On Wednesday morning the Oklahoma football program announced the additions they had made to their support staff. Several of whom had been rumored for quite some time, but have now been officially confirmed with this release from the university.
Reed Case has been promoted to director of player personnel. Case enters his third season at the University of Oklahoma after joining the Sooners in March 2011 as on-campus recruiting coordinator. Case works closely with Stoops, Cale Gundy (director of recruiting/running backs coach) and the rest of the OU coaching staff to evaluate and attract the nation's top talent to OU.
Case's duties range from player evaluations to scholarship management and the coordination of the recruiting calendar for members of the coaching staff. Case owns prior experience working at Kentucky, East Carolina, Oklahoma State, Akron, Northwestern, Virginia and Texas. He also interned in the personnel department of the NFL's Houston Texans.
Case's previous role was listed as on-campus recruiting coordinator, which can involve any number of things. However for those that follow recruiting there have been multiple instances of poor or a lack of communication between the OU staff, which admittedly Case is not 100% responsible for, and prospective recruits. There was even a story at one point about a recruit having plans to make an official visit to Norman, but someone on the OU staff had failed to arrange a plane ticket for them. A lot of this is message board gossip and assumptions with no direct knowledge that any of the issues were directly Case's fault. So take it for whatever it's worth.
Rajeeb Hossain joins the Sooners as director of high school relations after stints at Cal-Berkeley and Louisiana Tech in addition to serving six seasons at the University of Kansas. A graduate of Norman High School and the University of Central Oklahoma, Hossain will work closely with Case and Stoops' coaching staff to develop creative and engaging digital and traditional recruiting materials, in addition to other duties that will continue to foster positive relationships with high school coaches and prospects.
In addition, Stephanie Oakes has moved into a full-time role with OU Football as a recruiting assistant after previously serving in a part-time capacity.
This is a new and interesting development. While this type of position certainly isn't unique to the OU staff, it is something to my knowledge they had not employed in the past. Building relationships with high school coaches that regularly produce D-I talent can provide for years (plural) of benefit to your football program. Again, this is something that has been rumored in the past to not necessarily be the strong suit of the Oklahoma coaching staff. So if these individuals can get their foot in the door, build the relationship, and the OU coaches can serve as the 'closer' if you will good things could follow.
Tiffany Byrd joined OU Athletics earlier this year as director of sports nutrition. She works with all OU sports and student-athletes to developing comprehensive nutrition programs geared toward improving training, performance and recovery. Byrd collaborates with the OU strength and conditioning staff to provide the Sooners with a competitive edge by customizing dietary plans to complement in-season and off-season conditioning regiments.
She also oversees the wide range of meal offerings for football and all other OU athletic programs at the Sam Bradford Training Table located in the recently-opened Headington Hall, a $75 million student housing facility on the OU campus. Byrd is a former NCAA student-athlete who concluded her gymnastics career at the University of Nebraska.
Of all the additions, the fact this position (again, at least to my knowledge) did not previously exist is perhaps the most egregious. This type of role is absolutely vital to any elite athletic program given the physical demands these players are subjected to. They need someone with the education and experience to tailor a nutrition program around the need for recovery and revitalization. At this level, you are looking for any and every competitive advantage you can get and nutrition can play an incredibly important role. Honestly, this might be the most important hire OU made the entire offseason.
Simply from following Byrd on Twitter (which you can do here if you'd like), I've seen absolutely nothing but rave reviews from not just the football players but many an OU athlete.
Oklahoma also announced the following support staff additions and/or holdovers:
Joe Jon Finley - Offensive quality control (former OU tight end)
Chad Walker - Defensive quality control (formerly of Mississippi College)
Ryan McKim - Special teams quality control (formerly of Iowa State)
Jon Cooper - Offensive grad assistant (former OU center)
Joey Halzle - Offensive grad assistant (former OU quarterback)
Corey Callens - Defensive grad assistant (former OU defensive end)
Courtney Viney - Defensive grad assistant (former player who has deep recruiting ties to California)