How Darrell Funk Became BYU Football’s Top Choice For Offensive Line Coach
PROVO, Utah – The name Darrell Funk might not be familiar to BYU football fans, but it was one that BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick always knew about.
Funk, a 33-year coaching veteran, is the latest addition to the BYU football staff as he takes over the Cougars offensive line room.
A native of Fort Collins, Colorado, and a former WAC rival of BYU’s at Colorado State, Funk has never coached at BYU previously nor worked with Kalani Sitake or Roderick. So how did he end up at BYU?
Why Aaron Roderick zeroed in on Darrell Funk
“For the last three years, we’ve basically had two o-line coaches,” BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said to KSL Sports. “With Grimey being an offensive line guy, he was our coordinator, but he’s an outstanding offensive line coach. It was Grimey and Ryan Pugh and then Grimey and Coach Mateos. We had six coaches on offense and four on defense.
“Kalani chose this year to hire Kevin Clune on defense, which is an outstanding hire … So I was definitely in favor of adding Coach Clune to our staff. But what that meant for us on offense is that instead of having two o-line coaches, we’re only going to have one. So I definitely wanted to have someone who is experienced. The pool of candidates went from really large to a short number of experienced guys that have sort of been there, done that.”
Funk has a wealth of experience over the past three decades that most recently included a stop at UTSA in 2018 and 2019. He also coached at Colorado State, San Diego State, and Michigan, among others.
In total, Funk has produced 25 NFL offensive linemen in his career, with the highest-graded being former Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, who has started 85 games for the Tennessee Titans. Lewan was a vocal supporter of Funk during the time when the Wolverines were having struggles in the Brady Hoke era.
Last year, Funk was out of coaching. The newest BYU offensive line coach told BYUtv in an interview that he had some job opportunities lined up, then the pandemic hit. Causing Funk to be out of work during the 2020 season. He remained active in football, he invested in software to break down film, and he continued to feed his passion for the game by watching the latest trends at the offensive line position this past season.
A veteran with experience was a top priority
Getting a veteran to coach up the offensive line, a position that has become the foundation of what Kalani Sitake’s program has evolved into since he took over in 2016, was of the utmost importance for Roderick.
“Needing an experienced guy sort of eliminated all of the younger, less experienced coaches this time around,” Roderick said. “There might be a time in the future where a younger guy is a better fit, but in this case, I wanted someone that was a veteran. If we’re in a dogfight game against USC, or Utah, or whoever, I wanted to know this guy’s coached in big games against Ohio State or Wisconsin, or whoever, he’s been there before. And that moment won’t be too big for him.”
Even though Roderick and Kalani Sitake have never worked previously with Funk, they have seen firsthand how Darrell Funk’s offensive line units compete in the trenches.
“Darrell Funk is a guy that I’ve coached against a number of times,” Roderick said. “He was with Sonny Lubick at Colorado State. I have great respect for Sonny Lubick’s teams. Those of you who are old enough to remember those teams, it’s been a while, but Sonny Lubick had a great run, and Coach Funk was his offensive line coach there and then followed that up with some great years with Brady Hoke.
“I coached against Coach Funk at Colorado State, at San Diego State, and Michigan, because when I was at Utah, we played all those teams, and he was the o-line coach. Even though I didn’t know him personally in this profession, you sort of get to know you’re going against each week. You start to learn, ‘hey, you play a Brady Hoke team, you’re in for a fight, and they’re going to be physical and tough.’ So I just knew great things about him and knew a lot of people who knew him over the years. He was kind of one of those guys that was always in the back of my mind.”
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.
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