Dorrell Completes Coaching Staff
BOULDER – University of Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell completed his coaching staff, filling two remaining vacancies with on being promoted from within, he announced Friday.
Dorrell promoted Bryan Cook to tight ends coach and named Mark Smith as the inside linebackers coach. Cook is beginning his third year on the Colorado staff, originally joining as the director of quality control for the defense on March 1, 2019 under then-head coach Mel Tucker. Smith comes to Boulder from Long Island University (Brooklyn, N.Y.), where he was named the school's defensive coordinator last summer.
Cook replaces Taylor Embree, who was hired by the New York Jets in January, while Smith takes over for Tyson Summers, who was not retained for the final year of his contract. A capsule look at the duo:
Cook is a veteran coach of 21 seasons in the collegiate ranks and came to Colorado from Georgia Tech. He was on the Yellow Jackets' staff as a quality control specialist for the defense in 2018, his third stint with the school, assisting and focusing in particular with the play of outside linebackers. He previously had served as Georgia Tech's quarterbacks and "B-backs" coach (2013-16) and as a graduate assistant with the Yellow Jackets (2001-03).
For the 2017 season, he was the offensive coordinator at Georgia Southern under Summers, who was head coach of the Eagles at the time. During his four seasons on Paul Johnson's offensive staff at Georgia Tech, he helped game plan one of the most dangerous offenses in college football. In 2016, the Yellow Jackets had over 5,000 yards of total offense en route to an 8-win season, one that included wins over Virginia Tech and Georgia in earning a TaxSlayer Bowl bid. Tech featured a top-10 rushing attack nationally and also led the country in yards per completion under Cook's tutelage.
In 2014, Georgia Tech was 11-3 and finished as the No. 8 team in the country, claiming the Coastal Division title in the Atlantic Coast Conference and narrowly missing winning the league title, falling 37-25 to Florida State in the championship game. The Yellow Jackets defeated Mississippi State, 49-34, to win the Orange Bowl. That Tech squad led the nation in rushing offense (342.1 yards per game), both marks shattering the previous school records. The Jackets also led the nation in third down conversion percentage (57.9) and yards per completion (17.8), leading the ACC in 11 offensive categories.
In 2013, Cook saw the Georgia Tech offense put up huge numbers, ranking sixth nationally in rushing yards (299.3 per game), tied for fourth in third down percentage (51.4) and led the nation in yards per completion (18.4). Overall at GT, he coached five student-athletes that received all-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition.
Prior to his second time in Atlanta, he spent four seasons (2009-12) as the co-offensive coordinator at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo, Calif.). He coached the quarterbacks and fullbacks for the Mustangs. Cook spent four years (2005-08) as head coach at West Point Prep in Monmouth, N.J.; he was the defensive coordinator at WPP in 2004 before being promoted to head coach.
His first "tour" at Georgia Tech came over the 2001-03 seasons, when he worked as a graduate assistant coach (under two different head coaches). In 2001, when Tech went 8-5 and played in the Seattle Bowl, Cook helped coach the Yellow Jacket defensive backs and special teams under George O'Leary; in 2002, he coached tight ends under Chan Gailey and helped Tech produce a 7-6 record and a Silicon Valley Classic appearance. Two of the tight ends he coached would go on to have long productive NFL careers: J.P. Foschi (2004-10, eight different teams) and Will Heller (2003-12, four teams). In 2003, Cook worked with the safeties for a team that earned a berth in the Humanitarian Bowl.
Cook lettered in both football and lacrosse at Ithaca College, where he earned two degrees, his bachelor's in Health and Physical Education in 1998, master's in Exercise Science in 2000.
Smith joined the Long Island University staff as its defensive coordinator last summer, but the Sharks did not play any games last fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic (an FCS member, the Northeast Conference is tentatively set to play an abbreviated 4-game schedule later this winter).
He joined LIU from the University of Arkansas, where he was the defensive backs coach and the Razorbacks' recruiting coordinator for the 2018 and 2019 seasons under head coach Chad Morris. He coached players that who matriculated into the National Football League, including Kamren Curl, a seventh round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft by Washington. He also tutored two freshmen backs, Montaric Brown and Jacques McClellion, who would emerge as standout players in the SEC.
As a recruiter, Smith helped land three 4-star defensive backs, corners Greg Brooks and Devin Bush and safety Jalen Catalon. In his first full recruiting cycle as the coordinator, Smith and the Arkansas staff achieved the highest ranked recruiting class (23rd) in program history.
Prior to Arkansas, Smith spent three seasons at Southern Methodist University, where he was an offensive assistant in 2015 and 2016 and a defensive analyst in 2017, all while serving as the Mustang's director of recruiting. He was a part of the staff at SMU that was finally able to overhaul the program from years of frustration and going from a 1-11 squad in 2014 to a bowl-eligible team in three seasons.
He joined SMU from the Texas state high school ranks, as he spent six years at L.D. Bell in the Fort Worth suburb of Hurst (2009-14), the last four seasons as its head coach, in which it earned playoff berths for three straight years. Smith also served as an assistant at Irving MacArthur and Colleyville Heritage high schools in Texas. Smith was a member of the Board of Directors for the Texas High School Coaches Association and served as the President of the North Texas Football Coaches Association.
He was also a defensive quality control coach for the University of Oklahoma for the 2008-09 academic year, working particularly with the linebackers. It was at OU where he first worked alongside Wilson.
Smith, a native of Abilene, Texas, earned his bachelor's degree in Behavioral Science from Hardin-Simmons University in 2000, where he lettered three years (1997-99) as a placekicker for the Cowboys in football, earning first-team All-American honors as a senior in addition to being named first-team All-American Southwest Conference honors three times. He scored 206 points, at the time ending his career as the Cowboys all-time leading scorer (143-152 PAT, 21-30 FG). He earned his master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2004.
Colorado was 4-2 in Dorrell's first season as head coach, finishing second in the Pac-12 South Division, its second-best since the Buffaloes joined the conference in 2011. CU earned its first bowl appearance in four seasons, and Dorrell earned Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors and the Football Writers Association of America's "First First-Year Coach of the Year" accolades.