Joining the Mizzou coaching staff for his second tour of duty is Assistant Coach Alex Grinch, who was hired in January of 2012 as safeties coach. Grinch returns to Mizzou after serving as part of Gary Pinkel's staff from 2002-04 in a graduate assistant role, and he comes to Mizzou after a very successful run with other programs.
In 2011, Grinch completed his third season coaching the Wyoming secondary with former Mizzou assistant Dave Christensen. Three of his Cowboy defensive backs earned postseason honors in 2011, as Wyoming reached a bowl game for the second time in three seasons. Senior free safety Tashaun Gipson and junior strong safety Luke Ruff both earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors in 2011. True freshman cornerback Blair Burns was named First Team Freshman All-American by CBSSports.com and Honorable Mention Freshman All-American by CollegeFootballNews.com. Burns was also an Honorable Mention All-Mountain West honoree.
Wyoming concluded the 2011 regular season ranked No. 34 in the nation in pass defense, allowing only 202.2 yards passing per game. The Cowboys ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and tied for No. 5 in the NCAA in most turnovers gained (31 total). UW's defense also led the MW and ranked No. 4 nationally in most fumbles recovered (18) and was No. 3 in the conference and No. 32 in the nation in most passes intercepted (13 total). Individually, Burns tied for No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 23 in the nation in interceptions (4). Gipson tied for No. 4 in the conference and No. 65 in the NCAA in interceptions (3), and Ruff ranked No. 5 in the conference and tie for No. 77 in the nation in tackles (8.1 per game).
In 2011, Wyoming ranked among the Top Five most-improved teams in the nation, and its eight wins were the most by the Cowboys since 1998. UW finished in sole possession of third place in the Mountain West behind only Top 25 teams TCU and Boise State. Wyoming's eight wins included key conference road victories over Air Force and San Diego State. The only two conference losses for the Cowboys came at the hands of the Horned Frogs and the Broncos.
Grinch's first two seasons, he coached former Cowboy free safety Chris Prosinski, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Prosinski was the 121st overall pick in the draft and also earned Second Team All-Mountain West honors his senior season of 2010. For the second consecutive season, Prosinski recorded over 100 tackles and led Wyoming in tackles. He was credited with 108 tackles in his senior season, and concluded his career ranked No. 4 in career tackles at UW with 373.
Grinch joined the Cowboy coaching staff in December of 2008 from the University of New Hampshire. He will be entering his 10th season as a college coach in 2012. In his previous nine seasons coaching at the college level, he helped guide seven of those teams to postseason play, including Wyoming's victory in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl.
Only one starter returned to the Wyoming secondary in 2011, senior cornerback Tashaun Gipson, who earned Honorable Mention All-Conference honors in 2010. Gipson ranked No. 2 in the conference and No. 26 in the nation in passes defended in 2010, averaging 1.00 per game. He also ranked No. 4 in the MW and No. 87 in the NCAA in interceptions, with three picks his junior season.
In 2010, all four starters returned to the Cowboy secondary. That group included 2009 Second Team All-Mountain West free safety Prosinski, Gipson and his older brother Marcell at cornerback and 2009 Freshman All-American Shamiel Gary at strong safety. Prosinski ranked 10th in the NCAA in tackles in 2009, averaging 10.8 per game. His 140 total tackles in `09 ranked as the fourth best single-season total in school history. Gary earned First Team Freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) in `09. He became the first Wyoming Cowboy to earn that honor since the FWAA established the team in 2001. Gary was one of only 28 freshman in the nation to receive the honor. Of those 28 freshman honored, he was one of only 14 true freshmen named to the team.
Grinch coached at New Hampshire for four seasons from 2005 through 2008. His first two seasons at New Hampshire, he coached the cornerbacks before being promoted to secondary coach and recruiting coordinator for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In Grinch's final season at New Hampshire, the Wildcats concluded the season ranked No. 7 in the nation in the final Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches' Poll and were ranked No. 8 in the final Sports Network Rankings. UNH advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2008 FCS Playoffs, defeating Southern Illinois, 29-20, on the road in the first round before losing at Northern Iowa, 34-36, in the quarters.
During Grinch's four seasons at New Hampshire, the Wildcats posted records of 11-2 in 2005, 9-4 in 2006, 7-5 in 2007 and 10-2 in 2008. UNH advanced to the FCS Quarterfinals in 2005, 2006 and 2008. The Wildcats also made it to the First Round of the Playoffs in 2007. The 2005 squad was the No. 1 seed entering the FCS Playoffs after capturing the Atlantic 10 Conference Co-Championship. In 2006, UNH defeated Northwestern of the Big Ten in the season opener. The following season, New Hampshire defeated another Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team in Marshall.
Grinch coached two Second Team All-CAA defensive backs in 2008. Senior John Clements was named Second Team at safety and sophomore Dino Vasso earned Second Team honors at cornerback. In 2007, Grinch coached First Team All-Conference senior safety Jeff Pammer and Second Team All-Conference junior cornerback Clements. The 2006 season saw Clements earn Third Team All-Conference honors as a corner. His first season at New Hampshire, Grinch tutored Second Team All-Conference honoree Corey Graham, a cornerback, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. Graham was selected to play in the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl as a special teams ace. As recruiting coordinator his final two seasons at New Hampshire, Grinch oversaw all of the Wildcats' recruiting efforts.
Prior to his four seasons as an assistant coach at UNH, Grinch was the defensive graduate assistant coach at Missouri for the 2003 and 2004 campaigns, and was an administrative graduate assistant at Mizzou for the 2002 season. The Tiger defense ranked No. 2 in the Big XII Conference in total defense in 2004 and was No. 1 in pass defense. The 2003 season saw Mizzou post an 8-5 record and advance to the Independence Bowl.
Grinch enjoyed an outstanding college playing career at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. He was a member of three NCAA Division III National Championship teams at Mount Union in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Over his four-year career, Grinch's Mount Union teams posted a 54-1 record and won four consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference Championships.
His senior season of 2001, he was named a Third Team All-America safety by D3football.com. He also earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors twice during his career from Don Hansen's National Football Gazette. Not only did he receive All-America honors on the field, but Grinch was a First Team Academic All-Conference selection his senior season.
He completed his bachelor's degree in sports management with a focus in marketing and a minor in business administration from Mount Union in May 2002, and earned a master's degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from Mizzou in December 2004.
Grinch was married to the former Rebecca Blaser of Alliance, Ohio on June 28, 2003. Their first child, son Tyler, was born during the Grinches' first year at Wyoming on Nov. 23, 2009. Their second child, daughter Corbi Elaine Grinch, was born on July 8, 2011.