Former Ohio State star linebacker James Laurinaitis has been promoted to linebackers coach rounding out the Buckeyes' 2024 coaching staff, head coach Ryan Day announced Thursday. Laurinaitis was a graduate assistant for the program last season after filling a similar role for Notre Dame in 2022.

The former three-time All-American played eight seasons in the NFL after his storied four-year playing career with the Buckeyes under Jim Tressel from 2005-08. Coaching linebackers will be a natural step for Laurinaitis, considering that he is one of the best to ever play the position at Ohio State.

After playing sparingly as a freshman, he racked up 366 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and nine interceptions during his final three seasons with the program. He was twice named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and also earned the Butkus Award and Bronco Nagurski Trophy before he was selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Laurinaitis, 37, dabbled in media after retiring from the NFL following the 2016 season. In 2022, he joined former Ohio State teammate Marcus Freeman's support staff at Notre Dame. After one year there, he jumped to Ohio State. 

Day also announced defensive coordinator Jim Knowles' contract has been extended through the 2026 season. Other Ohio State staff notes include:

  • Tim Walton has been promoted to assistant head coach in addition to his role as secondary coach. His contract has been extended through 2026.
  • Associate head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson received a new contract through the 2025 season.
  • Tight ends coach Keenan Bailey has been extended through the 2025 season.
  • Tony Johnson has joined the staff as senior analyst.