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Mizzou hires new defensive backs coach and leader in Tulsa's Aaron Fletcher



 

It was confirmed Tuesday morning by Mitchell Forde of PowerMizzou.com that the Tigers will be hiring long-time Tulsa defensive backs coach Aaron Fletcher to replace David Gibbs who departed from the staff earlier last week for the co-defensive coordinator spot at UCF after Gibbs was essentially passed up on for the defensive coordinator opening at Missouri in favor of Steve Wilks.





Fletcher has coached defensive backs for the Golden Hurricanes for the past six years and before becoming the defensive backs coach at Tulsa, the Texas native spent a couple years in the same position at Houston Baptist University and he was a coach at several major Texas-area high schools before making the jump to the college ranks. The defensive backs unit at Tulsa recorded 21 pass break-ups in 2019 and had the nation's 8th-ranked pass defense in 2018. Fletcher also helped coach special teams at Tulsa where his "block unit" has been top-15 in blocked kicks over the past two seasons.





To get more information on Fletcher, we reached out to journalist Kelly Hines who covers the Golden Hurricanes for Tulsaworld.com. Here's what she had to say about his coaching abilities:


"He's an extremely well-respected coach among the players and he has consistently gotten high-level production from his cornerbacks. What he's been able to do in six seasons at Tulsa is find kids with decent athleticism, speed, and length and develop them into shut-down corners. Reggie Robinson II is an example of that. In 2019, he blossomed into one of the nation's best at defending passes and he became an NFL Draft Pick." (Dallas Cowboys)


On top of his coaching ability, he also appears to be a great mentor to players and a great role model.


"Another thing that has been impressive about Fletcher is his commitment to community activism. He learned about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre after moving here and wanted to do something to educate and create awareness about it, so he started the legacy of Black Wall Street -- a week every October when the University connects North Tulsa in a way that has never been done before. It's a pretty incredible legacy that Fletcher leaves behind."





So not only did Mizzou hire somebody they feel like is a great coach but they evidently also did their research on finding someone that can be a great leader of men and someone the players can always go to.


As far as connections to the staff being a draw for Fletcher leaving Tulsa for Mizzou, Hines told us that she does not know of any connection to coach Drinkwitz or Wilks and that speculation is Fletcher "Was ready for another challenge at a higher level of competition".


One takeaway from the Fletcher hire is that him being a Texas native is a big plus for Mizzou when it comes to recruiting. Former defensive backs coach David had a recruiting connection in Texas and his departure left a void as far as Mizzou's recruiting pipeline in the Texas area. Lastly, the hiring of Fletcher gives Mizzou it's 8th minority coach on staff which leads the SEC. A great achievement for the University. Fletcher is likely the last major addition to the staff in this offseason cycle as Mizzou has now replaced several defensive coaching positions in the wake of large turnover after a disappointing outing from the defense in 2020.








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