Seventh Year at OSU
Coach Gundy, Cowboys previews the upcoming Big 12 opener against Texas Tech
Coach Gundy and the Cowboys preview Saturday's game against UTSA.
Coach Gundy previews the Cowboys' 2014 home opener
Justin Gilbert's two interceptions lead the way for Orange squad.
Cowboys hosted media availability session.
Under Spencer's watch, the Cowboy defense was a crucial component in OSU going 10-2 during the regular season for only the sixth 10-win season in school history, but the third in a span of four seasons.
A 2013 nominee for the Broyles Award given to the nation's top assistant coach, Spencer oversaw a significant improvement in Oklahoma State's defense from 2012 to 2013. In Spencer's first year as defensive coordinator, the Cowboys limited opponents to 20.0 points per game, down from 28.2 points per game the year before he took over.
He has led perhaps the most impressive defensive turnaround in the nation this season. The Cowboys rank in the top 25 nationally in scoring defense (14th), turnovers gained (seventh), passes intercepted (fourth), red zone defense (fifth), pass efficiency defense (ninth), tackles for loss (15th), third-down conversion percentage defense (seventh) and rushing defense (22nd) just one year after ranking in the top 25 nationally in only one of those categories (tackles for loss - 25th in 2012).
Cornerback Justin Gilbert was a 2013 finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation's top defensive back and he was joined by defensive tackle Calvin Barnett and linebacker Caleb Lavey on the 2013 first-team All-Big 12 squad as chosen by the Associated Press. Linebacker Shaun Lewis was a first-team All-Big 12 honoree as selected by the Big 12 coaches.
The Cowboys have become one of the Big 12's elite teams with Spencer on the staff, as OSU has amassed a 59-18 record since he came to Stillwater prior to the 2008 season. OSU won a share of the Big 12 South title in 2010 and won the Big 12 outright in 2011. The Cowboys appeared in - and won - their first-ever BCS bowl game in 2011 with a victory over Stanford in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Spencer's linebackers helped lead the way for OSU to lead the Big 12 in red zone scoring defense, rank third in rushing defense, fourth in pass efficency defense and second in third-down defense in 2012.
In just two years under Spencer's guidance, linebacker Alex Elkins went from not playing high school football to leading OSU in tackles during the 2012 season.
The Oklahoma State defense has been among the nation's most opportunistic since 2009, as the Cowboys have forced 160 turnovers to lead the nation. OSU ranked No. 1 in the country with 44 turnovers forced in 2011, was fifth with 34 in 2010 and was seventh in 2013 with 30.
Oklahoma State led the nation in turnover margin and fumbles recovered and ranked second in the nation in passes intercepted in 2011. OSU led the Big 12 in scoring defense in conference games and was 12th nationally in red zone defense.
Under Spencer's guidance, middle linebacker Orie Lemon exploded onto the national stage in 2010. A first-team All-Big 12 honoree, Lemon ranked third in the Big 12 and 18th in the nation with 10.2 tackles per game. His 101 solo tackles led the Big 12 and ranked third nationally. Lemon finished with 133 total tackles. In his three previous seasons combined prior to 2010, Lemon had 96 tackles.
Spencer was part of a defensive coaching staff that helped OSU improve to 31st nationally in total defense and a group that ranked 11th nationally in rushing defense in '09.
Before coming to OSU in 2008, he spent the previous three seasons as assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach at Duke.
During his time with the Blue Devils, Spencer coached John Talley to first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in both 2005 and 2006. He did remarkable work on the recruiting front for Duke, helping the Blue Devils land the nation's No. 31 class in 2005 and the No. 36 class in 2006, according to Scout.com.
Prior to his arrival at Duke, Spencer coached the defensive line at Georgia Tech in 2002 and 2003 and served as the Yellow Jackets' running backs coach in 2001. With Spencer coaching the defensive line, Georgia Tech ranked 12th nationally in rushing defense, 20th in total defense and 27th in scoring defense in 2003 and placed a pair of representatives on the All-ACC squad. Eric Henderson earned first-team recognition after leading the conference with 11 quarterback sacks and logging 24 tackles for loss, and Travis Parker earned honorable mention honors. In addition, Spencer coached Mansfield Wrotto to Freshman All-America honors.
Spencer coached All-ACC tailback Joe Burns in 2001, helping Burns to become just the fifth 1,000-yard rusher in Yellow Jacket history.
During his time with Georgia Tech, he coached the Yellow Jackets in the Silicon Valley Football Classic in 2002 and the Seattle Bowl in 2001. He helped Georgia Tech to an appearance in the 2003 Humanitarian Bowl, but did not coach in the game as he accepted the assistant head coach job at Duke following the regular season but prior to the bowl game.
Prior to his time at Tech, Spencer spent 11 seasons at West Georgia, highlighted by a successful three-year run as head coach from 1998-2000. Spencer compiled a 28-7 record that included Gulf South Conference championships and NCAA Division II playoff appearances in 1998 and 2000. The American Football Coaches Association honored him as the NCAA Division II Region Coach of the Year in 1998 after he coached the Braves to a 10-2 record. He led the team to an 8-3 mark in 1999 and a 10-2 record in 2000 and left West Georgia with a Gulf South Conference-record .800 winning percentage.
Spencer started his coaching career as an assistant at West Georgia in 1990. He coached the defensive line and linebackers for seven years before taking over as defensive coordinator in 1997 when the Braves captured the school's first Gulf South Conference title while establishing a single-season school record for scoring defense.
A native of Douglasville, Ga., Spencer graduated from Lithia Springs High School before lettering four seasons as a defensive tackle at Georgia Tech from 1982-85. He helped the Yellow Jackets to a 9-2-1 mark and a 17-14 win over Michigan State in the All-American Bowl his senior year.
A 1987 graduate of Georgia Tech with a bachelor's degree in management, Spencer has two sons, Luke and Abraham. He and his wife Jeannine were married in July of 2013.
Spencer at a Glance
Year By Year
1990-96: West Georgia, Defensive Line and Linebackers
1997: West Georgia, Defensive Coordinator
1998-2000: West Georgia, Head Coach
2001: Georgia Tech, Running Backs
2002-03: Georgia Tech, Defensive Line
2004-06: Duke, Assistant Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2008-present: Oklahoma State, Defensive Line in 2008, Linebackers from 2009-present, Co-Defensive Coordinator from 2011-12, Defensive Coordinator from 2013-present
2001 Seattle Bowl
2002 Silicon Valley Football Classic
2008 Holiday Bowl
2010 Cotton Bowl
2010 Alamo Bowl
2012 Fiesta Bowl
2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl
2014 Cotton Bowl
Anthony Hargrove, New Orleans Saints
Eric Henderson, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burns, Buffalo Bills
Orie Lemon, Dallas Cowboys
Alfred Malone, Houston Texans
Vincent Rey, Cincinnati Bengals
Gerris Wilkinson, New York Giants