UK Football

UK football officially hires ex-Cat Nord

Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips turned to a familiar name and face to replace Steve Ortmayer as his special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.

Greg Nord, a former UK letterman, has returned to Lexington to join Phillips' first staff as head coach. Nord will be introduced at a news conference on Wednesday.

Nord, a Louisville native, played center, tight end and long snapper for the Wildcats from 1974-78 under Fran Curci. He then took graduate-assistant and part-time positions on the UK staff until he was hired full-time by Jerry Claiborne in 1982, the year after Phillips arrived as a player at Kentucky.

Phillips has also competed against Nord, who served as an assistant coach at Louisville from 1995-2009.

"There are three things I look for when hiring a coach — the ability to teach, the ability to recruit and 'juice,' a passion for what he does," Phillips said in a release by the school. "Greg has all three of those. His knowledge of special teams is extensive, and he has been involved with special teams at every school he's coached. He has shown the ability to recruit the state of Kentucky and the South. And he has a passion for the University of Kentucky."

Before going to Louisville, Nord worked at East Carolina and Georgia Tech. He joined Illinois last winter as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator after his 15-year stint at U of L.

"It's a great honor and privilege to come back and coach at my alma mater," Nord said in a release. "The electricity with the Kentucky football program led me to come back with Coach Phillips. I've been following his career since his time as a player. I'm excited to work for someone whom I believe will become one of the top head coaches in the country."

The news of Nord's move to UK initially was reported July 2 when Illinois Coach Ron Zook announced Nord was leaving. UK was unable to announce the hiring officially until Tuesday.