Noah Joseph grew up in the heart of Big Ten territory in Zanesville, Ohio, where his family threw Rose Bowl parties instead of Super Bowl parties.
That connection played a role in North Texas safeties coach and recruiting coordinator making what he called a tough decision to leave UNT after two seasons to join Indiana’s staff as its safeties coach.
Indiana officially announced the move on Thursday afternoon.
“Coaching in the Big Ten was attractive and so is coaching at Indiana, which has an exciting team,” Joseph said. “They are on the verge of a turnaround like we had last season.”
Joseph played a key role in UNT’s breakout season in 2013, when the Mean Green finished 9-4 and beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in its first bowl game since 2004. Joseph coached Marcus Trice, who was a first-team All-Conference USA selection, and Lairamie Lee, an honorable mention pick.
“Noah is a heck of a young coach,” UNT coach Dan McCarney said. “I got him into Division I coaching and am happy for him. I appreciate what he has done to help us turn the program around.”
Joseph came to UNT from Montana State.
“North Texas was great,” Joseph said. “The players were terrific to work with and so were the coaches. I owe a lot to Mac and [UNT defensive coordinator] John Skladany. It was hard to leave because of those guys and the rest of the coaching staff.”
Joseph said that his opportunity to join the staff at Indiana developed quickly over the last few days.
Joseph’s move to the school that is just four and a half hours from his hometown sets up what will be an interesting reunion next season when the Mean Green travels to Indiana to face the Hoosiers on Oct. 4. Joseph said the game will be an odd one for him, but what could be an uncomfortable situation for a day could not outweigh the long-term opportunity at Indiana.
“Noah is a dynamic, energetic coach who is a great fit in our secondary and a very good recruiter,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said in a prepared statement. “He has an impressive pedigree, tremendous enthusiasm and has experienced success at every stop in his career.”
Joseph believes that while his stop at UNT wasn’t a lengthy one, he and the Mean Green’s staff made an impact on the program during that time.
“The perception of North Texas has changed,” Joseph said. “It’s not the last place players want to go any more.”
UNT is quickly becoming a place where college coaches are looking for up-and-coming assistants. UNT’s cornerbacks coach Ryan Walters left the program earlier this month to join the staff at Memphis.
UNT has now lost three defensive assistants since the end of last season. Defensive line coach Mike Nelson retired and was replaced by former South Florida assistant coach Kevin Patrick.
UNT has yet to replace Walters and will now take its time to ensure that its two new secondary coaches will work well together.
“There is tremendous interest,” McCarney said. “We have great high school football in Texas and there is a lot of attention on us because of what we have done.
“We will announce the two hires at the same time. I want them to be able to work well together.”
McCarney said he sees the departure of both Joseph and Walters as a sign that he has hired and developed quality assistant coaches. He believes both have a bright future.
“We wish Noah well,” McCarney said. “There is no doubt he is going to be a coordinator some day.”