Friday, March 21, 2003

UC football staff set for 2003

Enquirer news services

With the start of the NCAA spring practice period a week away, Cincinnati football coach Rick Minter finalized his staff for the 2003 season, naming three coaches to the staff and promoting two others.

Joining the staff are former Ohio University secondary coach Mike Kolakowski, as co-defensive coordinator; former Ball State special-teams coordinator and linebackers coach Scott Pethtel, as special teams and recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach; and Ted Gill, who most recently served as defensive coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, as defensive line coach.

Minter elevated Phil Dorn to assistant head coach and running backs coach and Mark Criner to co-defensive coordinator.

Earlier this year, Minter named former East Carolina assistant Steve Shankweiler as offensive line coach.

Kolakowski, who served as head coach for five seasons at California University of Pennsylvania (1997-2001), has 23 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level. His career includes stops at Ohio University (1990-94, 2002), California (Pa.) (1995-2001), Maine (1989), William & Mary (1981, 84-88), Morehead State (1982-83) and Cornell (1980).

"I am very happy with the staff that we have put together for next year," Minter said. "It will be the most experienced staff since I came to Cincinnati. That, and the fact that several of our new coaches have worked with our returning coaches before, should help to eliminate the normal period of adjustment that new coaches have to go through."

The contract of Amos Jones, running backs coach and special teams coordinator the last four seasons, was not renewed.

Pethtel joins the staff after spending the last 14 seasons at Ball State, 13 of which were spent as the Cardinals' special teams coordinator. He also spent 11 seasons as a defensive coach at Adrian College (1975, 79-88).

Gill's resume includes 28 seasons of coaching experience at almost every level of football. He coached professionally with the Carolina Panthers of the NFL (1996-97), the LA Extreme of the XFL (2000) and the Montreal Alouettes (2002). His collegiate background includes stops at Northern Iowa (2001), Oklahoma State (1995), Iowa (1990-94), Rice (1988-89), North Carolina (1983-87), Army (1981-82), Cornell (1980), Ball State (1977-79), New Mexico State (1976) and Utah (1972-75).

The promotion of both Dorn and Criner come after the duo completed their first seasons at Cincinnati. Dorn, who served as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator last year, will work with the running backs while taking on additional administrative duties. Criner will continue to work with the Bearcat linebackers.

"Phil did an exceptional job organizing our recruiting effort last year and I believe that this promotion will allow him to have an even bigger impact this year," Minter said. "By taking away the administrative aspect of recruiting from him, Phil will be able to spend more time on the road and focus closely on recruiting the entire state of Ohio.

"Mark Criner was a great addition to our defensive staff last year and the players responded well to his teaching. I believe that he and Mike Kolakowski will complement each other well and our defense will continue to develop."

The new coaches have previously worked with several members of the UC staff. Pethtel served as defensive line coach for three years on a Rick Minter-led defense at Ball State. Dorn worked for Kolakowski as defensive coordinator at California (Pa.). Gill and Criner each served as defensive coordinators in the lone season of the XFL and Shankweiler coached the running backs at Georgia Tech when Rusty Burns was the offensive coordinator.

The Bearcats begin the 15-practice spring season on April 2 and will play their annual Red vs. Black spring game at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at Nippert Stadium.

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