Last night it was confirmed that Kentucky Special Teams Coach Bradley Dale Peveto has resigned and will take the same position with Louisiana State. Peveto coached at LSU prior to taking the head coaching position at Northwestern State , which was his last stop before being hired at Kentucky. He only spent one season in Lexington but quickly became a favorite due to his personality and imaginative play-calling. Peveto also did a good job coaching the Wildcats’ safeties. Peveto is also a loss on the recruiting trail, having covered several areas for the staff and being a hit with recruits for his sense of humor.
So that leaves the question of whom Mark Stoops will hire to replace Peveto on the Wildcats staff. Most expect him to move quickly, although no new hire can officially be announced until the job has been posted for seven days. The good news is that Stoops has a lot of connections in the coaching community. Kentucky has already been linked to Houston ST coach Vernon Hargreaves Sr. and Colorado State ST coach Jeff Hammerschmidt. Both have coached with Stoops in the past, but so far it appears to just be connecting the dots. Here are some names to watch:
Vernon Hargreaves- Currently employed with Houston, Hargreaves coached with Stoops at Miami and has also coached at South Florida, so he has experience recruiting that area. His time in Houston could also provide some ins in the Longhorn State as well. He coordinated the AAC’s top return unit last season. At age 52 he would provide a little seasoning to a young staff.
Jeff Hammerschmidt-The special teams coordinator when Stoops coached at Arizona under his brother Mike, this one doesn’t seem as likely as Hargreaves because he is an offensive position coach. That staff is currently full unless UK utilizes two receiver coaches like many Air Raid teams do. It would also mean that Stoops would have to coach the safeties himself (a position that he is familiar with) or expand Derrick Ansley’s duties to cover all DBs.
Ron Stoops- Currently employed at Youngstown State, the connection here is pretty obvious. Stoops has experience coaching on the defensive side of the ball and has recruiting ties throughout Kentucky’s new pipeline state of Ohio. There doesn’t appear to be any special teams experience on his resume but the name has been floated before.
Carl Pelini- Another Youngstown connection, Pelini is the brother of Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, a close friend of Stoops and Vince Marrow. Pelini was recently dismissed as HC of Florida Atlantic amid scandal but is a knowledgeable coach who may be looking for a second chance. The Pelini name carries weight in the Buckeye State as well, so recruiting could be a factor.
Rich Ellerson- The former Army head coach doesn’t appear to have any connections to Stoops but he is still unemployed and has several stops as a special teams coordinator on his long resume. Ellerson also has some experience coaching on defense, although no known experience with defensive backs. It’s a real wild card but worth noting.
There are lots of other possibilities and knowing this coaching staff the hire will be someone nobody saw coming. It could be almost anyone but expect a good hire. It may even be a high school coach, what if Stoops hired Trinity’s Bob Beatty? Talk about a power move. Or maybe UK hired Mike Haywood, who just interviewed for the LSU job. Or perhaps Ron Zook wants to come back to the college game instead of being an assistant with the Packers. The only thing that is for sure is that Stoops needs to act quickly.