IU football hires new strength coach

Kevin Wilson has his man.

Wilson added a new head strength and conditioning coach to his staff on Thursday, hiring Keith Caton from Baylor University. Caton spent the last four years as one of the Bears’ strength coaches.

He replaces Mark Hill, who left IU to reportedly take a new position at Kentucky.

Caton has 17 years of experience in strength and conditioning, including previous stops at Western Kentucky, Missouri, Elon, Auburn and Southern Mississippi. He played four years at Southern Miss before moving into a graduate assistant role at USM following his play days in 1999. Caton received his undergraduate degree in exercise physiology during the spring of 1999 and added his master’s in coaching/sports administration in May 2001.

Most recently at Baylor, Caton also taught a master’s level course as an adjunct professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences.

“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to be a Hoosier and to work for Coach Wilson and his staff,” Caton said in a statement. “The leadership that Coach Wilson has shown has set IU up to be a successful program not only in the Big Ten but nationally. I am truly honored to be a part of Hoosier Nation and cannot wait to get to work. Go IU!”

The job of the strength coach has taken on a more valuable role in programs during the last few years. While head coaches and assistants/coordinators are limited in the amount of time on task they can have with players, a strength coach often has more liberties to work with the team. They are present in the weight room, locker room and throughout the facility, and often spend more time with players than any other coach.

While speaking Wednesday about the importance of fixing IU’s defense, Wilson said he hoped to change the culture of the defense behind the scenes. That starts, Wilson said, through the strength and conditioning realm.

“(We have) to have a better environment from the strength room to enhance the defensive culture,” Wilson said. “To me, that (culture) is our Achilles heel right now. We’ll address that more than scheme.”

8 comments

  1. The last paragraph and what I heard in his PC yesterday implies Wilson won’t be making anymore staff changes. Besides youth in some areas he believes part of the problem with the D is culture not scheme. Caton is young, experienced and full of energy. Sounds as though he wants Caton to be that mean som-bitch to help stiffen up the mental aim and focus of the corresponding players who need it. I”m pretty certain it will work as he has them under his thumb more than anyone else. They will take on his persona and visual as they’ll be seeing it everyday..

  2. This may be a very good get, familiar with the Southern MS program. He graduated at a time when they had the reputation of coaching up players coming in under the radar to do great things. Think Bret Farve, Ray Guy and many others. Program coming back from a few bad years, but had the history of giving notable programs such as Alabama and Florida State more than they wanted.

  3. When you’re hiring coaches that were previously employed by top 5 or top ten programs like Baylor, you’re probably making a very good hire. And the fact that this man realizes that the IU job is a major promotion in his career suggests he will be around a while.

    As for the defense, aside from getting these players bigger and stronger, how bout we teach them how to tackle, shed blocks, and fill the right gaps. Then we can worry about the culture and schemes. IU’s defense is still lacking in the key fundamentals for defense.

  4. Seems like a good selection. However, why would he leave a program that has been resurrected from the ashes and is one of the best in the country now?

  5. @WaltD

    The titles can get a little convoluted, but I believe he is technically getting a promotion here. He essentially ran the show for football at Baylor, but there was a guy a step up the ladder there who had some administrative duties as well.

  6. WaltD, first, it’s a major promotion for Caton, and probably double the money. Second, have you ever spent much time in Waco, TX? I love Texas in general. There are a lot of great communities throughout the state. But to be kind, let’s just say I believe most people would find living in Bloomington to be a major upgrade over living in Waco. They do have great Mexican food there, though.

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