Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman completed his inaugural coaching staff in Manhattan on Tuesday with the hiring of Scottie Hazelton as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
“I have known Scottie for a long time and couldn’t be more excited for him to be a part of our staff,” Klieman said of the 23-year coaching veteran. “He is one of the top defensive coordinators in the college game right now and has quickly asserted himself as a rising name in our profession. His experience at all levels of the game, including at Power Five schools and the NFL, and also his familiarity with our schemes makes him a great fit for our program.”
Hazelton comes to Manhattan after a successful two-year run as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Wyoming. Both seasons the Cowboys ranked in the top 25 nationally in total defense and top 30 nationally in scoring defense. Additionally, Hazelton saw 13 Wyoming defenders earn All-Mountain West honors, including four by linebackers.
His 2017 defense was one of the best in the country as the Cowboys led the nation in takeaways, forcing 38 opponent turnovers thanks to a nation-leading 18 fumbles recovered and a No. 2 ranking with 20 interceptions. Wyoming also ranked ninth in scoring defense (17.5 points per game), 13th in pass defense (174.9 yards per game) and 23rd in total defense (335.2 yards per game).
Hazelton’s defensive unit featured three First Team All-Mountain West honorees and nine all-conference players overall, including linebackers Jahmari Moore, Adam Pilapil and Logan Wilson.
Prior to his stint at Wyoming, Hazelton spent the 2014 through 2016 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars as the assistant linebackers coach. In 2016, he was part of a Jacksonville defensive staff that saw the Jaguars rank sixth in the NFL in total defense (321.7 yards per game) and fifth in passing defense (215.2 yards per game). Two linebackers in which Hazelton worked with, Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith, each ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in tackles in 2015.
Hazelton and Klieman worked together at North Dakota State in 2011, which ended a five-year stint in Fargo for Hazelton. He was the defensive line coach from 2007 to 2009 before taking over as defensive coordinator and coaching the linebackers in 2010 and 2011.
During his first season as defensive coordinator in 2010, NDSU’s defense ranked seventh nationally in both scoring defense (18.21 points per game) and turnover margin (+1.07 per game) en route to a quarterfinal appearance in the FCS playoffs. The next season, the Bison defense led the nation in scoring defense (12.73 points per game) as they went on to win their first FCS national championship.
Hazelton moved from North Dakota State to his first Power Five job as he was the linebackers coach at USC in 2012, a year that ended with a Sun Bowl berth. The next year, he served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Nevada.
Hazelton’s coaching career began in 1996 at his alma mater, Fort Lewis College, working with the defensive backs for four seasons and serving as the interim defensive coordinator in 1998. Hazelton served his first stint at North Dakota State from 2000 to 2001 as a defensive graduate assistant before moving into a full-time coaching position at St. Olaf College in 2002 and 2003 where he was the recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach.
Hazelton was hired next at Missouri Southern for the 2004 and 2005 seasons as defensive coordinator and safeties coach. The next year, he coached the linebackers and special teams at Michigan Tech before returning to North Dakota State in 2007.
A native of Thornton, Colorado, Hazelton was a three-year letterwinner at linebacker for Fort Lewis College from 1992 to 1994. He earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Fort Lewis in 1997.
Hazelton and his wife, Brooke, have two daughters, Ava and Sophie, and two sons, Bode and Crew.