Kentucky held off multiple Southeastern Conference suitors looking to hire away Derrick Ansley.
The Cats even promoted the defensive backs coach to co-defensive coordinator this offseason, which included a $100,000 raise to bump his annual salary to $375,000.
But that wasn’t enough to hold off defending national champion Alabama.
The Rivals.com site for the Crimson Tide reported Sunday that Ansley is leaving UK to become the next secondary coach there.
Ansley, a Tallassee, Ala., native, was a graduate assistant for the Crimson Tide when they won the title in 2011. The Cats will play at Alabama this season on Oct. 1.
In January, shortly after Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops promoted Ansley to co-defensive coordinator, the defensive backs coach said the direction of Kentucky’s program was why he wanted to stay.
“Anytime you get other opportunities and people inquire about your opportunities, you want to look at the big picture, and I think that big picture is very intriguing here with Coach Stoops,” he said.
“And I think he’s got the program definitely going in the right direction, and that played a big role in me staying here because I believe in him and where we’re going.”
Stoops felt fortunate to keep Ansley, a former standout at Troy, whom he said was pursued heavily all three seasons he’s been at Kentucky.
“We want to battle to keep (him) here, let’s put it that way,” Stoops said. “I had SEC coaches calling me; I had SEC coaches flying in here and going to his house. We got him to stay. I appreciate that.”
Some players from the past couple of recruiting classes that Ansley’s name was connected with include four-star defensive back Jordan Griffin, Davonte Robinson of Henry Clay, defensive end T.J. Carter and defensive tackle Ja’Quize Cross. The year before that, it was defensive backs Will Jackson and Marcus Walker, among others.
Ex-Wolverine joins Cats
As expected, former Michigan football player Brian Cole has decided to transfer to Kentucky.
Cole — a 6-foot-2, 200-pound player — started his career with the Wolverines as a wide receiver last season but later moved to safety. He was praised for his play at the new position in the practices leading up to Michigan’s bowl game. He was also an active special teams player.
The Saginaw, Mich., native was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 4 athlete and No. 101 overall prospect coming out of high school in the class of 2015. He also had reported scholarship offers from Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and several other major programs.
Cole likely will have to sit out the 2016 season at Kentucky and will then have three seasons of eligibility with the Wildcats.
Ben Roberts contributed to this article.