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Where Are They Now: Former Cincinnati Coaches Around the Country

A look around the football world to see where former Cincinnati Bearcats head and assistant coaches currently are.

Connecticut v Cincinnati Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As part of our new “where are they now” series, we take a look at where former Cincinnati coaches are.

All over the country, guys who used to work on the University of Cincinnati football staff have made their presence known in new positions. There are 7 guys with Cincinnati ties who are current head coaches (4 FBS, 2 FCS, 1 NFL) and 10+ assistant coaches.

(this list does not include every positional coach but includes a few of the bigger names)

Current head coaches

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

Cincinnati record (2007-2009) - 34-6
Notre Dame record (2010-present) - 81-35

Kelly sure did make his presence known in a short period at Cincinnati. After a 10-3 debut season, Kelly helped lead the Bearcats to back-to-back Big East championships and BCS bowl games. In 2008, Cincinnati played Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl and one year later completed a perfect 12-0 regular season, before losing to Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

At Notre Dame, Kelly has gone 12-0 in the regular season twice (2012 and 2018) losing the BCS/Playoff game that followed both times. He has won multiple Coach of the Year Awards (AP, Home Depot, Eddie Robinson).

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State

Cincinnati record (2004-2006) - 18-17
Michigan State record (2007-present) - 107-51

After serving as Ohio State’s Defensive Coordinator for three years (2001-2003), Dantonio was hired by UC in 2004. He led the Bearcats to a pair of 7-win seasons before leaving after the 2007 bowl game. His most notable accomplishment was a win over 7th ranked and unbeaten Rutgers in 2006.

At Michigan State, he led the Spartans to the Playoffs in 2015. Spartans have won 3 Big Ten Championships and Dantonio is a 2-time Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh

Pitt record (2015-present) - 28-24

Narduzzi was the Bearcats Defensive Coordinator from 2004-2006 under Dantonio. He continued working with Dantonio at Michigan State until 2015 when he was hired as Head Coach at Pitt.

He led Pitt to the ACC Championship game, winning the Coastal Division in 2018. He is 0-3 in bowl games.

Tim Murphy, Harvard

Cincinnati record (1989-1993) - 17-37-1
Harvard record (1994-present) - 174-75

Murphy’s only winning season at Cincinnati was his final one, going 8-3 in 1993. Since moving on to Harvard, the Crimson have had a losing record just 4 times (4 of his first 5 seasons) and haven’t finished below since 1999, they have finished ranked 6 times, three perfect seasons (2001, 2004, 2014) and won 9 Ivy League Championships.

Robert Prunty, Hampton

Prunty was an assistant coach at Cincinnati from 2013-2016 under Tommy Tuberville. After one year at East Carolina in 2017, Prunty became Head Coach at Hampton. In 2011 and 2012, Prunty was named Scout.com’s Recruiter of the Year.

Hampton was 7-3 in 2018 and entering 2019 legendary Bearcats WR Armon Binns is an assistant coach.

Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals

Taylor was Cincinnati’s Offensive Coordinator for one year in 2016, in Tommy Tuberville’s final season. Bearcats went 4-8 and the offense was ranked 106th. After two years as an NFL assistant coach with the Rams, Taylor returns to the city of Cincinnati as head coach of the Bengals.

Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky

Helton is entering his first season as Head Coach of the Hilltoppers. He was Cincinnati’s Tight Ends/Special Teams coach in 2013. He spent the last three years working at USC and Tennessee. Helton is the young brother of USC coach Clay Helton.

Assistant coaches around the country

Offensive Coordinators

Mike Bajakian, Boston College

Bajakian was Cincinnati’s OC under Butch Jones from 2010-2012. He followed Butch to Tennessee before moving on to the NFL, where he was the Tampa Bay Bucs QB coach from 2015-2018, and will enter his first season at Boston College.

Darrin Hinshaw and Eddie Gran, Kentucky

Both guys coached together on Cincinnati’s coaching staff from 2013-15. Hinshaw’s official title was passing game coordinator and QBs coach and Gran was Offensive Coordinator. They have been co-Offensive Coordinators at Kentucky since 2016.

Defensive Coordinator

Bob Diaco, Louisiana Tech

Diaco served as Defensive Coordinator at Cincinnati in 2009, during the 12-0 regular season. He coached under Brian Kelly at Notre Dame from 2010-2013. He was Head Coach at UConn for three years (2014-2016) compiling an 11-26 overall record. After coaching Oklahoma linebacker’s in 2018, he enters his first year as Defensive Coordinator at Louisiana Tech.

Tim Banks, Penn State

Banks was co-Defensive Coordinator under Butch Jones from 2010-2011 and was at Illinois from 2012-2015. He has been at Penn State since 2016 serving as co-Defensive Coordinator and Safeties Coach.

John Jancek, Colorado State

Banks’ defensive partner was Jancek, who also served as co-DC with him and moved on to Tennessee with Jones. Jancek enters his second season as Defensive Coordinator. The Rams defense was ranked 108 in 2018.

Rick Minter, Birminham Iron

Minter was Cincinnati’s Head Coach from 1994-2003, going 53-63-1, with a 1-3 bowl record. Since being fired in 2003, Minter has been a Defensive Coordinator (or assistant) for 7 different schools and spent a few years with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was Defensive Coordinator of the Birminham Iron in the now-defunct AAF league earlier this year.

Joe Tressey, Norfolk State

Tressey was Brian Kelly’s Defensive Coordinator in 2007 and 2008 and is well-traveled with over 30 years of defensive coaching experience. He spent 2018 with Akron and joins Norfolk State for 2019.

Assistant coaches

Jeff Quinn, OL Coach, Notre Dame

Quinn was the Bearcats Offensive Coordinator from 2006-2009, serving mostly as a sounding board from Brian Kelly, who called the plays. He was head coach of the Bearcats for one game, taking over as the interim in the 2010 Sugar Bowl when Kelly left for Notre Dame. Right after the game, Quinn was hired as Head Coach at Buffalo, where he coached from 2010-2014. In five years, Buffalo went 20-36. In 2013, he led them to just the school’s second all-time bowl game. Since being fired, he was been an assistant coach at Notre Dame, reuniting with Kelly, serving as Offensive Line Coach in 2018 and 2019.

Kerry Coombs, Secondary Coach, Tennessee Titans

Coombs is a high school coaching legend in Cincinnati. Kelly managed to lure him out of high scools in 2007 and he coached at UC until 2011, until Urban Meyer made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. In 2018, Coombs joined Mike Vrabel in the NFL as part of the Titans coaching staff.

Don Treadwell, DB Coach, Michigan State

Treadwell served as Cincinnati’s Offensive Coordinator from 2004-2006 under Dantonio. He moved on to Michigan State with Dantonio and was Head Coach at Miami Ohio from 2011-2013, going 8-21 before being fired in the middle of the 2013 season. He went 0-3 against the Bearcats. Since last year he is Defensive Backs and Special Teams Coach at Michigan State, having reunited with Dantonio.

Al Washington, LB Coach, Ohio State

Washington spent just one year at Cincinnati, in 2017 during Fickell’s first year. He spent 2018 with Michigan and is Ohio State’s Linebackers Coach for 2019.

Butch Jones, Analyst, Alabama

Jones was 27-13 in three years at Cincinnati and coached Tennessee from 2013-2017, where he compiled a 34-27 overall record. After a disappointing tenure, he has been serving as an analyst at Alabama under Nick Saban in 2018 and 2019.


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