Redskins linebackers coach Lou Spanos is leaving the team to become UCLA’s new defensive coordinator, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed on Tuesday. The LA Times first reported the news.
Spanos, one of Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s longtime friends, joined Washington’s staff when coach Mike Shanahan hired Haslett in Jan. 2010. You might remember seeing Spanos on TV in a bright gold shirt making strange faces and gesticulating wildly as part of signaling to players from the sideline.
He helped oversee a flourishing corps of linebackers that has emerged as one of the team’s greatest assets. Inside linebacker London Fletcher is playing in his third straight Pro Bowl later in January. Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo made the Pro Bowl in 2010 and had a career-high 59 tackles in 2011.
Spanos, who was a defensive assistant for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1995-2009, also helped rookie first-round outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan transition from the defensive end position he played in college. He worked with Kerrigan on such intricacies as pass-rush angles, and Kerrigan finished with 7.5 sacks.