Kent Riddle is in his fifth year as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at Colorado, as he was one of four assistants to join Boise State head coach Dan Hawkins when he accepted the Colorado position in December 2005.
Riddle, 41, was Boise State's running backs and special teams coach for five seasons, all under Hawkins. Many of his special team units finished regularly in the NCAA top 25, as the kickoff return team was in the top 21 all five years and the punt return team placed in the top 18 the last four seasons. And over the course of his five years, precision reigned in the kicking game, as BSU kickers converted 96.8 percent of their PAT kicks (330-of-341) and 73.1 percent of their field goal tries (68-of-93).
While his units didn't rank as high as he is accustomed to in his first season at Colorado, he coached two All-Americans: senior placekicker Mason Crosby was a repeat first-team selection, while punter Matt DiLallo was the unanimous first-team Freshman All-America performer.
In 2007, however, Colorado was one of just of just six schools in the nation to rank in the top half in all five special team categories: net punting, punt returns, kickoff returns, punt return defense and kickoff return defense. In 2008, the units were affected a but by injuries in the two-deep that prevented many starters from filling roles, with CU's top unit nationally, kickoff return, finishing 38th in the NCAA with a 22.3 average; that same unit was 21st in 2009 with a 23.9 figure. Both numbers dropped near the end of the year as opponents often kicked short to limit the return distances; the Buffs were in the top 15 in both the bulk of both seasons. Also in 2009, CU was 27th in kickoff return defense, a number skewed by one return TD, otherwise it was also a top 20 unit.
In 2005, Boise State ranked 12th in the nation in kickoff returns (24.2), anchored by Lee Marks, who was 10th nationally as an individual (27.9, 1 TD). The Broncos were also 18th in punt returns (12.8), with Quinton Jones second in the country with a gaudy 20.9 yards per return, including three scores. The coverage units were exceptional as well; BSU was 17th in punt return defense (5.9) and 29th in kickoff return defense (18.7).
Riddle coached placekicker Tyler Jones to an All-American season and a spot as one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award in 2004. Overall, BSU's special teams proved to be as good as any unit in the country. In addition to Jones, punter Kyle Stringer was named second-team all-WAC, averaging 43.9 yards per punt. The Broncos finished third in the nation in punt returns (16.6), 21st in kickoff returns (23.0) and 29th in net punting (37.3 yards). The Broncos also blocked four kicks for the second straight season, including a possible game winning field goal by San Jose State. Following the 2004 season, he spoke at the American Football Coaches Association convention on special teams, one of his many personal highlights.
In 2003, the Broncos ranked 15th in the country in both kickoff and punt returns, following up a 2002 campaign when both finished 13th in the NCAA. The Broncos also led the WAC in punt returns and kickoff coverage, allowing just 17.0 yards per return. In 2001, David Mikell was seventh in the nation in kickoff returns (28.4, 1 TD), leading the team to a 19th place national ranking.
He achieved significant success as the Broncos running back coach as well. Though the perception is out there that Boise State makes its bones as a passing team, the 2005 edition under Riddle's tutelage finished 19th in the NCAA, averaging 202.5 yards per game. That followed up a 2004 effort which saw the Broncos finish 14th nationally (229.8 per game), which was good for second in the WAC, as the "tailback-by-committee" scheme that featured six different players scored a school record 49 touchdowns.
In his first three seasons at Boise State, the Broncos produced a 1,000-yard rusher every year. In 2003, David Mikell earned honorable mention all-WAC honors after rushing for 1,142 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2002, Brock Forsey was named the WAC Offensive Player of the Year, as he rushed for 1,611 yards (11th in the NCAA), and led the nation in scoring with 26 touchdowns. In his first year, 2001, Forsey was a first-team all-WAC performer after gaining 1,207 yards.
Riddle had moved on to Boise State after serving as an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy for six seasons. At Army, his first full-time coaching position, he coached the fullbacks for his four seasons there (1995-98), and then switched to special teams coach and recruiting coordinator for the 1999 and 2000 seasons. He worked his first five years there under head coach Bob Sutton, and was retained when Todd Berry was named coach in 2000. Additionally, he worked as Army's junior varsity head coach and offensive coordinator, while also overseeing the program's summer camp. In 1996, he helped coach Army to its only 10-win season in history, as the Black Knights went 10-2, including a loss to Auburn in the Independence Bowl.
Prior to joining the Army staff, Riddle began his coaching career in 1991 as a student assistant football coach at Oregon State University. In 1992, he was promoted to a graduate assistant position with the Beavers, first working one year as the video G.A. before working as the offensive grad assistant in both 1993 and 1994, helping tutor the running backs while also being in charge of preparation for the defensive scout team.
He earned his bachelor's degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management from Oregon State in 1992, after completing his playing career for the Beavers, as he played quarterback for coach Dave Kragthorpe.
He was born June 25, 1969 in Iowa City, Iowa, and graduated from City High School in Iowa City, where he lettered in football, basketball and track. His grandfather, Bucky O'Connor, was the legendary men's basketball coach at Iowa, where he led the Hawkeyes to a 108-54 record in seven seasons; he coached the '54-55 Hawkeye team that lost to Colorado in the national third place game. He is married to the former Camaren Matlock, and the couple has a son, Connor (10) and daughter Kayleigh (4).
TOP PLAYERS COACHED-All-Americans (3): Mason Crosby, Quinton Jones, Tyler Jones (Lou Groza Award finalist). All-Big 12 Performers (1): Crosby. All-WAC Performers (6): Chris Carr, Brock Forsey, Tim Gilligan, Q.Jones, T.Jones, Kyle Stringer. NFL Players/Draft Picks (4): Carr, Crosby, Forsey, T.Jones. CFL Players/Draft Picks (1): Gilligan.
RECORD-He has coached in 180 Division I-A games as a full-time coach, owning a record of 95-84-1 (16-33 at Colorado, 53-11 at Boise State, 26-40-1 at Army); he has coached in six bowl games. He also worked 44 games in his various roles at Oregon State.