New Ducks Football Coach Dan Lanning Names Joe Lorig Special Teams Coordinator And Nickels Coach

EUGENE — Head coach Dan Lanning officially announced the hiring of Joe Lorig as Oregon football’s new special teams coordinator and nickels coach on Monday, adding nearly 25 years of collegiate coaching experience to his staff.

Lorig joins offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, co-defensive coordinator Matt Powledge, cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin, defensive line coach Tony Tuioti, and associate head coach and offensive line coach Adrian Klemm on Lanning’s staff.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce Joe Lorig as our special teams coordinator and nickels coach,” Lanning said. “Joe has a proven track record of coaching special teams. His units have twice ranked No. 1 nationally in special teams efficiency, and Joe is also connected with many of the high school coaches throughout the state of Oregon. He has an affinity for this part of the country, and it’s just very exciting to be able to attract a coach of this caliber to our staff. Duck nation, please welcome Joe and his wife, Becky, their son, Tyler, and their daughters, Jordan and Emma, to Eugene.”

A native of Edmonds, Wash., Lorig returns to the Pacific Northwest after spending the last three seasons as the special teams coordinator at Penn State while working with various defensive positions. He went to Penn State after serving three seasons at Memphis, including the first two with Lanning on staff. Lorig has also had stints at Western Oregon (1997-98), Idaho State (1999-06), UTEP (2007), Central Washington (2008-11), Arizona State (2012-13), and Utah State (2014-15).

“Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and attending college in the state, the University of Oregon has always been my dream job,” Lorig said. “I am extremely grateful to Coach Lanning for this incredible opportunity to work with him again, and I am very excited about the outstanding staff that he has assembled. Over the years, I have gotten the opportunity to work at many well-respected Universities alongside exceptional coaches, but I have always sacrificed living close to family. I’m beyond happy to say that I am coming HOME. Go Ducks!”

Lorig coached dynamic special teams performers throughout his time at Penn State, landing a player on an all-Big Ten team in each of his three seasons. He also coached outside linebackers in 2020 and 2021 while adding the nickels position in his final season, and he coached outside linebacker Brandon Smith to a pair of all-league selections, including a spot on the third team in 2021.

Under Lorig’s guidance, Jordan Stout became the Big Ten Punter of the Year in 2021 and earned second-team all-America and Ray Guy Award finalist honors. Jahan Dotson also received third-team all-Big Ten recognition as a punt returner after averaging a school record 24.6 yards per punt return.

Special teams were a strength for Penn State in 2020 under Lorig, becoming only one of four Power 5 teams to score a kick and punt return touchdown. Dotson was one of just three players nationally with two punt returns of 50 yards or more, including an 81-yard return for a touchdown.

In 2019, the Nittany Lions’ special teams unit was ranked first among Power 5 schools in special teams efficiency and tied for second nationally overall, with three players earning all-Big Ten honorable mention recognition.

Lorig was the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at Memphis from 2016-18. During that span, the Tigers did not allow a single kickoff or punt return touchdown and ranked in the top 20 nationally in kick return yardage allowed each season. Defensively, Lorig coached outside linebackers on a defense that ranked fourth in the FBS with 81 forced turnovers in that three-year stretch. Memphis won the AAC West Division and reached the AAC Championship Game in 2017 and 2018.

In 2018, Memphis ranked 14th nationally and 2nd in the American in kick return defense, allowing just 17.88 yards per return. The Tigers also finished at No. 19 in the country with three blocked kicks. Lorig’s outside linebacker group also helped the team rank tenth in the nation with 104 tackles for loss.

Returner Tony Pollard was a two-time AAC Special Teams Player of the Year under Lorig, tying an FBS record with seven kick return touchdowns as a Tiger, including four in 2017 when he was selected for multiple all-America teams. Lorig also coached a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in kicker Jake Elliott, who made 21 field goals and was perfect on PATs in 2016.
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Lorig got his start at the Power 5 level at Arizona State, where he was special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach during his two seasons in 2012-13. He coached seven all-Pac-12 performers during his time in Tempe, including eventual Lou Groza Award winner Zane Gonzalez at the start of his career. The Sun Devils went 18-9 during Lorig’s time with three top-25 wins and a pair of bowl appearances.

Lorig coached a pair of all-Pac-12 cornerbacks in 2013, including first-team selection Robert Nelson and second-team performer Osahon Irabor. The ASU defense ranked third nationally with 21 interceptions, and Gonzalez tied an NCAA freshman record with 25 made field goals. In 2012, Lorig coached a cornerbacks group that helped ASU rank third nationally in passing yards allowed.

Lorig spent two seasons at Utah State between ASU and Memphis, coaching safeties in 2015 after directing the team’s linebackers in 2014. His units helped Utah State rank in the top 30 in total defense in back-to-back seasons, earning the second-most wins (10) in program history in 2014 and a bid to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2015.

Linebacker Zach Vigil was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team all-American under Lorig in 2014, and his brother, Nick Vigil, was also an all-Mountain West first-team selection. Zach Vigil finished his senior season with 156 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, and nine sacks.

Lorig started his coaching career at Western Oregon, his alma mater, in 1997-98. He spent two seasons working with the safeties before going to Idaho State, where he coached cornerbacks in 1999-00 and linebackers in 2001-02 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2003. He spent four seasons directing the defense, and the Bengals went 8-4 in 2003 to post win eight games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.

Lorig coached 16 all-Big Sky performers in his time at Idaho State, including all­-American defensive end Jared Allen. Allen won the Buck Buchanan Award as the top FCS defensive player, and the future NFL star finished his senior year with 17.5 sacks, 102 tackles, and 28.0 tackles for loss.

After Utah State, Lorig got his start as a special teams coordinator at UTEP in 200 while also coaching the team’s linebackers. He then spent 2008-11 at Central Washington as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator before making the move to the Power 5 level at Arizona State. With Lorig on staff, Central Washington went 34-12 overall and won three Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles.

A cornerback during his playing days, Lorig was a two-time all-Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges honoree while playing his first two seasons at Walla Walla Community College. He then moved on to Western Oregon, where he played two years and was a team captain.

Lorig earned his bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from Western Oregon in 1995 before receiving his Master’s degree in correctional administration in 1997.