COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus, Ohio native Al Washington, who played on and coached on Boston College teams that included Ryan Day on staff and who has significant ties to the Buckeye football program, was named today by Day as the new linebackers coach at Ohio State University.
Washington grew up in and around Ohio Stadium and attended Bishop Watterson High School, graduating in 2002. His father, Al Washington Sr., played linebacker for the Buckeyes from 1977 through 1980 and currently ranks eighth in career tackles with 345.
Washington brings 12 years of college coaching experience with him, including a five-year stay at Boston College (2012-16) where he and Day worked on the same staff. He was a defensive end at BC between 2002 and 2005 and Day was a graduate assistant there for two of those seasons.
“Al Washington is going to be a terrific addition to our coaching staff,” Day said. “I’ve known him as player and as a coach and I know his family very well. I think his familiarity with this region as a coach and as a recruiter is going to be very impactful, as will his leadership with our linebackers unit.”
This past season Washington coached linebackers at Michigan, helping the Wolverines produce the nation’s No. 3-ranked overall defense this season and the second-ranked unit against the pass.
Washington also mentored consensus All-American and Butkus Award finalist Devin Bush, who was the Big Ten’s Woodson-Nagurski Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year. All three of his linebackers earned all-Big Ten honors this past season as Khaleke Hudson and Josh Uche each were named honorable mention all-league by the league’s coaches and voting media.
Washington assisted with special teams, and the Wolverines were tied for fourth nationally in blocked punts, led the Big Ten in punt average and allowed just one kick return all season of 30 yards or more.
Washington came home to Ohio in 2017 when he served as defensive line coach for Luke Fickell at Cincinnati. He helped Marquise Copeland earn honorable mention All-AAC honors as he set career highs with 63 tackles, 8.0 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks.
Prior to Cincinnati, Washington spent five years at his alma mater – Boston College – on both sides of the ball. He coached running backs from 2013 through 2015 before taking over as the program’s special team’s coordinator and defensive line coach during the 2016 season. He began his tenure in 2012 as the assistant special teams coach and assistant defensive line coach.
On the same offensive staff as Day in 2013, Washington helped develop Andre Williams into a Heisman Trophy finalist and the ACC’s first-ever Doak Walker Award recipient. That season, Williams rushed for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns, becoming just the 16th player in FBS history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark.
Over the three seasons that he coached running backs, Boston College ranked first in the ACC with 211.8 yards per game. The Eagles improved their rushing output in each season and broke the school’s season rushing record in 2014.
In his final year at Boston College, Washington moved to the defensive side of the ball and coached the defensive line. With his help, the Eagles were one of the nation’s best units, ranking in the top 10 in total defense, sacks, tackles for loss and rush defense. He coached defensive end Harold Landry, an All-American, who led the nation with 16.5 sacks. Landry was a second round draft choice of the Tennessee Titans.
Washington coached linebackers at Elon in 2011. While there, he developed Joshua Jones into an All-American and All-SoCon selection and Jonathan Spain into a freshman All-American. A two-year stint at Slippery Rock proceeded Washington’s tenure at Elon.
Washington began his coaching career in 2007 as the defensive line coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution (RPI) before a one year stay in 2008 at N.C. State as a graduate assistant.
An outstanding player in his own right, Washington was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner as a defensive tackle for Boston College (2002-05). He finished his career with 74 tackles, six sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. The Eagles won eight or more games in all four of his years and were unbeaten in four bowl games. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in sociology. At Bishop Watterson, Washington was the 2001 co-Defensive Player of the Year in Division II and led the Eagles to the state championship game.
Washington and his wife, Melissa, have a son, Michael, and a daughter, Audrey.