WKU Football names Crum new Defensive Coordinator
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Football has promoted Maurice Crum to Defensive Coordinator, head coach Tyson Helton announced Sunday morning.
The longest-tenured full-time Hilltopper coach, Crum will be entering his fifth season working with the linebacker position group. He was most recently the Co-Defensive Coordinator in 2020 and also served as Co-Special Teams Coordinator during the 2018 campaign. Previous defensive coordinator Clayton White left the WKU staff to pursue another opportunity.
“I am elated to lead our defense,” Crum said. “I would like to thank Coach Helton for believing in me and Coach White for his guidance. To the players: Let’s get ready to play.”
In 2020, Crum helped the WKU defense rank eighth in pass yards allowed (177.3), 28th in total yards allowed (348.7) and 41st in points allowed (25.3) per game. Primary starting linebackers Kyle Bailey and Eli Brown combined for 129 tackles – including 16.5 for loss – with five sacks, two interceptions and six quarterback hurries. Both Bailey and Brown were voted 2020 Conference USA Honorable Mention by the league’s coaches.
In 2019, Crum helped lead a group of linebackers with a lot of new faces. After making the change from safety to linebacker, Bailey burst on to the scene for the Hilltoppers, leading WKU with 109 tackles and three interceptions. He was one of only seven defenders with at least 100 tackles and three picks in the 2019 season. Bailey earned C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honors vs. UAB and was voted C-USA Honorable Mention.
Another player in Crum’s position group who made strides was Clay Davis. After sitting out the 2018 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules, Davis put together a solid season by racking up 60 tackles, three TFL’s, one sack and a forced fumble.
As a team, WKU produced a top 25 overall defense, as the Hilltoppers completed one of the best defensive seasons in recent memory. WKU allowed only 20.1 total points per game, which was the lowest mark for the program since 2004 and ranked No. 22 in FBS.
In 2018, Crum developed linebacker Ben Holt into a tackling machine and team leader. Holt, who was elected one of two yearlong captains by his teammates, set WKU’s FBS Era record for tackles per game (9.67) with 116 tackles in 12 games. That mark ranked fourth in C-USA and his 116 total tackles were the third-most among league players in the regular season.
In his first season on The Hill in 2017, Crum’s experience at the highest level was put on display as WKU needed to replace two of the season’s previous three starting linebackers, returning only junior Joel Iyiegbuniwe. Under Crum’s direction, Iyiegbuniwe exploded in 2017 en route to an All-CUSA First Team season. He led the Hilltoppers in tackles with 116, the third-most in a single season in the FBS Era, and tackles for loss with 11.5. The junior declared for the NFL Draft a year early and was selected 115th overall in the fourth round by the Chicago Bears.
Crum, was a standout linebacker at Notre Dame from 2005-to-2008. During his playing career, Crum played in 50 games with 42 consecutive starts and registered 306 tackles – including 23 tackles for loss – with eight sacks. His 306 career tackles ranked 11th in Notre Dame history. A two-time team captain in 2007 and 2008, Crum was one of only 17 players in school history to accomplish that feat.
A 2009 graduate of Notre Dame with a degree in Sociology, Crum is married to the former Crysta Swayzer and the couple has three sons, Maurice III, Allen and Noah. Crum’s father, Maurice Sr., was a consensus All-American at Miami in 1990.