NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt football head coach Derek Mason announced Friday the hiring of Matt Weikert as the Commodores’ outside linebackers coach and the elevation of Jovan Haye to defensive line coach.
“Matt stood out from start to finish among many extremely accomplished candidates throughout our national search,” said Mason. “His defensive IQ is unparalleled. He coaches, thinks and recruits on a different level. Matt understands what makes a Vanderbilt student-athlete special, and we’re very fortunate to have him on our staff.
“Jovan injected a tremendous amount of energy into our program from the first day he returned to campus as a coach. His passion for the game is evident, and he did an excellent job guiding our defensive linemen during spring practice. He is very deserving of the role which he has earned.”
Weikert recently completed his 12th season at Air Force and ninth as outside linebackers coach. Weikert previously coached the Falcons’ outside linebackers from 2007-11 before coaching the defensive line in 2013 and inside linebackers in 2012.
Weikert helped transform the Air Force defense into one of the top units in the Mountain West Conference, ranking among the league’s leaders in defensive scoring, rushing, passing and total defense.
He also oversaw the development of John Rabold as one of the top defensive players in the conference in 2007. Rabold was an all-conference first team honoree, recorded 74 tackles and a team-best 17.5 tackles for loss. Rabold also had 5.5 quarterback sacks and led the conference with four fumble recoveries in addition to three forced fumbles.
In 2009, Air Force had one of its best defenses in school history. The defense led the conference and ranked fifth nationally in pass defense with 154.3 yards/game. The unit was second in the conference and 11th nationally in total defense, allowing just 288.3 yards/game. The team was second in the league and 10th nationally in scoring defense (15.7), Air Force’s best mark since 1998. The defense also scored five touchdowns in 2009.
Weikert served as Wake Forest’s operations and video assistant in 2006 in his second stint at the school. He spent the 2005 season as the outside linebackers coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga. Prior to his work in Chattanooga, Weikert worked at Wake Forest for two years as a graduate assistant. The first year he was the defensive graduate assistant, working primarily with defensive coordinator Dean Hood and linebackers coach Brad Lambert. He was also heavily involved with the scout offense in preparing the defensive unit each week, as well as weekly opponent game planning. He was also an offensive graduate assistant, working closely with offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke.
Weikert originally joined the Wake Forest staff in 2002 as a recruiting intern.
A 2002 graduate of Ohio, Weikert received a bachelor’s degree in communications.
While at Ohio, Weikert was a member of the football team for five seasons, four of which came under the direction of head coach Jim Grobe. He earned all-Mid-American Conference second team honors in 2000 after leading the Bobcats in tackles for loss (16) and sacks (6). Weikert had two interceptions and broke up four passes. His 16 tackles for loss ranked third in the conference.
Weikert, a native of Covington, Ohio, and his wife, Kelly (Graher), have four sons — Laken, Knox, Finley and Major.
Haye, a former Vanderbilt defensive standout and a seven-year NFL veteran, served in a defensive quality control capacity during the 2018 season for the Commodores.
Haye was a two-time captain and 2003 All-Southeastern Conference performer for the Commodores while starting 34 games on the defensive line from 2002-04. He finished his Vanderbilt career with 11 sacks among 149 total tackles.
Haye was selected in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by Carolina. In a professional career that included stops at Carolina, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Detroit, Haye registered 6.5 quarterback sacks among 185 tackles.
A native of Mandeville, Jamaica, who moved to the United States in the first grade, Haye eventually starred as a prep lineman at powerful Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before signing a scholarship with the Commodores.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt in 2007.
Haye and his wife, Jennifer, live in Brentwood. They are the parents of three daughters — Jorielle, Jaiana and Janiyah.