in some of the nation's toughest conferences. He also has strong ties in the state of Texas, as well as recruiting relationships across the country that will serve us well at the University of Oklahoma. We enthusiastically welcome Jay back to his roots in the Big 12."
Here is a statement from Boulware on joining the Oklahoma staff:
"I have the utmost respect for Coach Stoops and his program at the University of Oklahoma," said Boulware. "To have a chance to join the Oklahoma staff is an unbelievable professional and personal opportunity. I'm looking forward to the start of spring practice and the chance to work with the talented student-athletes and coaches on OU's roster."
Considering this hire came basically out of nowhere, we're still learning about Boulware. The early impression is that he's very well respected for his coaching ability and a solid special teams coach. Oklahoma fans had been clamoring for a dedicated special teams coach for years and while that won't be Boulware's only responsibility, this is as close as OU fans were ever going to get to what they wanted.
He has recruiting ties to the South, but isn't necessarily regarded as a dynamic recruiter (Rivals recruiting profile). Which will probably disappoint a number of Sooners fans, but don't underestimate what that OU logo on your shirt can do for you if you're willing to put in the work.
With Boulware's hire, Oklahoma will now enter spring practices with a complete coaching staff which was something a number of fans were concerned about prior to this news.
So now that the staff is fully intact, how do you feel about the hires that were made? Are you confident that Oklahoma upgraded their coaching staff as a whole? Are you taking a wait-and-see approach to things or are there already things you're disappointed about?