Wilks, 51, most recently coached in 2019 as Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator. He last coached in college in 2005, when he worked with Washington's defensive backs on Tyrone Willingham's staff. Wilks replaces Ryan Walters, who left to become defensive coordinator at Illinois under coach Bret Bielema.
Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz focused the defensive coordinator search on experienced candidates, several with NFL experience, sources said. Wilks spent the 2002 season as East Tennessee State's defensive coordinator. He entered the NFL in 2006 as Chicago Bears defensive backs coach and worked for the San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers, becoming Panthers defensive coordinator in 2017. In 2018, he went 3-13 in his lone season as Cardinals head coach.
Missouri went 5-5 in 2020, Drinkwitz's first season, and allowed 32.3 points per game and 406.9 yards per game.
Yahoo Sports first reported Missouri's hire of Wilks.