Huskies Insider Blog

Huskies hire Keith Heyward as defensive backs coach

Head coach Steve Sarkisian continues to fill out his coaching staff, announcing the hiring of Keith Heyward as defensive backs coach on Thursday afternoon.

Heyward leaves a similar coaching position at Oregon State to take over the for the Huskies.

"Keith is a bright, young coach and a terrific recruiter," Sarkisian said. "I think he'll be a great fit with our new defensive staff, in particular Justin Wilcox, our new coordinator."

Heyward was the defensive backs coach for the Beavers the last four seasons.

Recruiting-wise, this is a big get for the Huskies. Heyward is considered a great recruiter and he's also actively recruiting a handful of uncommitted players for OSU. One of those players is  Devian Shelton, who is being highly recruited by several schools. Meanwhile, Cleveland Wallace, a three-star cornerback from San Jose is now re-considering his commitment to OSU.

We all know the Huskies could use some help at the cornerback position.

Prior to joining the OSU staff in 2008, Heyward has spent one season (2007) as an assistant at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, before that he was graduate assistant at Oregon State for two seasons.

The Beavers have had some quality defensive backs under Heyward, and playing with an aggressive, physical nature.

In 2011, Heyward coached second-team All-Pac-12 cornerback Jordan Poyer, as well as safety Lance Mitchell, who earned honorable mention all-conference.

In his first season in charge of the secondary in Corvallis (2008), he coached cornerbacks Brandon Hughes and Keenan Lewis, currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.

Heyward was a four-year letterman (1997-2000) for the Beavers, and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 following his senior season and played in the Hula Bowl. He started 35 consecutive games at cornerback for the Beavers and finished his career with a 41-9 victory over Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, a win that capped an 11-1 season for OSU.

Following his college career, Heyward played professionally for the BC Lions in the CFL, the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe and the L.A. Avengers in the Arena League. He also spent time in training camps with the 49ers and Seahawks in the NFL.

Heyward, who graduated from Taft High School in Woodland Hills, Calif., earned his degree in communications from OSU in 2002.