Only the most savvy BYU football fans had a clear idea of ââwho Kevin Clune was when he officially joined Cougar’s coaching staff last February, since he had never had a leading role in as a player or coach in Provo.
His connection to the BYU program was more subtle.
Not only had he been a volunteer defensive analyst for the Cougars in 2020, he had also prepared many teams to face the Cougars over the past few years during a coaching career that included stopping in Utah (graduate assistant), Southern Utah, Weber State, Utah State, Hawai’i, Oregon State and Memphis.
Even with all of this experience, however, even Clune referred to the path he took to his current position as “unplanned.”
âI started hanging out here as soon as the Navy and Army games were inked last summer,â Clune said on BYU Football Media Day in June. âI was in Memphis and we played hard against Navy for two years, so I had some ideas on optional defense. I wanted to help. It grew from there and I started showing myself everyday. .
Part of the reason for Clune’s decision stems from the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
âI sold my house in Memphis and wanted to move west,â Clune said. âI didn’t know what was going to happen, but I didn’t want to get stuck away from everyone I knew. I was going to California but it was so confined that I ended up staying in Utah. It was crazy.”
He said one of the best moments of the transition was seeing what BYU has done on the pitch to start the 2020 season.
“I kind of introduced myself and the kids could have been like, ‘Who is this guy? “” said Clune. âBut they were open. For the Navy game, when they came out to play and play hard, it was like, wow, that was awesome. It was a great moment. We had some big wins last year.
Moving from his role as an analyst to a full-time coach, Clune said he felt like he had found a home.
âWorking with great friends and people I love, family type people, has been great,â said Clune. âThe big surprise was that the kids in the linebacker hall are great kids. I can’t say enough about them. Every day has been wonderful. I didn’t think I would like to work here so much. These kids really set it apart from other jobs.
BYU sophomore linebacker Max Tooley told Media Day that Clune has already shown he will be a valuable addition.
âIt’s a lot different than it has been in the past, having someone regularly as a linebacker coach,â Tooley said. âWe’ve always had a different coach, but now we have this coach who is always with us. He’s a great coach, a very involved person. He always wants the best for us. It’s good to have that consistency in the linebacker room.
Tooley believes his guys will be able to maximize the benefits of this instruction as they already bring a lot of experience to the table.
âA lot of guys have played last year or the year before,â Tooley said. âMost of us have been in games so I think having a coach who has a lot of experience as a coach, the combination of those two has a lot of positive outlook. I think we’ll be a well-formed group and the pieces will really come together. “
Clune has high expectations for BYU linebackers and expects them to take care of business with their assignments in 2021.
âIt means we produce the way we should and limit our mistakes,â Clune said. âThe other area is leadership. When there is an emotional high or low, can we get back to target quickly. I will be putting a lot on these guys. My personality is something unique, something that they had not yet dealt with. I believe they can handle it. The ups and downs of the team, I’m going to put a little bit to it. I’m going to give them a huge responsibility to do their best and then hold them accountable. I think these children can go a long way.
Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or [email protected] Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.