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December 9, 2008

Latimore completes defensive staff

Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder has announced that long-time Wildcat assistant coach Mo Latimore has been retained and will tutor the Wildcats' interior defensive linemen.

A former All-American lineman for the Wildcats in the 1970s, Latimore is the longest tenured assistant coach in the Big 12 Conference and will enter his 25th season at Kansas State in 2009.

Latimore has been a fixture at Kansas State since returning to his alma mater in 1994 following a five-year stint at Missouri.

He has played an integral role in Kansas State's ascent to one of the nation's elite programs, helping the Wildcats to nine seasons of nine or more wins and 11 bowl games. He has also been a big reason for K-State's strong presence on defense and has mentored lines that helped the Wildcats rank among the nation's top 10 in total defense several times, including top-5 rankings in 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

During the last 15 seasons, Latimore has helped coach four All-Americans, including first-team honorees Tim Colston (1995) and Mario Fatafehi (2000), two conference Defensive Newcomers of the Year (Fatafehi in 1999 and Tank Reese in 2001) and one conference Defensive Player of the Year (Colston, 1995).

This past season, three Wildcat defenders earned all-conference honors as Ian Campbell, Eric Childs and Brandon Harold all had solid seasons. Campbell earned his third straight all-conference award and left Kansas State as one of the program's best defensive ends. Harold was one of the top freshmen defenders in the country in 2008 and led the nation in sacks and tackles for loss among freshmen defensive linemen.

In 2005, protégé Alphonso Moran received Big 12 all-freshman honors as well as honorable mention freshman All-America accolades from The Sporting News and in 2006 Campbell was selected as a consensus first team All-Big 12 performer as well as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the Houston Chronicle. Campbell again added first team honors in 2007, while defensive end Rob Jackson also garnered all-league accolades this past season.

Campbell's selection to the All-Big-12 first team continued one of the league's most successful trends that has seen Latimore produce 18 all-conference players over the last 15 seasons, including eight first-team selections.

In his first season back at his alma mater, Latimore helped guide the Wildcats to the nation's top ranking in total defense, while also coaching Colston to third team All-America honors from The Associated Press. In 1995, Latimore helped Colston become the first defensive lineman in school history to earn first team All-America accolades and Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Beginning in 1997, Latimore coached at least one all-conference linemen for six consecutive seasons, including three first-team honorees. Fatafehi became the first of two Latimore protégés to earn Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors in 1999.

In 2000, he coached a defensive line that saw three of its four starters (Monty Beisel, Chris Johnson and Fatafehi) earn All-Big 12 honors, while Fatafehi became Latimore's second first team All-American in six seasons. Also, the line recorded 39 sacks and helped the Cats finish fourth nationally in total defense.

Latimore saw his second player, Tank Reese, earn Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors in 2001, as well as first team all-league recognition in both 2001 and 2002. In 2002, Latimore's defensive line anchored a unit that set a school record for rushing defense, allowing only 69.5 yards per game, and led the nation in scoring defense. His 2003 unit helped lead the nation in sacks with 51 as the team finished sixth in the nation in total defense and eighth in scoring defense.

The 2006 campaign brought even more success as Latimore's unit was at the forefront of a defense that led the Big 12 in sacks and ranked sixth nationally with 40, including a school-record 11.5 by Campbell. The 2007 line ranked second in the Big 12 in sacks, again led by Campbell.

Latimore began his coaching career at K-State in 1976 under Ellis Rainsberger as a graduate assistant. After 10 years in various roles on the Kansas State staff, Latimore moved to Texas-El Paso in 1984 under Coach Bill Young, where he coached the defensive line for five seasons. He helped the Miners to the school's first 10-win season in 1988, which cumulated in the school's first bowl game in 21 years - the 1988 Independence Bowl. In 1989, Latimore moved with coach Bob Stull to Missouri, where he coached until 1993.

One of the top lineman in K-State history, Latimore earned third team All-America honors and first team All-Big Eight accolades while also serving as team captain in 1971. He played in the 1971 Senior Bowl and North-South Bowl before being drafted in the seventh round by the New York Jets. He went on to play four years in the CFL with Calgary, Saskatchewan and Hamilton.

A native of Byron, Ga., Latimore, earned his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1976. He is married to the former D'Anne Mitchell. The couple has two children, M.L. and Mallory.


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