Elmassian returns to Purdue as LBs coach

I'll have a reaction on Purdue's Keith Smith being denied a sixth year of eligibility very shortly, but first things first.

Purdue has finalized its 2011 coaching staff with a familiar face. Phil Elmassian, who coached the Boilers' defensive backs in 2003, is returning to West Lafayette as the team's new linebackers coach.

Elmassian replaces DeMontie Cross, who last week left for a post with Wisconsin after spending less than a month on the Boilers' staff. A veteran assistant who has held defensive coordinator posts at several FBS programs, Elmassian comes to Purdue from Illinois State, where he worked under former Boilers assistant Brock Spack as the Redbirds' assistant head coach/secondary coach.

“We are excited to have Phil rejoin Boilermaker Nation,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said in a prepared statement. “Our goal was to find the best defensive coach, and he fits that bill. He has a true passion for football, and his energy and enthusiasm for the game will be contagious to our team. He demands the best from his players and will be an immediate difference-maker towards winning. Having worked with [defensive coordinator] Gary Emanuel and [defensive backs coach] Lou Anarumo in the past, he is familiar with our staff and our defensive game plan. That familiarity will provide a smooth transition and immediate continuity for our team.”

Elmassian's familiarity with Purdue and his extensive résumé make him a sensible choice. He has held coordinator posts at West Virginia, Boston College, Virginia Tech, LSU and Louisiana-Monroe and coached defensive backs at places like Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Virginia.

Although most of his experience has been with defensive backs, he coached linebackers at both Marshall and Virginia.