Reports: Vanderbilt football hires Inoke Breckterfield as defensive line coach

Inoke Breckterfield spent the last six seasons as Wisconsin’s defensive line coach.


Inoke Breckterfield as defensive coordinator of the Wisconsin Badgers. (Wisconsin Athletics)

Simon Gibbs, Sports Editor

Vanderbilt football has reportedly hired Inoke Breckterfield as its new defensive line coach, as first reported by Bruce Feldman. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel later confirmed Feldman’s report through a source.

Breckterfield would replace Jovan Haye, who spent two seasons as the Commodores’ defensive line coach. Haye, a Vanderbilt alumnus and former teammate of Clark Lea’s, could also be moved to a different role.

Breckterfield is currently the defensive line coach at Wisconsin, a position he’s held for six seasons. Under Breckterfield’s tutelage, Wisconsin has developed an elite defensive line; in 2015—his first season as defensive line coach—he helped the Badgers piece together the nation’s top defense, ranking first in scoring defense (13.7 ppg) and second in total defense (268.5 ypg). Among his Badger products are Alec James and Conor Sheehy, both named second-team All-Big Ten selections as seniors in 2017, a season in which the defense ranked second nationally in total defense (262.1 ypg), third in scoring defense (13.9 ppg), third in rushing defense (98.4 ypg) and first in passing efficiency defense (96.4). His stout defensive units only improved, as his trio of defensive linemen notched 17 tackles for a loss and 10 of the Badgers’ school-record 51 sacks in 2019, ranking second in the nation.

Prior to his arrival at Wisconsin, Breckterfield served as the defensive tackles coach at Pittsburgh, defensive line coach at UCLA and defensive line coach at Montana. While at Pittsburgh, Breckterfield coached Aaron Donald, who went on to be named a unanimous All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Through his seven-year NFL career, Donald has been named to seven Pro Bowls, won Defensive Rookie of the Year his freshman year (2014) and is a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

While coaching the defensive line at UCLA, Breckterfield worked alongside Vanderbilt’s new head football coach, Clark Lea, who coached UCLA’s linebackers.