PUEBLO, Colo. (March 16, 2017) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo football team is two weeks away from starting spring practice with new faces on the roster and in the coaching ranks. Meet the new CSU-Pueblo Co-Defensive Coordinator Mark Criner.
Mark Criner begins his first season as CSU-Pueblo Co-Defensive Coordinator in 2017 after serving a year as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at University of Rhode Island.
Criner brings a wealth of experience to the coaching staff after serving as a linebackers coach for 14 years and has held the title of defensive coordinator for 13 years. He has also served as assistant head coach during three seasons in his career.
His experience spans NCAA Division I (both FBS and FCS), NCAA Division II and professionally with the XFL. He has coached in three bowl games, which includes a win at the Humanitarian Bowl in 2009 with University of Idaho. While at University of Cincinnati, Criner's 2002 defense ranked 21st nationally in total defense, while the 2003 squad was 27th.
Prior to his season at URI, Criner was the linebackers coach at Lamar University for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He helped guide the Cardinals to an eight-win season, which was the most in program history since 1974. The linebackers helped the defense rank first in the Southland Conference in fumble recoveries (sixth nationally), second in fewest passing yards allowed and third in total defense, red zone defense, sacks and third down conversions.
Criner's longest stints came at Idaho from 2007-12 and Portland State University from 1993-99. At Idaho he served as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Under his tutelage, the Vandals ranked third in rushing defense in the Western Athletic Conference in 2009, which helped them to a bowl win against Bowling Green. He also helped Idaho move up the ranks nationally in pass efficiency defense, scoring defense and rush defense. At Portland State, Criner helped the team to three straight NCAA Division II Playoff appearances from 1993-95.
He has professional experience coaching the Las Vegas Outlaws (2000) of the XFL and additional collegiate experience at Utah State University (1991-92), University of Cincinnati (2002-03), Middle Tennessee State University (2004-05), University of Minnesota (2006) and Eastern Michigan University (2014).
Criner started his collegiate playing career at Iowa State University (1986) before transferring to Boise State University (1987-1990). He completed his bachelor's degree in physical education from Boise State in 1990.
His father, Jim Criner, won a Division I-AA national title at Boise State in 1980 and an NFL Europe World Bowl title with the Scottish Claymores in 1996.
Criner and his wife, Angie, have four children, Madison, Calin and twins Jackson and Brooklyn.