Kentucky Sports

Special teams coach Naivar leaving Kentucky

Kentucky special teams coordinator Craig Naivar talked to the return team.
Kentucky special teams coordinator Craig Naivar talked to the return team. Herald-Leader

Only a day after Mark Stoops found his new offensive coordinator, the Kentucky head football coach has to start a search for a special teams coordinator.

On Thursday, UK officials confirmed that Craig Naivar was leaving Stoops' staff and heading to Houston.

In an interview with the Cats' Pause, Naivar said he was excited about the direction the program was going under Stoops but wanted to get back to Texas, where he's coached most of his life, working as Texas State's defensive coordinator for three seasons before moving to Lexington.

"To get back in an area that I'm really, really familiar with can help recruiting-wise and all that stuff; it was just an opportunity I couldn't say no to," the special teams coordinator and safeties coach told the Cats' Pause.

Naivar was the primary recruiter of North Carolina defensive end Kengera Daniel and Georgia defensive end Tyrone Riley, both three-star recruits. Daniel signed his financial aid papers with UK on Wednesday and will enroll early.

Stoops now will have to hire his third special teams coordinator in as many seasons. His first special teams coordinator, Bradley Dale Peveto, left after one season to take the same job at Louisiana State.

Whoever gets the job will inherit an All-Southeastern Conference kicker in Austin MacGinnis; a veteran punter in Landon Foster; and Stanley "Boom" Williams, recently named a Freshman All-American returner by the Sporting News.

Naivar is joining the staff of Tom Herman, the Ohio State offensive coordinator who was named head coach at Houston this week.

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