A.J. Ricker has been officially named offensive line coach at Illinois. (WMU)
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]llinois head coach Tim Beckman officially announced the hiring of A.J. Ricker as offensive line coach.
As we reported on Thursday, he replaces Jim Bridge, who left earlier this week to join Darrell Hazell’s Purdue staff.
Ricker is very familiar with Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, having spent time under him as a player and coach.
Cubit was offensive coordinator at Missouri in 2000 and Ricker, a redshirt freshman, started all 13 games at center. Ricker went on to start 47 consecutive games for the Tigers between 2000-03 and was an All-Big 12 selection as a senior.
As head coach at Western Michigan, Cubit gave Ricker his start in coaching, hiring him as a graduate assistant in 2006. Ricker worked as a graduate assistant in 2006-07 and an offensive quality control assistant in 2008.
Two years later, Cubit hired Ricker as the Broncos’ offensive offensive line coach in 2012. He spent the past two seasons with the Broncos, before Cubit was fired in November after a 4-8 season.
Beckman hired Cubit as Illinois’ offensive coordinator in January. Ricker had been hired by Middle Tennessee State as tight ends and tackles coach in February.
“I’m very excited to be with Coach Beckman and back with Coach Cubit,” Ricker said in a statement. “I have a lot of respect for the way Coach Beckman coaches, having been in the MAC and coaching against him for two years.
“Coach Cubit coached me at Missouri and gave me a start as a coach by hiring me as a graduate assistant at Western Michigan. The man is a genius when it comes to offense.”
Ricker spent the 2009-10 seasons at Division II St. Joseph’s (Ind.). He was offensive line coach in 2009 and head coach in 2010.
Princeton adds two assistants; announces title and role changes
Bob Surace has added two new assistants at Princeton and announced a number of staff moves. Sean Gleeson has been hired to coach the Princeton running backs, while Trevor Powers will coach the outside linebackers.
Gleeson was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Fairleigh Dickinsonthe past two seasons. At Fairleigh Dickinson, he worked under head coach Brian Surace, Bob’s younger brother.
Powers spent the past two seasons at Rutgers, where he worked as a defensive quality control assistant with the linebackers. He also spent time working quality control for defense at New Hampshire, as well as a four-year stint as a defensive and special teams coach at Bowdoin.
Powers will work with both Jim Salgado and Steve Verbit, who will serve as do-defensive coordinators. He will coach the outside linebackers and Stephen Thomas will now serve as inside linebackers coach.
Eddy Morrissey, who has coached the offensive line the last three years, has added the title of assistant head coach, while Ryan Roeder will take over as special teams coordinator for Salgado.
Freeman joins Eastern Illinois staff
Dino Babers has hired veteran assistant Tom Freeman as an assistant on defense at Eastern Illinois. Freeman brings more than 30 years of coaching experience with him to the Panthers staff, and was an assistant at Hawaii when Babers played there. The two later coached together at Arizona State, Purdue and Pittsburgh. Most recently, Freeman served as offensive line coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of theCFL in 2010.
Masella adds offensive coordinator duties at Wagner
Assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Tom Masella will take on the offensive coordinator role at Wagner. Masella began his coaching career at Wager in 1981, and had stints at Fairfield, Boston University, Central Connecticut and Fordham before returning to the Seahawks’ staff last fall. Jason Houghtaling, last season’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, is now offensive coordinator at Cornell. Ben Martin, a former Princeton assistant and Texas A&M quality control staff member, was hired as offensive line coach earlier this week.