University of Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck announced changes and additions to his staff today.
Fleck promoted Joe Rossi from quality control assistant to defensive line coach and also announced the hiring of Clay Patterson, who will serve in a to-be-determined on-field coaching role. Fleck also announced that Bryce Paup, who coached the defensive line in 2017, is now the team's pass rush specialist coach and that special teams coordinator Rob Wenger will also coach outside linebackers.
In addition, Fleck promoted David Parker from graduate assistant to quality control assistant to fill the void created by the Rossi promotion. Donald Celiscar and Michael Priefer Jr., also joined the staff as graduate assistants. Celiscar, who played for Fleck at Western Michigan, will work with the defense while Priefer, who is the son of Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Priefer, will work with special teams.
Rossi joined the Minnesota staff in January 2017 as a quality control assistant and brought with him a wealth of defensive knowledge. Rossi spent 2012-15 at Rutgers, which included two years as the defensive coordinator. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2014 after serving in an interim role in 2013 and held the position until after the 2015 season. He was the special teams coordinator at Rutgers from 2012-13.
In addition to Minnesota, Rossi previously worked with Gopher defensive coordinator Robb Smith at Rutgers (2012) and at Maine (2007-08).
Patterson comes to Minnesota after serving as head coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M for two seasons. The Morris, Okla., native led the Norseman to a 9-3 record last season as the program claimed its first SWJCFC championship since 2003 and played in its first bowl game since 2012. For his efforts, Patterson earned conference coach of the year honors. Prior to his time at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Patterson spent three seasons at Trinity Valley Community College as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and six seasons at Texas A&M University-Kingsville as the offensive coordinator.
Parker joined the Minnesota football staff as a graduate assistant in March 2017. He worked on the defensive side of the ball and came to Minnesota after working with Smith at Arkansas as a quality control assistant.
Celiscar started 40-of-48 games at Western Michigan from 2011-14 and spent his final two seasons playing for Fleck. He finished his Bronco career with 10 interceptions, 45 pass breakups and 247 tackles. Celiscar and teammate Ronald Zamort led the nation in passes defended per game (1.6) in 2014. He spent time with the Indianapolis Colts in 2015, but did not compete in any games.
Celiscar played against Minnesota in TCF Bank Stadium in 2012. The then-sophomore made six tackles (five solo) for the Broncos.
Priefer attended University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and played defensive back for the Blugolds. He played in 20 career games and made 37 tackles. He also made four tackles for loss, had two interceptions and broke up one pass. As a senior in 2017, he played in 10 games and made eight tackles while breaking up one pass.
Priefer attended Mound Westonka high school in Mound, Minn., before heading to Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
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