Old face takes over vacant coaching spot

With a substantial void in his coaching staff, Portland State head football coach Tim Walsh decided to turn to a familiar face. Walsh filled the hole at offensive coordinator with a coach that is accustomed to finding holes for the running back. Jeff Hoover, who served as the offensive line coach for the Vikings from 1995 to 1999, will assume offensive coordinator duties after Mike Fanger accepted the head coaching position at La Salle High School.

Hoover is pleased to be returning to Portland State.

“I was jacked, I was really excited. The city of Portland is a place where we have great friends and there is a lot to do, it is a great place to be. I felt like the school has a great chance to be successful,” he said. “But the biggest thing was I was happy to get back to the people here. I left 2,200 miles of skid marks getting here.”

Hoover has had an immense amount of experience at a variety of locations and levels throughout his coaching career. His first coaching job was at his alma mater UC Davis, where he played football from 1986 to 1990. During his stint as a player and coach at UC Davis the school had enjoyed 20 straight conference championships, a statistic that would prove to determine much of Hoover’s opportunities during his 16-year coaching career.

“The coach that coached the team that broke that streak was Coach Walsh,” Hoover said. “So my very first year in coaching I got a taste of what Coach Walsh could do and what his teams could do. I had admired what he had done because UC Davis had dominated that conference for a long time. I said hey this coach Walsh guy knows what he is doing.”

It may seem appropriate in the bizarre world of collegiate coaching that during Hoover’s first year of coaching he met a personality in Walsh that would allow him to land an offensive coordinator position 16 years later. However, it wasn’t quite that simple. He spent five seasons as the offense line coach at Utah State. Many of the coaching positions that he has held over the years at lower level divisions have acted as great experience, but ever since his first encounters with Walsh, Hoover was looking an opportunity to work on his staff.

“I was lucky enough to meet coach Walsh at a football camp during the summer,” Hoover said. “The next year he got the job at Portland State. In 1993 I tried to get on his staff but I wasn’t successful, so I worked at a Division Three school in Los Angeles and worked there for a complete years. Then Walsh asked me if I wanted to be a part of his staff. I jumped at the chance.”

Once Hoover received the opportunity to establish himself as an offense line coach under Walsh he was very successful. His offenses were some of the best in the nation during his tenure at Portland State, especially in 1995 when Portland State’s 472 yards per game lead the nation. During this stretch many around the nation considered the Viking offense a powerhouse, with much of the credit attributed to the Hoover’s talented lineman in the trenches.

“When I left Portland State it was a Division I-AA school and I was going to Utah State, a Division I-A school and I kind of thought it bigger was better,” Hoover said. “After five years there it was way more important to me to be around people that I trust and be in a place that I believe in and has a chance to be successful.”

After Hoover’s first tenure at Portland State was complete he was the offensive line coach at Utah State for five seasons before heading to Henderson State last season. Now back at Portland State and coaching under Walsh once again he anticipates recreating some of the offensive capabilities that he enjoyed during his first stretch at Portland State, which should be much easier considering he is the offensive coordinator.

The first thing is that this offense has been very successful,” Hoover said. “There are a lot of things that Portland State has done very well and done for a long time. There are pieces every place you look at one this team. There are a lot of exciting pieces and my job as a coach is going to be bring those pieces together.”

With the holdovers from last year’s offense and some of the transfers that have come to Portland State this season Hoover certainly has the potential to have an extremely effective offense next season. However, the players should be ready to adjust to Hoover’s no nonsense coaching style.

“I think that I am technique oriented,” Hoover said. ” I am a motivator, I try to get the most that a kid has to offer. I try to make players better than they would be before. Come to work everyday, bring your lunch pail, bring your hardhat, bring your timecard and let’s go to work.”

Hoover expects to take the reins as the offensive coordinator and coach the Viking’s offense to an extremely successful season next year, just like he did during his first stint as a Viking.