Brett Pyne | Posted: 4 Feb 2021 | Updated: 1 Mar 2021

Sitake adds veteran coach Kevin Clune to defensive staff

main image
Kevin Clune named BYU assistant coach

PROVO, Utah — BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake today announced the hiring of Kevin Clune as an assistant coach on the Cougars’ defensive staff. Clune joins Sitake’s staff with 28 years of coaching experience, including 10 seasons as a defensive coordinator.

“I’m excited to announce Kevin Clune is joining our defensive staff,” Sitake said. “I have known Kevin my entire coaching career. He is a great person and an outstanding coach with a ton of experience, both as a position coach and as a coordinator. With his experience and expertise, Kevin is great addition to our defensive room working with Coach Tuiaki, Coach Lamb and our defensive staff as we build on our past successes.” 

Clune will serve as the linebackers coach on defensive coordinator ‘Ilaisa Tuiaki’s defensive staff, which increases to five coaches with Clune’s hiring. In addition to Clune coaching linebackers, the other position assignments on defense include Tuiaki coaching interior linemen, Ed Lamb safeties, Preston Hadley defensive ends/hybrids and Jernaro Gilford cornerbacks.

A native of Monterey, California, Clune has an extensive resume mentoring linebackers as a defensive coach, which includes serving as defensive coordinator at Oregon State, Utah State, Hawai’i, Weber State and Southern Utah. He has also served four years as a special teams coordinator and one season as an assistant head coach.

“I can’t express how excited I am to join Coach Sitake and the rest of the staff for the 2021 season,” Clune said. “I am honored by the opportunity to be a part of the BYU tradition and to work with these student-athletes.  Coach Sitake has assembled a team of tremendous young men, and I look forward to helping build on last year’s success as we move forward to next season.” 

Clune most recently came from Memphis, where he served as linebackers coach under Mike Norvell and helped the Tigers earn the program’s first-ever 12-win season going 12-2 to win the 2019 American Athletic Conference title and receive a New Year’s Six Bowl berth to the Cotton Bowl. Memphis achieved a No. 17 final ranking in 2019, going 3-1 against top-25 opponents, while the Tiger defense ranked No. 16 nationally in pass efficiency defense (115.45) and No. 20 in passing defense (195.9). In 2018, Clune helped the Tigers advance to the AAC title game as co-champions of the West Division before earning an invitation to the Birmingham Bowl.

Following Norvell’s departure from Memphis, Clune volunteered as a defensive analyst at BYU in 2020 and contributed to one of the program’s best seasons ever with an 11-1 record and No. 11 final national ranking. The BYU defense in 2020 achieved seven top-25 statistical ratings, including ranking No. 4 in scoring defense (15.3) and No. 10 in total defense (317.4).   

Clune spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons as the defensive coordinator at Oregon State, where he also coached inside linebackers. His 2016 defense allowed 52.3 yards and 6.5 points fewer per game than the prior season, and the Beavers ranked No. 26 in the nation in pass efficiency defense. In 2017, senior linebacker Manase Hungalu and freshman safety David Morris earned Pac-12 honorable mention honors. Hungalu ranked fifth in the Pac -12 with 97 tackles and was named one of five finalists for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year.

Having coached at Utah, Southern Utah, Weber State and Utah State prior to coming to BYU, Clune has a 15-year history coaching college football in the state of Utah.

In six seasons and two stints at Utah State, Clune helped the Aggies win the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Championship and earn bowl appearances during each of his final four seasons in Logan. He coached linebackers from 2009-2013 at USU before becoming the defensive coordinator at Hawai’i in 2014, helping the Rainbow Warrior defense allow 12 fewer points per game than the prior season. Clune returned to Matt Wells’ staff at Utah State in 2015 to serve as defensive coordinator.

Working as a linebackers’ coach for the Aggies, Clune tutored future NFL linebackers Bobby Wagner, Nick Vigil, Zach Vigil and Kyle Fackrell. Wagner was named the 2011 WAC Defensive Player of the Year at Utah State before becoming a perennial NFL Pro Bowl player for Seattle. Zach Vigil earn All-America honors and was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year to culminate his college career before playing in the NFL for Miami and Washington. Fackrell, now with the New York Giants, was named a 2012 Freshman All-American before going on to become a semifinalist for Butkus Award honoring the nation’s top linebacker in 2015. That same season, Nick Vigil, now with the Los Angeles Chargers, was sixth in the NCAA in tackles per game (11.1), and the Aggies defense ranked 17th nationally in total defense (332.5/ypg), 13th in passing yards allowed (180.5) and 21st in third-down percentage (33.8 percent).

Clune first came to Utah for a coaching position when he served at the University of Utah for two years as a graduate assistant coach (2001-02). While at Utah, Clune coached on his first bowl-bound team, as the Utes earned a spot in the 2001 Vegas Bowl, defeating USC, 10-6.  

He continued to spend time in Utah, moving to Southern Utah for his first opportunity as a defensive coordinator in 2003-04. In Cedar City, he guided a pair of linebackers to All-America honors as Nick DiPadova and Marques Harris earned second- and third-team honors, respectively. In 2005, Clune became the defensive coordinator and linebackers’ coach at Weber State in Ogden, Utah, where he helped linebacker J.D. Folsom flourish before being selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 2009 NFL Draft. Clune was given assistant head coach duties in 2008, helping Weber State to a Big Sky co-championship.

A former player at Fullerton Junior College and the University of San Diego, Clune first joined the coaching ranks at Palma (Calif.) High School, serving as the defensive line and receivers’ coach. He then spent two seasons at Dos Pueblos (Calif.) High School as the linebackers’ coach and returned to his juco alma mater in 1996 as the special teams’ coordinator and linebackers’ coach. After four seasons at Fullerton, Clune joined the staff at Occidental College in 2000 as a defensive line coach before going to Utah in 2001.

Clune received a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology in 2000 from Cal State-Fullerton.

Clune Coaching Resume
2020-present BYU ­– Linebackers Coach/Senior Defensive Analyst (2020)

2018-19 Memphis –Linebackers Coach/Senior Defensive Assistant (2018)
2016-17 Oregon State – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
2015 Utah State - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
2014 Hawai'i - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
2009-13 Utah State – Linebackers Coach
2005-08 Weber State – Assistant Head Coach (2008)/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
2003-04 Southern Utah - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
2001-02 Utah - Graduate Assistant Coach
2000 Occidental College - Defensive Line Coach
1996-99 Fullerton JC - Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
1993-94 Dos Pueblos (Calif.) HS – Linebackers Coach
1991- Palma (Calif.) HS - Defensive Line/Receivers Coach