Sidelines with John Clay

Where are Mark Stoops’ former assistant coaches now?

Over the past couple of seasons, Mark Stoops has had a fairly stable coaching staff, one without much turnover.

The Kentucky football coach lost just one assistant from last year, though it was an important one. After some back and forth between the two sides, defensive coordinator Matt House left to become linebackers coach with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. He was replaced by inside linebackers coach Jon Sumrall, a former UK linebacker who had been an assistant at Ole Miss.

Over Stoops’ seven seasons, UK football fans have seen a few assistants come and go. Thought this might be a good time to catch up on where Stoops’ former assistants are coaching now:

Derrick Ansley: The former Kentucky defensive backs coach is entering his first season as the defensive coordinator under Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee. A defensive back at Troy, Ansley was a grad assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama before coaching DBs at Tennessee in 2012. He spent three seasons with Stoops at UK before rejoining Saban at Alabama in 2016. He left in 2018 to coach the defensive backs under Jon Gruden with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders before returning to Knoxville.

Neal Brown: Stoops’ first offensive coordinator at UK is now the head coach at West Virginia. A former wide-out at Kentucky before transferring to UMass, the former Boyle County High School star was Tommy Tuberville’s OC at Texas Tech before joining Stoops. He left in 2015 to become the head coach at Troy, where he did a tremendous job, going 35-16 over four seasons, including 31-8 the last three. WVU hired the 39-year-old to replace Dana Holgorsen, who left Morgantown for Houston.

Jimmy Brumbaugh: The former Auburn defensive lineman joined Stoops’ staff in 2013 along with defensive end Za’Darius Smith, whom Brumbaugh had coached at East Mississippi Community College. After four seasons at UK, Brumbaugh left to join defensive coordinator and former Stoops’ assistant Andy Buh at Maryland. When head coach D.J. Durkin’s controversial tenure at Maryland came to an end, Brumbaugh was hired by new Colorado head coach Mel Tucker to coach the Buffaloes’ defensive line.

Andy Buh: The California native had been defensive coordinator at Stanford, Nevada and California before joining Stoops’ staff as outside linebacker coach in 2015. He left after one season to be defensive coordinator at Maryland under D.J. Durkin. When Durkin was fired, Buh was hired by Chris Ash to be the defensive coordinator this season at Rutgers.

Shannon Dawson: Kentucky’s offensive coordinator for one season (2015) has rejoined Dana Hologorsen as the tight ends coach at Houston. The Louisiana native was an assistant under former UK coach Hal Mumme at Southeastern Louisiana before becoming offensive coordinator at Millsaps and Stephen F. Austin. He first joined Holgorsen at West Virginia in 2011. He was OC at WVU from 2012-14 before coming to Lexington. Let go after the 2015 season, Dawson was offensive coordinator at Southern Miss the last three seasons before heading to Houston.

D.J. Eliot: The 42-year-old Eliot will be Les Miles’ defensive coordinator at Kansas this season. After coaching with Stoops at Florida State, the Oklahoma native became Stoops’ first DC at Kentucky. He served in that position for four seasons before leaving to become the defensive coordinator under Mike MacIntyre at Colorado, where he spent the last two years. Before his time at Florida State, Eliot had been an assistant at Rice, Tulsa and Texas State.

Matt House: New Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo lured House back to the NFL to coach the linebackers this season. The two had worked together previously when Spagnuolo was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams. House spent three seasons at Kentucky, coaching linebackers and special teams the first season before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017. He was also DC at Pittsburgh (2012-14) and Florida International (2015).

Tommy Mainord: Kentucky’s wide receivers coach Stoops’ first three seasons, Mainord is now at North Texas, where he was promoted to co-offensvie coordinator and wide receivers coach this season. Mainord coached at Tarleton State, Sam Houston State, Lamar and Texas Tech before coming to Lexington. He also serves as the assistant head coach at Mean Green head coach Seth Littrell.

Craig Naivar: The veteran coach is starting his first season as the co-defensive coordinator at Texas under Tom Herman. A Texas native, Naivar has spent the past two seasons as the Longhorns’ special teams and safeties coach. Naivar as an assistant at Hardin-Simmons, New Mexico, Southern Illinois, Sam Houston State, Texas State and Rice before becoming UK’s special teams coordinator in 2014. He left after one season to join Herman at Houston from 2015-16 before the two moved on to Austin.

Bradley Dale Peveto: The effusive 56-year-old Peveto is entering his second season as the linebackers coach for Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M. Peveto was Stoops’ special teams and safeties coach in 2013. He left after one season to return to LSU, where he had been an assistant from 2005-08. Peveto was head coach at Northwestern State, going 14-30 in three seasons before coming to Lexington. He was at LSU from 2014-16 and Ole Miss in 2017 before heading to College Station.

Chad Scott: The Plant City, Fla. native was a running back at Kentucky before transferring to North Carolina. He coached with Neal Brown at Troy (2007-09) and Texas Tech (2010-12) before joining Brown at UK in 2013. He returned to North Carolina in 2016, but has rejoined Brown at West Virginia this season to coach the running backs.

Lamar Thomas: The former star Miami Hurricanes wide receiver has not coached in college since he was let go by Stoops following the 2018 season. Thomas coached at Hampton (2008-10), Western Kentucky (2011-12) and Louisville (2013-15) before leaving Bobby Petrino to join Stoops. He was wide receivers coach for the Salt Lake Stallions in the Alliance of American Football until that league disbanded earlier this year.

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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