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Head football coach Jeff Tedford promoted former linebackers coach Bert Watkins to defensive coordinator on March 13, 2018. (Fresno State Athletics)

Bert Watts named defensive coordinator

Fresno State’s head football coach Jeff Tedford announced that linebackers coach Bert Watts was promoted to defensive coordinator on Tuesday.

The position was left vacant by Orlando Steinauer on Feb. 22 after one season with the ‘Dogs. He returned to the Canadian Football League earlier in the semester, where he used to coach.

“I have a lot of trust and confidence in Coach Watts as a member of our defensive staff and he will be the right person for the position,” Tedford said. “I was really excited about the progress of the defense last season, and the familiarity with what we are doing and the players’ familiarity with Bert will be great for our team’s overall success.”

In 2017, the Bulldog defense held its opponents to 17 points, 113 yards rushing and 320 total yards per game.

Prior to joining Fresno State football in December 2016, Watts served as UC Davis’ defensive coordinator for four seasons.

Tedford and Watts go way back.

Watts was the leading tackler on Tedford’s first UC Berkeley team in 2002 as well as his starting safety. After his collegiate career as a football player, he became Tedford’s graduate assistant coach for two seasons and contributed to the team’s 10-2 season and berth in the Holiday Bowl.

A search is now underway to fill Watts’ former position as linebackers coach.