SDSU Football’s Zach Arnett Named Defensive Coordinator

Zach Arnett has been named the team's defensive coordinator.
Jan. 23, 2018

SAN DIEGO - Zach Arnett, who has spent his entire career playing and coaching for San Diego State football head coach Rocky Long, has been promoted to defensive coordinator.

Arnett, who also coaches the Aztec linebackers, has helped the SDSU defense rank among the best in the country over the last three seasons, including first in turnover margin (+43) and interceptions (63), third in rush defense (116.3), turnovers forced (83) and interception touchdowns (10), sixth in total defense (305.5), seventh in scoring defense (18.9) and 12th in pass defense (189.2).

Since 2015, San Diego State also ranks sixth in FBS play in winning percentage (.780) and victories (32). Additionally, the Aztecs are one of just seven schools to win at least 10 games each of the last three seasons (also Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin).

Under his guidance, Arnett has coached six all-Mountain West linebackers since 2012, including three-time selection and current New York Giant Calvin Munson, two-time all-MW pick Jake Fely, and honorable-mention selections Josh Gavert (2014), Nick Tenhaeff (2013) and Derek Largent (2012). Last season, junior Ronley Lakalaka earned second-team all-league accolades after leading the squad with 82 tackles to go along with 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and five quarterback hurries.

Arnett was promoted to linebackers coach in the spring of 2014 after spending three years as a defensive graduate assistant from 2011-13.

Prior to his arrival on The Mesa, Arnett played collegiately for four seasons at New Mexico under Rocky Long, serving as team captain during his senior campaign. In 47 games, Arnett recorded 200 tackles, four sacks, six forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. His best year was 2008 when as a senior he had 92 tackles (11 TFL) and six forced fumbles, which tied a MW record and tied for the most in FBS play.

Arnett also excelled in the classroom at UNM, earning first-team Academic All-American honors in 2008 and finishing his career as a four-time MW Scholar-Athlete and four-time MW all-academic pick.

Arnett attended La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, competing in both football and baseball. Arnett, who was originally awarded a scholarship to play baseball at New Mexico, was a two-time all-state pick at linebacker in football and a three-time all-state selection at catcher for the baseball team.

Arnett earned his bachelor’s degree in history from UNM in 2009.

Arnett lives in San Diego with his wife, Emily.

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