Part of Mark D’Onofrio‘s pitch to the University of Houston: the time he had away from college football will help him construct a “bad ass defense.”
In a highly complimentary email typed on his iPhone to new Houston coach Major Applewhite, D’Onofrio pledged to “work [his] ass off” if hired, and will coach a group that “knocks the crap out of people.”
Apparently, his pitch worked. Houston hired D’Onofrio, who reportedly spent last year coaching one of his sons at a Boys & Girls Club in Miami, on Jan. 6. According to a memorandum of understanding signed by D’Onofrio — not an official contract, but an acknowledgement of terms — UH was prepared to pay him a base salary of $400,000, plus bonuses.
D’Onofrio, who was not retained by new Miami coach Mark Richt in Dec. 2015, was a regular target of fan criticism during his five seasons with the Hurricanes. The defenses he ran under coach Al Golden produced a couple high draft picks (Artie Burns, Denzel Perryman) but were statistically average to below-average and often came up short in tight games. Missed tackles and finishing games were consistent issues.
In the email to Applewhite, D’Onofrio said both of those issues would be strengths for the Cougars, who lost coach Tom Herman to Texas and promoted Applewhite, his offensive coordinator.
D’Onofrio said he would “offer the good and bad experiences I’ve had if needed.
“I am refreshed and ready to go following a year off. … I’ve had a lot of time to review my 123 games, and watch a ton of games this year.”
He said he has “reflect[ed] on how I can improve in every area. As you know, this can only be done when you have Experience [sic] to reflect on.
“I have a chip on my shoulder to do my part better than I ever have.”
View the documents here:
In other news regarding former Miami coaches: Larry Scott, who went 4-2 as interim coach following Golden’s Oct. 25, 2015 firing, earned a promotion at Tennessee. He is the Volunteers’ new offensive coordinator, after a season as tight ends coach.