Arkansas State University announced Thursday morning the hiring of its new strength and conditioning coach, Kaz Kazadi, who had spent the previous nine seasons in the same role at Baylor.
In two tweets posted at 6:44 and 7:10 a.m., ASU athletics and head football coach Blake Anderson announced the hire.
Former Baylor Staff
AD IAN MCCAW Accepted same position at Liberty University
OC KENDAL BRILES Art’s son, accepted the same position at Florida Atlantic
DC PHIL BENNETT accepted the same position at Arizona State
ASSISTANT BRAD BEDELL is offensive line coach at Boise State
QUALITY CONTROL COACH CASEY HORNY is special teams quality control coach at Texas
ASSISTANTS JEFF LEBBY, RANDY CLEMENTS are offensive assistants at Southeastern University, a NAIA school in Lakeland, Fla.
ASSISTANTS JIM GUSH, CHRIS ACHUFF are defensive assistants at Navarro College in Texas.
NOTE The rest either re-entered retirement, found work outside of football, or have not updated their job status since their departure from Baylor.
"Happy to OFFICIALLY welcome our new Director of Athletic Performance -- Kaz Kazadi to the Family #BuildingAMonster," Anderson wrote.
Kazadi was named the 2013 FBS Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly, and Baylor won back-to-back Big 12 titles in 2013 and 2014.
He is the most recent transplant from a coaching staff that completely dissolved in the aftermath of the departure of former head coach Art Briles, who was fired in the middle of Baylor's controversial handling of rape allegations involving football players.
Former Baylor linebacker Raaquan Davis retweeted ASU's announcement, and former Baylor wide receiver Jay Lee tweeted his support for Kazadi at 10:11 a.m. Thursday: "Happy for [Kazadi] and the family. Won't receive a better mentor like Coach Kaz so embrace the relationship!!"
Muadianvita "Kaz" Kazadi, 43, arrived in the United State from Kinshasa, Zaire, when he was 8, and later became an All-American linebacker at Tulsa in 1996.
Kazadi, a sixth-round selection by the St. Louis Rams in the 1997 NFL Draft, played six professional seasons -- in the NFL, Canadian Football League and the World Football League before becoming a graduate assistant at Missouri in 2004.
Kazadi spent the next two seasons as the strength and conditioning coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, one season at the University of South Florida, then started at Baylor when Briles was hired in 2008.
Since then, seven Title IX lawsuits have been filed against Baylor, according to the Dallas Morning News, alleging that Baylor football players committed sexual assault. February court filings allege that 31 Baylor football players committed at least 52 rapes between 2011 and 2014.
Kazadi's name has never been mentioned in any report or suit regarding Briles or the allegations, and the ASU athletic department conducted their own vetting during his interview.
"Obviously, with anybody from Baylor, you always ask a lot more questions than you normally do," ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir said. "You have a lot of conversations, and we felt really comfortable bringing him on."
Kazadi tweeted twice in apparent reference to the allegations on Baylor's campus: a graphic on March 15, 2016, that read "Real Men Respect Women," and, a week before Briles was fired, Kazadi retweeted support of former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel's comment that "I would never question" Briles' character."
Other than those comments, Kazadi said he wasn't involved.
"I'm in the weight room, in the dark hole, if you know what I mean," Kazadi said. "I focus on the athletes and the type of players they are, making sure they are responsible and reliable."
Former Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe took over as interim coach for 2016, but things really changed when Temple's Matt Rhule was hired on Dec. 6.
Kazadi was reassigned outside of the coaching staff on March 24, along with the other coaches who worked under Briles and Grobe.
Kazadi was an Assistant to the Strength Coach/Department with the Dallas Cowboys when ASU brought him in for an interview. Kazadi spoke with Anderson and said the fit was "love at first sight."
"I saw a great opportunity with great people, great coach, great environment, successful institution," Kazadi said. "It was almost a no-brainer."
Kazadi filled the job vacancy left by Matt Shadeed, who became the strength and conditioning coach at Baylor on June 1 after three years at ASU. The hirings are unrelated.
Kazadi joins an ASU football program that has won back-to-back Sun Belt Conference championships and won the 2016 Cure Bowl 31-13 over Central Florida.
"They are on a tremendous upswing, I'm excited to help," Kazadi said. "They don't need me. They don't need my help. It's a great to even get this opportunity. It's all about being able to help them one percent. These guys have a vision, they have great people. I'm happy to be a part of it."
Sports on 06/23/2017