MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mike MacIntyre, a two-time National Coach of the Year and a 30-year coaching veteran, has been named Memphis football’s defensive coordinator pending completion of State of Tennessee hiring protocols, head coach RyanSilverfield announced Thursday.
“Mike was the perfect fit to lead our defense,” said Silverfield. “Just three years ago, he was the National Coach of the Year. He is a Bill Parcells disciple with five years coaching in the NFL. He graduated from high school in Nashville and has deep roots in this state.
“He is a leader of men on and off the field. Coach Mac has nine years of head coaching experience and will be a tremendous asset to our program. He and his wife, Trisha, can’t wait to get to Memphis!”
MacIntyre spent the 2019 season as Ole Miss’ defensive coordinator and did a phenomenal job in turning around the Rebels’ defense in his lone campaign in Oxford, Miss. It was MacIntyre’s second stint at Ole Miss, as he also coached there from 1999-2002.
In 2019, Ole Miss posted a 4-8 overall record, but of the eight setbacks, five were by single digits. A major reason the Rebels remained close in many contests was the improvement of their defense under MacIntyre.
Ole Miss made impressive jumps in several defensive statistical categories from 2018 (before MacIntyre) to 2019. The Rebels held opponents to nearly 10 fewer points in 2019 (26.5 ppg/No. 59 in NCAA) than in 2018 (36.2 ppg/No. 113) and also held foes to nearly 100 fewer rushing yards per game in 2019 (138.5 ypg/No. 42) than in 2018 (221.8 ypg/No. 116).
Ole Miss’ total defense under MacIntyre jumped nearly 40 spots in the NCAA rankings from 2018 to 2019, holding opponents to just under 70 fewer total yards per game.
MacIntyre has made turnarounds a trademark of his career and that was evident in his six seasons as the head coach at Colorado. In 2013, he took over a Colorado team that was coming off a 1-11 season, and four years later, directed the Buffs to a 10-3 mark and their first appearance in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Colorado was tied with five others for most improved in the nation overall and the most improved all-time in Pac-12 league games in 2016. The Buffaloes became just the ninth team among Power-5 schools since 1972 to win 10 or more games after finishing the previous season with four or fewer wins.
For his efforts in 2016, MacIntyre earned consensus National Coach of the Year honors after leading the Buffaloes to their first 10-win season in 15 years.
In 2015, the Buffs defense improved by as many as 50 spots nationally in many major defensive areas. The biggest jump came in points allowed per game, slicing off 11.5 from the previous year, the fifth-best improvement in all of FBS.
The turnaround at Colorado came just a few years after MacIntyre similarly resuscitated a San Jose State team from a 1-12 record in 2010 to one that finished 10-2 in 2012 and was nationally ranked. MacIntyre garnered American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Coach of the Year recognition that season. His San Jose State teams won 12 of his final 14 games there.
In recording their first 10-win season since 1987, the Spartans did it with a defense that ranked among the national leaders in many statistical categories. The opportunistic Spartans were the co-national leaders with 20 fumble recoveries and were tied for fourth in turnovers gained (33).
MacIntyre arrived at San Jose State after two years as the defensive coordinator at Duke, where he was reunited with David Cutcliffe, who was the Rebels’ coach during MacIntyre’s first go-around in Oxford.
In his first season in Durham (2008), the Blue Devils allowed 67.4 fewer yards and 9.8 fewer points per game than the previous season. The AFCA named MacIntyre its 2009 FBS Assistant Coach of the Year as his defenses were among Duke’s best statistically over a 20-year span.
Prior to returning to college ball, MacIntyre spent five seasons in the National Football League with the New York Jets (2007) and Dallas Cowboys (2003-06), where he coached defensive backs. Working for legendary coach Bill Parcells, the Cowboys returned to the NFL playoffs in 2003 and again in 2006 after missing out on postseason competition during the 2000 through 2002 seasons.
MacIntyre served as Ole Miss’ secondary coach during the 2001 and 2002 seasons after spending his first two years in Oxford as the wide receivers coach. The Rebels posted a 29-19 record in that time with bowl appearances in the 1999 and 2002 Independence Bowls and the 2000 Music City Bowl. The 2001 Rebels ranked fifth nationally in pass defense, allowing just 161.3 yards per game.
At Ole Miss, among his recruits were two high-profile student-athletes, quarterback Eli Manning and linebacker Patrick Willis. He has mentored many current and former NFL players, including recently-retired former Dallas and Cincinnati safety Roy Williams, a five-time Pro Bowl player.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Georgia, working two years (1990-91) in that capacity. He then coached one year as the defensive coordinator at Davidson (1992), four years at UT Martin (1993-96) and two seasons at Temple (1997-98).
A 1989 Georgia Tech graduate, he lettered twice (1987-88) at free safety and punt returner for legendary head coach Bobby Ross. Prior to becoming a Yellow Jacket, MacIntyre played two seasons (1984-85) at Vanderbilt for his father, George, the head coach of the Commodores from 1979-85.
MacIntyre earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Georgia Tech and his master’s in education with an emphasis on sports management from Georgia in 1991.
MacIntyre and his wife, Trisha, have three children: Jennifer, Jay and Jonston.