Arizona Wildcats great Ricky Hunley hired as defensive line coach by Memphis


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Ricky Hunley is the highest draft Arizona player, going as the No. 7 pick overall to Cincinnati in 1984

Ricky Hunley is the highest draft Arizona player, going as the No. 7 pick overall to Cincinnati in 1984

Arizona’s coaching contingent at Memphis grew to three today as linebacker great Ricky Hunley was hired as the Tigers’ defensive line coach by head coach Justin Fuente.

Former Arizona basketball players Josh Pastner and Jason Gardner are part of Memphis’ coaching staff. Pastner is in his fifrth year as head coach. Gardner, who has his No. 22 retired at McKale Center, is in his first season as an assistant to Pastner.

Hunley, the career tackles leader at Arizona, has his No. 89 retired at Arizona Stadium. He was the Wildcats’ first College Football Hall of Fame inductee in 1997.

He has close to 20 years of collegiate and professional coaching experience. He spent the last two year as a coach and instructor for Football University, the creators of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Before that in 2011, he was the linebackers coach for the Oakland Raiders.

“We are excited to welcome Ricky Hunley to the Memphis Football family,” Fuente said in a press release. “He has years of experience as a great player both in college and in the NFL, as well as experience coaching at both levels. I think he will do a wonderful job mentoring our kids both on and off the field. We look forward to him having a significant impact our program.”

Before joining the Oakland coaching staff, Hunley was a defensive coordinator in the United Football League with the California Redwoods (2009) and the Sacramento Mountain Lions (2010). His NFL experience also includes a five-year stint as the linebackers coach of the Cincinnati Bengals (2003-07) and one season as the defensive line coach for the Washington Redskins (2002).

His collegiate coaching experience includes stops at Florida (2001) and Missouri (1994-2000). Hunley coached linebackers at Florida after previously coaching defensive linemen and linebackers at Missouri, where he served under the late Larry Smith, a former Arizona coach. Hunley was also the associate head coach under Smith at Mizzou from 1998-00.

Hunley began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Smith at USC (1992-93) and gained experience through the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship program working with the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers during his career.

Hunley was a first-round draft pick (seventh overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals and had a seven-year playing career in the NFL playing for the Denver Broncos (1984-87), Phoenix Cardinals (1988) and the Oakland Raiders (1989-90).

He played in 91 career games with 30 starts and played in two Super Bowls.

He was elected executive vice president of the NFL Players Association, serving a term from 1990-92.

A two-time NCAA Consensus All-American linebacker and Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year at Arizona, Hunley was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Hunley and wife Camille have two daughters, Alexis and Kenady. His brother LaMonte also played for Arizona from 1981-84.

Ricky and LaMont are among the top six tacklers in Arizona history. Ricky’s 566 tackles tops the career chart. LaMonte’s 400 is sixth.

Ricky Hunley, left, congratulates and provides encouragement to Ka'Deem Carey after Carey's first touchdown run against Oregon in November (ABC-TV video capture)

Ricky Hunley, left, congratulates and provides encouragement to Ka’Deem Carey after Carey’s first touchdown run against Oregon in November (ABC-TV video capture)

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.



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