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Football: Farmer clears air on new UL coach Wallerstedt

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, October 9, 2014



Matt Wallerstedt (Photo: texastech.com)



UL defensive coordinator James Willis’ job is not in jeopardy and new Ragin’ Cajuns defensive consultant Matt Wallerstedt is not getting paid by the school or the RCAF, Cajuns athletic director Scott Farmer said Thursday.

UL head coach Mark Hudspeth, Farmer said, "has assured me that he has met with Coach Willis, and that he’s happy with Coach Willis. He’s not out there to take his job away from him.

"To me," Farmer added, "he has never said anything negative about the performance of our defensive coordinator."

With an average yield of 458.0 yards per game as the 2-3 Cajuns prepare to play Tuesday night at Texas State, UL is ranked 104th among 125 FBS teams nationally in total defense.

UL also is giving up 35.0 points per game, which is tied for 101st-worst.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Thayer Evans reported Wednesday morning that ex-Texas Tech defensive coordinator Wallerstedt had been "hired" by Hudspeth, and later Wednesday Hudspeth confirmed the report of the hire.

But that’s not exactly the case, according to Farmer.

"He does not have a contract," Farmer said Thursday. "He does not have employment terms or (a) memo or anything, because he’s not an employee. We have not hired him. He is not getting paid by us.

"He’s coming in and helping a friend out. He’s staying involved in the game while he’s still getting paid from his previous institution, and he’s helping Coach Hudspeth out."

Wallerstedt’s consultation began sometime before a 34-31 win over Georgia State last Saturday that snapped a three-game losing streak.

The ex-Wyoming and Air Force defensive coordinator also was Hudspeth’s defensive coordinator when Hudspeth was head coach at North Alabama in 2003.

Sports Illustrated’s report said that "Hudspeth is paying (Wallerstedt) a salary as well as putting him up in a hotel and providing him a car."

But Farmer said Wallerstedt is receiving no funds from UL or its athletic fundraising arm, the RCAF.

He also said Wallerstedt continues to be paid through "at least" the end of the season by Texas Tech, where according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal his annual salary was $425,000.

"We traded for a place for him to stay for eight weeks," Farmer said, "so it’s not costing us any more.

"I don’t know why they used those words," he added with reference to "hired." "There is no agreement, there is no money."

Farmer did not address the matter of a car, which is presumed to be a loaner or rental.

Farmer said Wallerstedt is a "volunteer consultant" who, because he’s not an actual staff member, is quite limited in what he’s permitted to do for the Cajuns.

"He cannot coach the student-athletes," Farmer said, confirming what Hudspeth said in that regard. "He can coach up the coaches (and) he can game plan with the coaches."

Many major-college programs have "consultants" on their football staffs, and most of them are paid.

Wallerstedt resigned Sept. 18 from Texas Tech, citing "personal reasons," and Hudspeth reached out to him that day.

Citing unnamed sources, ESPN.com reported Wallerstedt "was suspected of being under the influence of an unknown substance while on campus." Sports Illustrated’s Evans, though, later reported that Wallerstedt texted, "All good! Don’t believe all the rumors!!"

"He (Hudspeth) told me I know you’re a good person and a hell of a ball coach, I don’t know what went down, but I’d like for you to come down," Wallerstedt told SI.com’s The Inside Read. "We could use your help."

According to the magazine’s website, "Wallerstedt said he initially had reservations because his wife, Josie, and their son, who is a ninth-grader, are still in Lubbock, but she supported him going to Lafayette."

"She was really strong and encouraged me that there’s no better way to show your profession that you’re not doing drugs or boozing," Wallerstedt said. "She wanted me to jump right back in it."

Willis, in his second season at UL, had been working on a contract that expired at the end of last June.

Like most Cajun assistant coaches, he is now a non-contract employee.

Willis’ current annual salary is $165,000.

That’s up from $150,000, with the bump being part of an across-the-board raise that came for all UL assistants shortly after the Cajuns won their third straight New Orleans Bowl last December.

The only current Cajun football assistants under contract, according to Farmer, are offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue.

Johnson is early in a new two-contract that runs through the end of May 2016. He makes $190,000, which is up from $175,000 after the post-bowl raises.