Ohio State Hires Away Oklahoma State Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles

The Buckeyes worked quickly after reports started circulating Tuesday: Jim Knowles is headed to Columbus.

Ohio State announced Tuesday afternoon that it had hired Knowles away from Oklahoma State, where he led the Cowboys’ Big 12-leading defense. Knowles was in Little Rock, Arkansas earlier in the day at the Broyles Award ceremony, an award given to the best assistant in college football.

“I have offered a position on the Ohio State football staff to Oklahoma State University defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and he has accepted it,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said in a release. “Starting Jan. 2, Knowles will be the Buckeyes’ new defensive coordinator. What is most important at this time is that we put our players in the best position possible to finish this season with a win in the Rose Bowl. To that end, we will continue our planning an preparation for the game with our current staff of 10 assistant coaches.”

Under Knowles, Oklahoma State’s defense led the nation in sacks and tackles for loss during the 2021 season and ranked third in total defense and second in third-down conversion percentage.

From Philadelphia, Knowles joined Gundy’s staff ahead of the 2018 season after spending eight seasons at Duke. He also coach at Cornell, Western Michigan and Ole Miss.

Oklahoma State Mike Gundy took myriad questions about Knowles’ future over the past few weeks and answered them with confidence the Cowboys could retain him, but in the end, it didn’t happen.

“I can tell you that our president and athletic director would love to keep Coach Knowles in Stillwater,” Gundy said Sunday. “And he and I developed a great working relationship. I think he’s a very smart football coach, and I really think he likes Stillwater. So we’re in the process today and, really, some over the last couple weeks of trying to work out a deal to keep him here. I think it’s best for Oklahoma State football, and I think Coach Knowles wants to be here. It’s not quite as easy as just giving somebody a blank check. There’s a lot of details involved in that, but we’re working hard to keep him in place.”

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