Columbia, Mo. - Alex Grinch has joined the University of Missouri football coaching staff as its newest assistant, and will serve as safeties coach, as announced today by MU Head Coach Gary Pinkel. Grinch returns to Mizzou after serving as part of Pinkel's staff from 2002-04 in a graduate assistant role, and after enjoying a very successful run as an assistant coach after leaving MU.
Grinch, who was part of three national championship teams and who was a third-team All-America safety at Mount Union College in his playing days, has spent the last three seasons as secondary coach at Wyoming, where he helped guide the Cowboys to two bowl games in the last three seasons. He coached there on the staff of Dave Christensen, a former assistant under Pinkel at Mizzou.
Three of his players earned post-season honors in 2011, as the Cowboys concluded the 2011 regular season ranked No. 34 in the nation in pass defense, while they ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference and tied for 5th in the NCAA in most turnovers gained (31). The Cowboys were among the most improved teams in the nation in 2011 as they claimed eight wins - up from three the year before, and the most at UW since 1996. At Wyoming, he helped develop free safety Chris Prosinski into an eventual 4th-round draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to come back to Mizzou," said Grinch. "I had a chance to be part of the early years here with Coach Pinkel and I knew back then that this program would take off. To have a chance to be here and be part of the move to the SEC makes this a really exciting time. I'm very appreciative to Coach Pinkel and the entire staff for welcoming me back - there's not a staff in the country that I have more respect for. I'm excited to work with a good group of student-athletes, and looking forward to helping move the program forward any way I can," he said.
"Alex will be an outstanding addition to our staff," said Head Coach Gary Pinkel. "He brings a lot to the table that our group will benefit from. He's worked hard to become a very successful teacher of the game, and he's someone who will be a great salesman of our program to recruits and families. We're excited that he chose to come back to Mizzou, and we're happy to have him with us," Pinkel said.
Grinch joined the Wyoming staff in December of 2008 after spending four seasons at New Hampshire (2005-08). His first two seasons there, Grinch coached the cornerbacks before being promoted to secondary coach and recruiting coordinator for the 2007-08 seasons. In his four seasons at New Hampshire, the Wildcats won 37 games in four years and advanced to the FCS Quarterfinals three times. They concluded the 2008 season with a 10-2 record and a final ranking of No. 7 in the polls. During his time there, the Wildcats defeated two FBS schools - Northwestern and Marshall.
One of his protégés at New Hampshire, cornerback Corey Graham, went on to become a 5th-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears, and he will be playing in the NFL Pro Bowl this January 29th as a special teams selection.
In his previous time at Mizzou, Grinch was the defensive graduate assistant for the 2003-04 seasons, after serving as administrative graduate assistant in 2002. The Tiger defense ranked second in the Big 12 Conference in total defense in 2004 and led the league that year in pass defense.
Grinch enjoyed an outstanding playing career at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. He was a member of three NCAA Division III National Championship teams at Mount Union in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Over his four-year career, Grinch's Mount Union teams posted a 54-1 record and won four consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference Championships.
His senior season of 2001, he was named a Third Team All-America safety by D3football.com. He also earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors twice during his career from Don Hansen's National Football Gazette. Not only did he receive All-America honors on the field, but Grinch was a First Team Academic All-Conference selection his senior season.
He completed his bachelor's degree in sports management with a focus in marketing and a minor in business administration from Mount Union in May 2002, and earned a master's degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from Mizzou in December 2004.
Grinch was married to the former Rebecca Blaser of Alliance, Ohio on June 28, 2003. Their first child, son Tyler, was born during the Grinches' first year at Wyoming on Nov. 23, 2009. Their second child, daughter Corbi Elaine Grinch, was born on July 8, 2011.