Teegardin races back to coach at Indiana

Accommodations were modest at Wheeling Jesuit University.

There, Kasey Teegardin lived in a campus dorm room while he transitioned into his new job as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at the upstart Division II program. All the while, he had been waiting for his wife, Monica, to join him, but she never did make the move from Bloomington to West Virginia.

She didn’t have to.

After four weeks in Wheeling, Teegardin returned to Indiana last week to accept the vacant safeties coach position on Tom Allen’s football staff.

It’s a job Teegardin was eager to accept. After spending the past four seasons with the Hoosiers, including three as a defensive graduate assistant (2014 to 2016) and one as director of on-campus recruiting (2017), Indiana has become home to the young assistant.

And after a short separation, Teegardin is glad to be back at IU. He replaces Noah Joseph, who left last month to become the safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator at Rutgers.

“This place means a lot,” Teegardin said. “Being here the last four years, being invested in the guys, I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity. Just believing in the program itself, the university, what we’re selling, what Coach Allen’s selling, I’m buying. I’m all in.”

That was apparent to Allen during the two years he and Teegardin overlapped together on the IU staff — and during the initial phone call last month to gauge Teegardin’s interest in returning to Bloomington not long after he left it.

“There weren’t any arms being twisted,” Allen said with a smile.

For Allen, the opportunity to add Teegardin checks a few boxes. For one, there are established relationships between Teegardin and the players. Along the same lines, there are established relationships between Teegardin and his fellow assistants, too. Just as important to Allen is Teegardin’s background beyond Indiana.

Teegardin was the youngest defensive coordinator in the NCAA when he was hired at the University of Charleston in 2010 at the age of 24. Teegardin also coached the secondary at Northwood University in 2011 and coordinated special teams and coached linebackers at Valparaiso in 2012 and 2013.

In recruiting, Teegardin will primarily focus on the East Coast of Florida, along with Central Ohio.

“When you hire coaches, so much is about fit with your philosophy, your staff, the way you want to do things,” Allen said. “He’s just the perfect fit for that for us. He’s a guy that has coordinated, which is something I really wanted at that position because we have so much scheme that involves our safeties.

“The time here gave us a chance to know him. When you hire somebody you’ve worked with and you know really well, you know the person that you’re getting. I think he brings great energy, great passion. He loves IU.”

The feeling seems to be mutual. Teegardin said on his first day back with the program, senior safety Jonathan Crawford greeted him with a big hug.

Even the younger players in the IU defensive backfield have prior relationships with Teegardin.

“I’ve been recruiting Bryant Fitzgerald since he was a sophomore at Avon,” Teegardin said. “That was my first year here, and I had him in camp and know what he’s about. I was here with Juwan (Burgess) and watched him workout. I was part of the group that recruited him.”

And Burgess could grow into an important player for Indiana during the years to come. After Tony Fields and Chase Dutra exhausted their eligibility this past fall, Indiana needs someone to play alongside Crawford at free safety this season.

Sorting that out will be among Teegardin’s top objectives during the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, he’s excited to be back at Indiana working with players that understand him well.

“I walked in on the first meeting on Thursday morning and I told those guys, ‘You know who I am, you know what I’m about,'” Teegardin said. “… I’m not gonna change.”

One comment

  1. I can just imagine all the hate posts on the Wheeling Jesuit football sites ranting about the disloyalty of assistant coaches these days and how cheap the Cardinals’ AD is.

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