Ohio State football makes hirings of new secondary coaches official

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch
Tim Walton

Ohio State made official its hirings of Tim Walton and Perry Eliano as secondary coaches on Friday afternoon.

Walton will coach cornerbacks and hold the title of secondary coach, while Eliano is to coach safeties.

Their additions to the staff were reported the previous day by The Dispatch and other media outlets, part of the shakeup of the defensive coaching staff that included the departures of defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs and linebackers coach Al Washington.

Walton had been an assistant in the NFL for more than a decade, including the last three seasons as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ cornerbacks coach.

His return to Columbus is also a homecoming as he was a cornerback for the Buckeyes in the early 1990s.

“As a former Buckeye captain, he comes here with a deep appreciation for how special this place is,” coach Ryan Day said in a statement. “And, his experience at both the collegiate and NFL levels make him someone who is uniquely qualified to develop the back end of our defense.”

Eliano was for the past two seasons the cornerbacks coach at Cincinnati, where he tutored standouts Coby Bryant and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.

Bryant was the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, and Gardner was a consensus All-American.

“Perry's work the last two years at Cincinnati speaks for itself,” Day said. “He has developed great players and has been a huge part of the Bearcats’ success. He has 15 years of collegiate experience coaching either safeties or cornerbacks and that was the kind of experience we were looking for.”

Before his stint at Cincinnati, Eliano was the special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach at New Mexico in 2018 and 2019 and the defensive coordinator at Bowling Green in 2016 and 2017.

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is the only defensive assistant from last season left on staff under newly hired coordinator Jim Knowles.

Along with the departures of Coombs and Washington, secondary coach Matt Barnes left following the Rose Bowl to become the defensive coordinator at Memphis.

In addition to his coordinator responsibilities, Knowles is in line to coach linebackers in place of Washington.

Knowles is scheduled to make $1.9 million in 2022, but the base salaries of other newly hired assistants have not been made available by the school.

Ohio State could owe Washington as much as $600,000 in buyout pay with his departure from the staff, according to the terms of his contract. The amount is offset by future income.

Washington received a two-year contract extension last offseason that runs through next season.

The deals for Barnes and Coombs were up at the end of this m

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.

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