Roberson will coach CWU defense

March 31, 2012 by  

YAKIMA, Wash. — Blaine Bennett had recruited Malik Roberson once before, thereby getting him started in college football.

And now Roberson, a Spokane native lured to Washington State by then-graduate assistant Bennett in 1989, has reunited with his one-time suitor, having been named Central Washington’s defensive coordinator on Friday.

“I was a graduate assistant (at WSU) for two years, one for Dennis Erickson and one for Mike Price,” Bennett said. “Spokane was an area Coach Price had me help him recruit in, and that’s how Malik and I first met.”

Roberson, from Lewis-Clark High School, played two years for Price in Pullman before leaving. He served as an assistant at L-C for two years, then resumed his playing career as a defensive lineman under Mike Dunbar at Central in 1994.

Coaching stops at Eastern Washington (2000-07) and Washington State (2008-10), both as a member of Paul Wulff’s staffs, and last season at Portland State preceded Roberson’s move to Ellensburg.

With the Wildcats he succeeds Joe Lorig, who left in January to become outside linebackers coach and defensive special teams coordinator for new coach Todd Graham at Arizona State.

Lorig came to CWU with Bennett in 2008 and was an assistant head coach in addition to being defensive coordinator. He had assisted Bennett during the late 1990s at Western Oregon.

“There are several things that Malik brings to the table that really set him apart from the other coaches in the pool of candidates for this job,” Bennett said. “No. 1, he’s from the state of Washington which is very important since we sign all of our (prep) guys from here. He continues to add a significant presence and has great name recognition within our state.

“He has a Division I background, not only in the Big Sky Conference with Eastern and Portland State, but at Washington State as well. And third is his connection to Central — he had a chance to play here and got his degree from Central. That’s huge.”

As a CWU junior, Roberson led the Wildcats in tackles for loss (16) and sacks (nine), then helped them win a share of the NAIA national championship in 1995.

Roberson’s hiring completes a series of changes in Bennett’s staff, with the others being longtime assistant John Picha’s move from offensive line coach to linebackers coach and John Gariano’s move from defensive line coach to the offensive line.

The new coach’s family includes wife Ondria, twin daughters Madison and Makayla and 20-year-old son Nick.

Central begins spring practice on April 16. The Wildcats’ 2012 season starts Sept. 1 at Texas A&M-Kingsville with games following at Simon Fraser and Western Oregon before the team’s home-opener on Sept. 22 against Azusa Pacific.

CWU is coming off a 4-6 season, snapping streaks of nine straight non-losing records and five consecutive GNAC championships.

Filed under All, CWU Football

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