Wildcats hire UA legend Ricky Hunley to coach defensive line

Wildcats hire UA legend Ricky Hunley to coach defensive line
(Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona football coach Jedd Fisch announced Thursday, Dec. 31, that legendary Wildcat Ricky Hunley has been hired to coach the defensive line.

Hunley, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998, brings over two decades of college and NFL coaching experience to his new role in Tucson.

“I am very excited to welcome Ricky back as a coach at the University of Arizona,” said Fisch, who was introduced as head coach Dec. 23. “There’s not a better representative of the success, individually or as part of a team, than Ricky Hunley. I’ve known Ricky Hunley since 2001 when I was a graduate assistant for him at the University of Florida. I’ve always admired him as a player, coach and person as well as his passion for the game of football and the University of Arizona. I look forward to coaching with Ricky and watching him mentor and lead our student-athletes to success on and off the field.”

Hunley played linebacker for the Wildcats from 1980-83, during which time he was a two-time consensus all-American, three-time first-team all-Pac-10 Conference selection and the 1983 Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. During his time in Tucson, Hunley tallied 566 tackles, which remains the school mark. Hunley also hauled in 12 interceptions from the linebacker spot during his career, tied for 10th most in school history.

“I am extremely excited to work with Coach Fisch and the Arizona football staff,” Hunley said. “Working for the University of Arizona has always been my destination, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the love and support of my family, friends, football alumni, the University and the Wildcat Family.

“My goal is to Bear Down and be as good of a coach for the young men in the program now as I was as a player for this great University.”

In 1998 Hunley was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame, making him the first player in Arizona Football history to earn the prestigious honor. Hunley’s previous coaching stop saw him leading the Memphis Tigers defensive line from 2014 to 2015. Under his guidance the 2014 Tigers ranked third in the American Athletic Conference in rushing defense while the 2015 squad ranked fourth in the conference with 26 sacks in 13 games. His time in Memphis was preceded by 10 seasons in the professional coaching ranks, including time with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders (linebackers, 2011), Cincinnati Bengals (linebackers, 2003-07), and Washington Redskins (defensive line, 2002) in addition to three years with the United Football League’s California Redwoods/Sacramento Mountain Lions (defensive coordinator, 2009-11).

Hunley began his coaching journey as a graduate assistant at USC from 1992-93 under head coaches Larry Smith and John Robinson. He then spent seven years in the Big Eight/12 at Missouri coaching the defensive line and linebackers while earning the designation of associate head coach for his final three years with the Tigers. Hunley also spent one year coaching defensive line at Florida in 2001.

Ricky and his wife, Camille, have two daughters.

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