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Derrick Odum enters his seventh season coaching SMU's secondary having come to SMU after three seasons at Utah where he coached safeties.
In 2013, Odum protégé Kenneth Acker ranked among the national leaders in pass break-ups and was a fourth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Draft.
In 2012, Odum's group was decimated by injuries. SMU lost three-year starting safety Ryan Smith for the year when he went down with a season-ending injury against TCU. Brett Haness, who then earned the job in Smith's absence, was then lost for the year just three games later. Sophomore J.R. Richardson, slotted as a starter at corner in the preseason, got injured in training camp and missed year. Shakiel Randolph, who did earn All-C-USA Freshman Team honors, also missed time and back-up corner Horace Richardson missed with a torn ACL. Despite these injuries, Odum still led Kenneth Acker to All-C-USA honors as the SMU defense posted two shutouts (SMU's most in a season since 1983), tied an NCAA season record for pick-sixes and tied for third in the country in total takeaways and second in fumble recoveries for TDs.
The 2011 season saw the continued development of the SMU secondary, as Richard Crawford earned first-team All-C-USA honors and Chris Banjo was honorable mention. The season was capped off with a BBVA Compass Bowl win that saw the Mustangs limit Pitt to just 10 rushing yards and a Bowl-record-low six points. Following the season, Crawford was selected by the Washington Redskins in the NFL Draft.
In 2010, Odum led Banjo to second-team All-Conference USA honors and Crawford to honorable mention accolades, while helping SMU rank second in the league in pass defense efficiency. Another SMU corner, Sterling Moore, would go on to start for the New England Patriots in 2011.
In 2009, Odum helped guide a defense that notched 17 interceptions, a number which tied for the 16th-best total in the nation, and led defensive backs Rock Dennis and Bryan McCann to honorable mention All-Conference honors.
In 2007, Odum tutored a defense that finished number one in the nation in pass efficiency defense and fifth in the country in scoring defense. Among the standouts he helped develop were Joe Dale, the 2007 Poinsettia Bowl MVP, Steve Tate, a first-team All-Mountain West selection, and Robert Johnson, who was named the ESPN National Player of the Week after his performance against UCLA.
Odum also turned a pair of one-time walk-ons into All-Conference-caliber players while at Utah. In 2005, Casey Evans led the league in interceptions and earned second-team All-MWC honors and Steve Tate led Utah in tackles in both 2005 and 2006 en route to honorable mention (2005) and first-team (2006) All-MWC accolades.
Odum also played a role in the emergence of one of the greatest defensive players in Utah football history in 2005, when Eric Weddle manned a safety position for the first eight games of the season before moving to corner. Weddle, a 2006 consensus All-American and two-time MWC Defensive Player of the Year, became a second-round NFL draft pick of the San Diego Chargers.
Odum also assisted with the Ute kick returners and the punt team - the latter of which ranked No. 1 in the nation in net punting in 2006. His off-field duties included serving as the team's pro liaison.
Odum's first full-time coaching opportunity was with the defensive backs at Montana from 1998-99. Montana won back-to-back Big Sky Conference championships and led the conference in pass efficiency defense. All of Odum's backfield starters earned All-Conference recognition in 1999, including safety Vince Huntsberger who was selected as the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year.
From there, he went to Utah State (2000-02) where he spearheaded a 25-place improvement in pass defense. The Aggies placed second in the Big West Conference in interceptions his first year there.
Odum spent the summer of 2002 interning with the Tennessee Titans, working with their defensive backs and linebackers.
He left Utah State to coach the defensive backs at Houston, where he stayed from 2003-04. The secondary accounted for 13 of Houston's 14 total interceptions in 2003 and Odum produced a Conference USA All-Freshman team selection both years.
Odum returned to his alma mater in 2005, where he had served as a graduate assistant eight years earlier (1996-97). He assisted with the safeties in 1996, and assumed full responsibility for the safeties in his final year as a G.A.
Odum lettered at Utah from 1989-92, starting at free safety his freshman year and cornerback his junior season. He started for Utah in the 1992 Copper Bowl and also played centerfield for the Ute baseball team for two seasons.
He earned his bachelor's in political science from Utah in 1993.
He is married to the former Ania Homan and has two sons, Dominic and Jeremiah, and a daughter, Ryann.