UL-Lafayette’s Melvin Smith promoted to defensive coordinator _lowres

Louisiana-Lafayette co-defensive coordinator Melvin Smith

LAFAYETTE — The Ragin’ Cajuns took another step toward filling out their coaching staff Thursday afternoon when they hired Melvin Smith to coach the defensive backs.

Smith has been coaching in the Southeastern Conference for most of the last two decades, most recently as Auburn’s defensive backs coach for the last two years.

“We’re very excited and fortunate to have Melvin Smith joining our staff,” coach Mark Hudspeth said in a news release. “He has a reputation of being one of the best defensive back coaches in the country with stops at Auburn, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Alabama and Ole Miss.

“He’ll bring a wealth of experience to the defensive side of the ball, and he’s known as one of the top recruiters in the country.”

But Smith was released from the Auburn staff after the Tigers brought Will Muschamp on to serve as defensive coordinator.

Prior to Auburn, Smith spent seven years coaching defensive backs at Mississippi State, where he spent time on the same staff as Hudspeth.

His other big-school stops included Texas A&M (2003-05), Alabama (2002), a previous stint with Mississippi State (1995-01), and Ole Miss (92-94). His first collegiate coaching job came in 1990 with Delta State.

Smith will replace Tim Rebowe, who left his post as defensive backs coach to take the top job at Nicholls State after the Cajuns’ 16-3 win against Nevada in the 2014 New Orleans Bowl.

With Smith’s hiring, the Cajuns will likely use Mike Lucas as the outside linebackers coach. Lucas was hired earlier this week, and Hudspeth said his position group would likely depend on the ensuing moves he made with his staff.

If Lucas works with outside linebackers as is expected, the only unfilled position remaining on the Cajuns’ staff is the defensive line coach. Hudspeth sounded confident that position would be filled soon.

Hudspeth will spend next week at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Louisville, where he plans on talking to candidates for the position.

DB Goodlett signs with Cajuns

Junior college player Christian Goodlett signed a National Letter of Intent during the midyear signing period, Hudspeth announced Thursday.

Goodlett, a 6-foot, 185-pound defensive back, will have two years of eligibility remaining and will participate in spring practice, which begins March 3. The native of Lawrenceville, Georgia, played two seasons at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College where he was a two-time All-Jayhawk Conference honorable mention.

“We’re excited about Christian joining our football team,” Hudspeth said. “He’s going to be able to come in and compete right away for a position. He was highly recruited coming out of junior college and we’re fortunate to get him here. We think he’ll be a great addition to our defense.”

Goodlett earned All-Jayhawk Conference honorable mention honors as a sophomore in 2013 after recording 69 tackles with four interceptions.

NOTES: The UL-Lafayette track and field team opens its season on Friday when it travels to Baton Rouge to compete in the LSU Invitational at Carl Maddox Fieldhouse.

Field events begin at 2:30 p.m. with running events set for 3:30. Live statistics, courtesy of LSU, will be available on RaginCajuns.com. The Ragin’ Cajuns will be joined in the meet by host LSU, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, Texas-Tyler and Hinds (Miss.) CC. The field events are set for 2:30 p.m.