NORMAN — Nearly a week before spring practices begin, Bob Stoops completed his 2013-14 Oklahoma staff with Friday's announcement that Jay Boulware will coach tight ends and special teams.
Boulware spent the last four seasons in the same position at Auburn, and comes to Oklahoma after a short stint at Wisconsin, where he was hired in January.
“Jay owns an impressive track record as both a coach and recruiter,” Stoops said in a statement. “He possesses a wide range of coaching experience, competing in some of the nation's toughest conferences.”
Boulware, 40, was born in Oklahoma City and was a Texas offensive lineman in the early 1990s. His coaching career began at his alma mater as a graduate assistant.
He's also coached at Northern Illinois, Arizona, Stanford, Utah and Iowa State. He followed head coach Gene Chizik from Iowa State to Auburn, where he was part of the Tigers' 2010 undefeated, national championship squad.
“I have the utmost respect for coach Stoops and his program at the University of Oklahoma,” Boulware said in the statement. “To have a chance to join the Oklahoma staff is an unbelievable professional and personal opportunity.
“I'm looking forward to the start of spring practice and the chance to work with the talented student-athletes and coaches on OU's roster.”
Boulware joins offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery as the newest members of Stoops' Oklahoma staff. Bedenbaugh came after a two-year stint at West Virginia, and Montgomery spent the past two seasons at Michigan.
The three new coaches replace James Patton, Bruce Kittle and Jackie Shipp, who coached interior offensive linemen, tight ends/offensive tackles and defensive tackles, respectively. All were fired in mid-February.
Last season, tight ends were rarely used in the Sooners' offense. Midway through the 2011 season, promising tight end Austin Haywood quit the team. Then, James Hanna and Trent Ratterree graduated, leaving OU with no returners at the position for 2012.
Junior-college transfer Brannon Green caught a touchdown in Oklahoma's season-opening win at UTEP, but didn't produce consistently enough throughout the year.
Freshman Taylor McNamara had shoulder surgery in October and missed the rest of the season; he was granted a medical redshirt and returns without having lost a year of eligibility in 2013.
Stoops declared converted defensive end Geneo Grissom the starter at tight end during fall camp, but the sophomore was suspended for the UTEP game, eventually switched back to his old position and ultimately started the Sooners' Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M.
Longtime Stoops assistant Bobby Jack Wright was special teams coordinator last season. According to the news release announcing Boulware's hire, he “will also have special teams duties to be further defined at a later date.”
Last season, Auburn's punt coverage unit ranked second in the nation, allowing a four-yard per return average on 70 punts. The Tigers also ranked third nationally in kickoff coverage.