Louisville took its first steps in replacing Greg Brown and Terrell Buckley by hiring former USC defensive backs coach Keith Heyward today. Heyward is the first new coaching staff hire for Bobby Petrino since his return to Louisville for the 2014 season. Heyward's exact duties have not been officially spelled out yet, but he's reportedly joining the Louisville staff as defensive backs coach. With Brown and Buckley, the cornerbacks and safeties were coached separately. If that will continue or if Petrino intends to put them under one coach and hire a coach for a new role remains to be seen.
Heyward, 36, brings extensive coaching and playing experience to the position. He was a cornerback at Oregon State from 1997-2000 and joined the Beavers staff as a graduate assistant in 2005. From 2008-2011 Heyward was the secondary coach at Oregon State. He then took the same position at Washington under then coach Steve Sarkisian from 2012-2013. He followed Sarkisian to USC and from 2014-2015 he was the defensive backs coach and pass game defense coordinator. He was let go when new USC coach Clay Helton opted to remove almost all of the defensive staff once he was named the team's permanent head coach.
Probably most importantly, Heyward brings a record as a successful recruiter. According to 247sports recruiter rankings, Heyward is listed as the primary recruiter for at least eight composite four-star prospects in just his two seasons at USC alone. And a good source that covers the coaching industry recently told me a dependable, ace recruiter is probably more valuable as a position coach than one that is a great technique teacher (ideally, of course, you'd want both). It is a big help to Louisville that they're able to have Heyward in place just ahead of the first of three very big recruiting visit weekends.