Petri to Coach Kentucky Defensive Line
Rick Petri, who has spent 12 years in the Southeastern Conference and coached several highly accomplished players, has joined the Kentucky staff as defensive line coach, Rich Brooks has announced.
“Rick is a tremendous fundamental coach who has coached some great players,” Brooks said. “He is very familiar with the SEC as a coach and recruiter.”
Petri (pronounced “PE-tree”) comes to UK from Ole Miss, where he coached the defensive tackles the last six seasons. He joined the Rebel staff in Dec. 1998, in time to help coach the team in the Independence Bowl. The Rebels were bowl-eligible for the next five seasons and played in four more bowl games, capped by a 10-3 record and Cotton Bowl victory in the 2003 season. Two of Petri’s tackles, Kendrick Clancy and Jesse Mitchell, earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors. Clancy was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2000 National Football League Draft and has been with the team for five seasons.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., Petri graduated from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Pittsburg State in 1977-78. He went to Arkansas State in 1979, where he coached in the offensive and defensive lines until 1988.
Petri entered the SEC for the first time when he coached the Ole Miss defensive line from 1989-91. The Rebels advanced to two bowl games and Petri mentored defensive tackle Kelvin Pritchett, a first-round NFL draft pick who has enjoyed a 14-year career with the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars.
After a year coaching the defensive tackles at Louisiana Tech, Petri went to Miami (Fla.) for three seasons with the Hurricanes. Petri coached consensus All-America and Lombardi Award-winning lineman Warren Sapp and helped guide the 1994 Hurricane defense which led the nation in scoring defense and total defense. In addition, Petri coached All-America defensive end Kevin Patrick and defensive end Kenard Lang, who was named Big East Rookie of the Year. Miami played in the Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl during his time there.
While with the Hurricanes, Petri coached three future NFL first-round draft choices – Sapp (Tampa Bay, 1995), Lang (Washington, 1997), and Kenny Holmes (Houston, 1997). Sapp, of course, has been a multi-year Pro Bowl selection and was the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Lang is an eight-year NFL vet with the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. Holmes played several seasons in the league with Tennessee and the New York Giants.
After Miami, Petri took over defensive-end responsibilities at South Carolina from 1996-98. He developed John Abraham, a first-round pick by the New York Jets who has spent five years with that club.
Petri and his wife, Marsha, have sons, Brad and Kory.