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Oregon Football

Yates Hire Now Official

February 23, 2021

Via Oregon Communications

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal officially announced Marcel Yates as the program’s secondary coach and pass game coordinator on Tuesday. Yates has worked with defensive backs for 18 of his 20 seasons as a college coach and has served as a defensive coordinator eight of the last nine seasons.

“Marcel is a tremendous addition to our Oregon football family, as he is a high-character individual who brings a high level of experience and expertise to our program,” Cristobal said. “Marcel has a well-earned reputation as a teacher who accelerates the development of the players he coaches, and he also has a track record as a top recruiter. We appreciate the opportunity to add Marcel to our staff and know he will have a strong impact both on our secondary and our program as a whole.”

Yates has spent the last five seasons working in the Pac-12 Conference, first as the defensive coordinator at Arizona and last season as the defensive backs coach at California. Before that, Yates spent 11 seasons working at Boise State and two seasons as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Texas A&M. During his time in Boise, he worked with the secondary during all 13 seasons while holding the title of defensive coordinator from 2014-15 and pass game coordinator in 2011.

“I am excited to make the move to Eugene and join a great coaching staff,” Yates said. “Coach Cristobal and I talked during the process about his vision for the program and it fits what I want to do. Winning the national championship is the goal that we both want to reach. My relationship with Coach (Tim) DeRuyter also played a big part in making the decision to become a Duck an easy one.”

Yates started his career at Montana State where he worked as the assistant defensive backs coach for a Bobcats’ team that advanced to the NCAA 1-AA Playoffs in 2002. That postseason appearance was the first of many for Yates with bowl appearances coming in 14 of his 18 seasons coaching at the FBS level, including a pair of Fiesta Bowls.

Additionally, the associate head coach/offense title has been added to offensive line coach Alex Mirabal, and the title of co-defensive coordinator has been added to inside linebackers coach Ken Wilson.

California (2020)

After four seasons at Arizona, Yates served as the defensive backs coach at California last season. While at Cal, he coached a pair of all-conference cornerbacks despite the team being limited to just four games because of COVID-19.

The league’s coaches named Camryn Bynum first-team all-league before the Golden Bear cornerback went on to play in the Senior Bowl where he had five tackles. Josh Drayden joined Bynum on the all-conference team claiming honorable mention honors.


Arizona (2016-19)

Yates spent four seasons as the defensive coordinator with the Wildcats while working with corners, safeties and linebackers during his time in Tucson.

At Arizona, Yates coached three players who earned freshman All-America honors in 2017, including Colin Schooler, who was also named the Pac-12 Conference Defensive Freshman of the Year. Schooler earned freshman All-America accolades from five different organizations (FWAA, USA Today,, 247Sports, College Football News), while Tony Fields (, 247Sports) and Kylan Wilborn (FWAA, USA Today) both claimed freshman honors from two outlets. In addition to the freshman All-America honors, six of Yates’ players on defense earned All-Pac-12 honors during his four years with the Wildcats.

In 2017, Yates coached one of the youngest defenses in the Pac-12 Conference. His unit regularly started five freshmen, including linebackers Fields and Schooler, along with rush end Wilborn. Each was a true freshman, with Fields finishing as the team’s leading tackler with 104, which was the most by any UA freshman in over 20 years. Schooler racked up 13.5 tackles for loss (all in conference play), which was the most by a freshman at Arizona since at least 1997. Wilborn registered 7.5 sacks, a tally that led all Power 5 freshmen.

Arizona intercepted 19 passes in 2017 to rank tied for seventh nationally and the most for the program since 1985, while forcing 24 turnovers to tie for 23rd in the country. Redshirt freshman cornerback Lorenzo Burns picked off five passes, which was the second most by a freshman in the FBS, and junior corner Jace Whittaker added three picks for Yates’ starting cornerback duo.


Boise State (2003-2011; 2014-15)

Yates spent a combined 11 seasons coaching at his alma mater with a nine-year stint coaching defensive backs and then a two-year stretch as the defensive coordinator after returning from Texas A&M.

During Yates’ time with the Broncos, BSU won 87.6 percent of its games compiling a record of 127-18. In his nine-year stop in Boise, the Broncos won nearly 90 percent of their games finishing with a 106-12 record.

In Yates’ 11 years at Boise State, the Broncos won double-digit games nine times while never finishing with fewer than nine wins. BSU went undefeated twice winning the Fiesta Bowl both times. In 2009, the Broncos completed a 14-0 season with a 17-10 win over No. 4 TCU (Jan. 4, 2010) and in 2006 the Broncos wrapped up a 13-0 record with a victory over No. 10 Oklahoma (Jan. 1, 2007).

In addition to the two unbeaten seasons, Yates and the Broncos won 13 games one other time (13-1 in 2003), 12 games four times, 11 games once and 10 games one time.  Boise State qualified for bowl games in all 11 of Yates’ seasons on staff, while winning eight championships (7 WAC, 1 Mountain West).

In addition to wins, Yates excelled in developing overlooked prospects into successful college football players and eventually NFL players. From 2007 to 2016, seven of Yates’ defensive backs were picked in the NFL Draft and two more signed free agent deals and went on to long NFL careers.

Of Yates’ seven draft picks, four were selected in the first three rounds with cornerback Kyle Wilson leading the group as a first-round pick by the New York Jets in 2010. Gerald Alexander (Detroit Lions, 2007) and Jamar Taylor (Miami Dolphins, 2003) were second-round selections, while Darian Thompson (New York Giants, 2016) went in the third round. Orlando Scandrick (Dallas Cowboys, 2008) was Yates’ second player picked in the NFL Draft, following Alexander. Brandyn Thompson (Washington Football Team, 2011) and George Iloka (Cincinnati Bengals, 2012) were also selected in the draft. Jeron Johnson (Seattle Seahawks, Washington Football Team) and Chris Carr (Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints) were signed as free agents and went on to successful professional careers.

Yates coached three All-Americans at Boise State, as well as one freshman All-American and 22 all-conference players. Thompson won back-to-back All-American honors in 2014 and 2015, while Wilson earned his honor following the 2009 season. Iloka, who went on to a successful NFL career, claimed freshman All-American honors in 2008.


Texas A&M (2012-13)

Yates spent two seasons as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Texas A&M between his stints at Boise State.

The Aggies concluded the 2012 season, their first in the Southeastern Conference, ranked fifth nationally in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, and won 11 games for the first time since 1998. The Aggies went 9-4 in 2013, finishing the season ranked No. 18 in each poll.


Montana State (2001-02)

Yates began his coaching career as an assistant secondary coach at Montana State. In his second season, the Bobcats won their first Big Sky Conference championship and earned their first trip to the NCAA Division 1-AA Playoffs in 18 years.


Playing Career & Personal

Yates was a four-year letterwinner (1996-99) as a defensive back at Boise State. His playing career at Boise State coincided with the school’s first four as a FBS program and culminated in the Broncos first-ever bowl appearance and bowl win over Louisville in the 1999 Humanitarian Bowl.

Yates earned a degree in social science from Boise State in 2000. He has a son, Eric, and a daughter, Kaybrie.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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