The state of Rhode Island isn’t often thought of as a football powerhouse, but it is now the home state of both the Kentucky Wildcats’ defensive and offensive coordinators.
Defensive coordinator Brad White is originally from The Ocean State, and now newly-hired offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach brings a second face from Rhode Island to the UK coaching staff.
Despite growing up in the heart of New England with little personal connections to Kentucky, the newly hired UK offensive coordinator said he grew up watching several football Wildcats of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“I grew up watching college football and football in general,” Coen said in his introductory press conference via Zoom Tuesday. “I’ve read all of Mike Leach’s books, Hal Mumme, Tim Couch, Jared Lorenzen. Some of these guys I’ve watched, and I emulated Tim Couch. I wanted to be Tim Couch.”
Couch and Lorenzen are of course two of, if not the top quarterbacks in UK’s school history. Mumme served as head coach of the Wildcats from 1997-2000, leading Couch through his magical 1997 season and strong 1998 campaign that earned him the first overall draft choice of the 1999 NFL Draft.
Mumme’s air-raid offense was assisted by Mike Leach, who served as his offensive coordinator from 1997-99 and is now the head coach at Mississippi State.
Having a coach in Coen that grew up over 700 miles away from Lexington but still respected the programs’ history is another great sign that Mark Stoops nailed his new hire.
Watch the full press conference below: