New special teams boss brings Texas background to UK recruiting

broberts@herald-leader.comMarch 6, 2014 

Craig Naivar is the new special teams coordinator and safeties coach at the University of Kentucky, the school confirmed Thursday.

Naivar will replace Bradley Dale Peveto, who held those positions last season and left the program last month to become the special teams coordinator at Louisiana State. Naivar, 42, has been the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Texas State since 2011.

Before that, Naivar was an assistant coach at Rice for four seasons, serving as both special teams coordinator and co-defensive coordinator. He was also defensive coordinator at Texas State (2004-06), defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator at Sam Houston State (2000-03) and special teams coordinator at Southern Illinois (1998-99).

Naivar coached alongside UK defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot at Rice and during his first stint at Texas State.

"I've gotten to visit with Craig the last couple of years and am very impressed with him," Coach Mark Stoops said Thursday in a statement released by UK. "He has vast knowledge, both as a defensive coordinator and as a special teams coordinator. He's a high-energy coach with a great reputation as a recruiter."

Naivar is a native of Austin, Texas, and played for Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He has spent the past 14 seasons as a coach in Texas, which is considered the state with the most Division I-caliber football prospects.

"I'm excited to be part of the Big Blue Nation and such a prestigious university," Naivar said in a statement. "I was attracted by the opportunity to work with Coach Stoops, the energy he brings and the success he's had everywhere he's been.

"It's also exciting to reunite with Coach Eliot. He is one of the really sharp minds in college football, a great coach and recruiter."

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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