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Las Cruces, NM — New Mexico State head football coach Doug Martin announced Wednesday that Larry Coyer named the Aggies’ new defensive coordinator. Coyer brings nearly five decades of combined collegiate and professional coaching experience to his credit.
“I worked with coach Coyer at East Carolina and you can see the professional and collegiate teams he has been involved with over the years and I don’t know if many teams in the country and even the Sun Belt will have as qualified a defensive coordinator then us,” Martin said. “This is a huge hire for us at New Mexico State and I feel it really makes a statement on the direction this program is heading.”
“This is an exciting time for New Mexico State football and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Coyer said. “I look forward to working again with my longtime friend coach Martin.”
Most recently, Coyer spent the 2013 season with the Washington Redskins as an Advance Scout. Coyer spent three seasons as defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-11.
He joined the Colts from Tampa Bay, where he spent two seasons with the Buccaneers in various roles including Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line Coach from 2007-08. Prior to arriving in Tampa Bay, he spent seven seasons at Denver as Linebackers Coach (2000-02) and Defensive Coordinator (2003-06).
In 2010, Coyer’s defense with the Colts fought through injuries at virtually every defensive position, with only four players starting 16 games and only four others seeing playing time in all 16 games.
Coyer utilized 19 different defensive starters as the Colts went 10-6 and won a seventh division title in eight seasons.
That year, Coyer helped defensive ends Dwight Freeney (10) and Robert Mathis (11) each post double-digit sacks and earn a third consecutive Pro Bowl nomination as a tandem. It marked the first time since 1970 a defensive end duo earned three straight bids.
The 2010 season marked the second time under Coyer they had topped 20 sacks as a tandem (23 in 2009).
In his first season in Indianapolis in 2009, Coyer’s defense was central to the team winning the AFC Championship and representing the conference in Super Bowl XLIV. For the season, the Colts ranked fifth in the AFC and eighth in the NFL in scoring defense (19.2 points per game), helping the team open the year with 14 consecutive victories and a regular season record of 14-2.
The unit produced 34 sacks and 26 takeaways, while limiting opponents to 29 offensive touchdowns. Ten different players registered sacks on the year.
Coyer’s unit helped the Colts finish with a positive turnover ratio for the seventh straight season. Freeney (13.5) was tied for third in the NFL in sacks, setting a club record with sacks in nine consecutive games.
Three of Coyer’s players — Freeney, Mathis and defensive back Antoine Bethea — earned Pro Bowl bids. Nine different Colts players had interceptions, and the club held six opponents under 100 rushing yards.
In 2008, Coyer served in an administrative capacity reviewing the offense and defense in Tampa Bay, helping guide the franchise to a 9-7 record that season. The team ranked ninth in the NFL in total defense and fourth in the league against the pass.
The club’s 30 takeaways were tied for second-most in the NFC, tied for fifth-most in the NFL, and the club’s 22 interceptions were tied for the NFC lead and tied for third-most in the NFL. In the year prior in 2007, Tampa Bay won the NFC South, finishing second in NFL total defense.
Coyer coached the team’s defensive linemen, a group that accounted for 30 of the team’s 33 sacks, including 15.5 from rookies and first-year players. Defensive end Gaines Adams earned PFW/PFWA All-Rookie Team honors, while first-year defensive end Greg White added eight sacks.
Before his time in Tampa, Coyer spent seven seasons working under current Redskins Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan in Denver from 2000-06, including the final four seasons as Defensive Coordinator.
In those four seasons in charge of the unit, Coyer’s unit consistently ranked among the NFL’s best, helping the club earn three playoff appearances. The Broncos ranked in the top seven in the NFL in rushing defense three times, allowing 98.3 yards per game from 2003-06, fourth-best in the NFL during that span.
Denver had consecutive top four league rankings in yards per game allowed from 2003-04. The Broncos (18.3) ranked 6th in NFL scoring defense from 2003-06, and the 2006 unit did not yield a touchdown in the first eleven quarters of play, the longest season-opening NFL streak since 1942.
Coyer’s Broncos advanced to the AFC Championship Game in 2005 with a 13-3 record, as cornerback Champ Bailey, safety John Lynch and linebacker Al Wilson were selected to the Pro Bowl.
Denver ranked second in the NFL in rushing defense (85.2 yards per game), the third-best mark in team history. The Broncos tied for third in the NFL in scoring defense (16.1 points per game), yielding only 37 points (9.3 per game) in the final four games.
In 2003, Denver allowed 277.1 yards per game, fourth-best in the NFL. Coyer’s stint in Denver began as Linebackers Coach from 2000-02.
Coyer served as a defensive line coach for the New York Jets in 1994. In his other professional stints, Coyer served in the USFL as Linebackers Coach with the Michigan Panthers (1983-84) and Defensive Coordinator with the Memphis Showboats (1985). Coyer helped Michigan capture the inaugural USFL championship in 1983.
Coyer was Defensive Coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh from 1997-99. The Panthers produced top five conference finishes in all statistical categories in 1999, and safety Ramon Walker and defensive lineman Demond Gibson earned All-Big East Conference honors.
In 1998, the Panthers ranked third in Big East total defense, and the 1997-98 units amassed 62 sacks, the highest two-season total at Pittsburgh since 1990-91.
After working as a defensive backs coach at Bowling Green from 1968-73, Coyer served as Defensive Coordinator in stints at Iowa State (1979-82, 1995-96), Oklahoma State (1978), Iowa (1974-77) and East Carolina (1993).
He served as Defensive Backs Coach at Ohio State (1991-92), as Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs at the University of Houston (1990) and as Linebackers Coach at UCLA (1987-89).
Coyer is a 1964 graduate of Marshall, and he is a member of the university’s Football Hall of Fame for his achievements as a player.
He served at Marshall as secondary coach from 1965-67. He also had a coaching stint at Massillon (Ohio) High School.
Coyer was born in Huntington, W. Va., and is a native of Greenbottom, W. Va. Coyer and his wife, Jan, have two sons, Matt and Justin.
Matt was a member of an NCAA Champion soccer team at Indiana University. Justin was an Iowa all-state football player in high school.
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