MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder announced Friday that six-year defensive coordinator Tom Hayes has retired, linebackers coach Blake Seiler has been promoted to Defensive Coordinator and Brian Norwood has been hired as Co-Defensive Coordinator tutoring the Wildcat secondary.
Hayes’ retirement completes a career of more than 40 years in the coaching profession that has spanned nine different Division I schools and two NFL teams. He will remain on staff as a quality control coach through the end of his current contract, which expires at the end of April. Hayes has spent the last seven seasons on the K-State staff, including the final six as the defensive coordinator.
“I am appreciative of so many people at Kansas State and throughout my entire career,” Hayes said. “I am thankful for the opportunity Coach Snyder gave me to come to K-State in 2011 and take over the defense in 2012. I really appreciate the players over all these years – they are hard-working and dedicated. Our administration and support staff have been unbelievable, and our fanbase on game day has been just phenomenal.
“We will miss Manhattan – it is a great town full of great people – but Cindy and I are looking forward to the next chapter in our life.”
Hayes has helped the Wildcats earn a collective 61-30 record since 2011, advance to seven bowl games and pick up a Big 12 Championship in 2012.
“We greatly appreciate Tom and Cindy Hayes, who have been with us for seven seasons and together brought so very much to our program,” Snyder said. “They will both be missed.”
Seiler, a three-year letterwinner for the Wildcats (2004-06), coached the defensive ends from 2013-16 before being promoted to assistant defensive coordinator working with the linebackers this past season.
“We are very fortunate to have coaches like Blake Seiler, who is well prepared to step into the coordinator role,” Snyder said. “Blake is a bright young man, quick learner, hard worker and well-received and trusted by our players. He helped coordinate our defense this past year with emphasis on our run defense. Blake is highly respected by our staff and players for his values as well as his passionate teaching.”
A native of Goddard, Kansas, Seiler began his coaching career as a quality control coach (2009-10) and graduate assistant (2011-12) after spending two years as a structural engineer at Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity,” Seiler said. “I have been blessed to learn under several great coaches during my time here at K-State, with Coach Snyder and Coach Hayes certainly being the most influential. Our defensive staff is excited to prepare for spring practices and the upcoming season.”
Norwood has spent the last three seasons at Tulsa as associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator coaching the safeties. He is no stranger to the Big 12 having spent time at Texas Tech (2010) and Baylor (2008-14).
“I am so very pleased to have Brian Norwood join our staff as our secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator,” Snyder said. “He comes to us highly recommended by many coaches who I highly respect. Brian is truly a K-State type of person. He is a caring, loyal, genuine, disciplined, hard-working and responsible person with the highest value system – a great family man and a man of faith. We are honored to have he and his wonderful wife Tiffiney, along with his children, join our Wildcat family.”
Norwood has coached in 13 bowl games in his 28-year coaching career, which included seven-year stops at Penn State (2001-07) and Baylor.
“My family and I are extremely happy to be coming to Kansas State University, a program that I have always admired from afar,” Norwood said. “It is a consistently competitive and successful program, one that plays hard and with class. Playing against K-State at other institutions I have been a part of, you always know you are going into a fight against a program that does it the right way. I thank Coach Snyder and the staff for selecting me to be a member of the K-State family. I am excited to contribute to a program with such great leadership. I view coaching as a calling, and I thank God for this great opportunity.”
Hayes, who has been instrumental in the Wildcats’ resurgence on defense since 2011, completed his 29th year of coaching experience at the collegiate level in 2017 and participated in his 20th career bowl game when the Wildcats won the 2017 Cactus Bowl.
K-State finished the 2017 season ranked fourth in the Big 12 in scoring defense (25.2 points per game) and third in rushing defense (117.7 yards per game), the latter ranking 13th in the nation and 10th in school history. The Wildcats also tied for second in the league in turnover margin at plus-10 thanks to 23 takeaways, a mark that ranked fourth in the league.
The Wildcats had one of the better defenses in Big 12 history in 2016 as K-State led the league in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense to become the first Big 12 program to rank first in all three categories since 2008 (Texas). K-State allowed only 115.0 rushing yards per game to rank ninth in school history and 11th in the nation, its highest national ranking in the category since 2003. Additionally, the Wildcats posted their highest national ranking in scoring defense since the 2002 season.
Seiler enters his 10th season on the K-State staff in 2018 and sixth as an assistant coach. After coaching the defensive ends from 2013-16, Seiler was promoted to assistant defensive coordinator in 2017 when he began tutoring the Wildcat linebackers.
It didn’t take long for Seiler put his mark on the second level of the defense as he produced a pair of All-Big 12 linebackers in Jayd Kirby and Trent Tanking in his first season coaching the position. They each ranked in the top 10 in the Big 12 in tackles with Kirby finishing eighth (99) and Tanking tying for 10th (97).
A former defensive lineman, Seiler made an impact from day one as an assistant coach, and one has to look no further than the work he did with defensive ends Jordan Willis (2016) and Ryan Mueller (2014), both of whom tied the single-season sack records during their respective All-American seasons.
Under the direction of Seiler for his entire four-year career, Willis picked up Second Team All-America honors from Sporting News and Pro Football Focus thanks to his 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in 2016. Willis also became the first Wildcat defensive lineman to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors and was the league’s Defensive Lineman of the Year prior to being selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Norwood’s time at Baylor included three seasons as the defensive coordinator (2008-10) in which he oversaw a unit that totaled nine All-Big 12 honorees and two All-Americans. During the Bears’ 2013 Big 12 Championship season, Norwood coached First Team All-American Ahmad Dixon, while both of Baylor’s 2011 starting safeties, Mike Hicks and Sam Holl, earned All-Big 12 honors. Holl finished second on the squad with 113 total tackles and Hicks was third with 105, and each had three interceptions. In 2010, Norwood coached First Team All-Big 12 honoreeByron Landor, who totaled 127 tackles.
Norwood will serve under a second Hall of Fame head coach in Snyder as he was an assistant under Joe Paterno at Penn State from 2001-07. During Norwood’s seven seasons in Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions led the Big Ten in pass efficiency defense twice (2004 and 2005) and finished third on two occasions (2003 and 2006). Penn State ranked among the nation’s top 25 in pass efficiency defense four times, including a No. 4 ranking in 2004.
Norwood’s other coaching stops include tutoring the defensive backs at Navy (1995-99), while his first full-time coaching job was coaching the outside linebackers at Richmond (1992-94) after serving two years as a graduate assistant at Arizona (1990-91).
Norwood was a four-year letterwinner at both cornerback and safety at Hawaii (1984-87) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1988. He and his wife, Tiffiney, have five children: Gabriel, Jordan, Levi, Brianna and Zaccariah. Gabriel was a member of George Mason’s 2006 men’s basketball Final Four team. Jordan played eight seasons in the NFL – including the 2015 campaign with the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos – while Levi was a four-year letterwinner at Baylor (2011-14).
Asst. Director/Athletics Communications | K-State Athletics