One long month after Baylor Football head coach Dave Aranda announced the firing of former Defensive Coordinator Ron Roberts and Safeties Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Ronnie Wheat, Baylor Athletics released the news of Matthew Powledge returning to Waco as the new DC! Roberts and Wheat were let go following the Bearsʻ disappointing season where in their six losses, the defense gave up 26, 36, 43, 31, 29, and 38 points to their non-conference and Big 12 opponents. One of the main issues with the defensive group was the secondary and the special teams gave up several plays of their own that turned into foesʻ victories. Powledge previously worked for Baylor as the Safeties Coach/Special Teams Coordinator from 2020-2021 and turned the Safeties corps into national and NFL talent, most visible in Houston Texans S and former Baylor fan favorite Jalen Pitre. According to Baylor Athleticsʻ Jerry Hill (papa), “The safeties shined under Powledge in 2021, helping Baylor establish one of the nation’s leading defensive units, ranking among the NCAA leaders in a bevy of categories, including fifth in interceptions (17) and 14th in scoring defense (19.2 points per game allowed). The stingy Bears held their 2021 opponents to 13.1 points below their season scoring average and on special teams, Powledge helped Baylor rank ninth in the nation in starting field position. On special teams, Ebner was named to four All-America teams as a returner or all-purpose player. Against Kansas, he became the first player in Baylor’s modern history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. Kicker John Mayers also earned All-Big 12 honorable mention honors.” Powledge left the Bears last year to take over co-DC and Safeties Coach duties at Oregon.
On the news of his return, Powledge said, “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to return to Baylor University to work under Coach Aranda. My first experience at Baylor was amazing because of the people – players, staff and support. This is an exciting leadership opportunity for me. I am looking forward to coordinating and leading our defense. My wife, Karina, and I are extremely excited to return back home to Texas. We thank God for this blessing and look forward to many memorable Saturday’s in McLane!” Aranda echoed his sentiment, saying, “We are thrilled to welcome Matt back to Waco. Matt is an elite defensive mind who has a great understanding of our system, on and off the field. His experience both on our staff and elsewhere, paired with his understanding of person over player and his ability to connect with student-athletes, make him an ideal fit to serve as our defensive coordinator.”