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Former USF football coach Jim Leavitt joins SMU staff

Leavitt will be the defensive coordinator for the Bulls’ American Athletic Conference foe. He spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic.
Jim Leavitt, coaching USF in a 2009 game, was the Bulls' first head coach and was there for 13 seasons.
Jim Leavitt, coaching USF in a 2009 game, was the Bulls' first head coach and was there for 13 seasons.
Published Jan. 28

Former USF football coach Jim Leavitt has been named defensive coordinator at SMU, an American Athletic Conference opponent of the Bulls, coach Sonny Dykes announced Wednesday.

Leavitt replaces Kevin Kane, who left after three seasons to become an assistant on the staff of new Illinois coach Bret Bielema.

This is the fourth college job for Leavitt, 64, as a defensive coordinator since being linebackers coach for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14. That followed 13 seasons as the first head coach at USF.

Leavitt went 95-57 at USF, guiding the program from the FCS into the FBS ranks. He reached five consecutive bowl games from 2005 to 2009. He was fired in January 2010 after an investigation found that he had struck a player and interfered with the investigation.

Leavitt spent last season as defensive coordinator at FAU after spending the previous year at Florida State as a defensive analyst, then defensive line coach. He was also defensive coordinator at Colorado (2015-16) and Oregon (2017-18).