Missouri Team News

Missouri fires 2nd-year defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross 2 games into season

DeMontie Cross
Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Missouri defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross has been fired, the school announced Sunday.

Cross’ dismissal comes just one day after the Tigers’ 31-13 loss to South Carolina – only the second game of his second season as coach.

“I am very appreciative of all that DeMontie has done for Mizzou, and am sorry that this did not work out, however, after careful evaluation, I believe it is important to make this change now,” Missouri coach Barry Odom said in a statement.

Under Cross, the Tigers dropped from sixth in total defense in 2015 to 118th last season. Currently, they rank 90th in total defense (425.5 yards per game) and 114th in scoring defense (37.0 points per game).

Against South Carolina, Missouri gave up 359 yards of total offense; in its season-opening 72-43 win over FCS foe Missouri State, it allowed 492 yards.

Prior to his dismissal, Cross, who also was Missouri’s inside linebackers coach, was stripped of his defensive play-calling duties seven games into the season and replaced by Odom himself. During the offseason, Odom hired his brother Brian Odom to coach the outside linebackers when Cross previously had been the Tigers’ lone linebackers coach.

It’s unclear who will take over in Cross’ role, though secondary coach Ryan Walters already held the title of co-defensive coordinator. Barry Odom was Missouri’s defensive coordinator during the 2015 season under former coach Gary Pinkel.

Cross was hired by the school in December 2015 following a three-year stint as linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator at TCU. He later signed a three-year contract worth $600,000 per year in September 2016.

Cross previously was Missouri’s outside linebackers coach from 1998-99 before stints with Sam Houston State, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Kansas and TCU. He also served as an assistant with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

Cross played safety for the Tigers from 1994-96 and ranks second in school history in career tackles.

(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)

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