Running backs coach and co-special teams coordinator John Settle fired


Kentucky place kicker Matt Ruffolo (96) makes a field goal during the University of Kentucky vs. South Carolina football game on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. UK won 16-10. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Luke Fetzer, Reporter

The first of potentially several offseason coaching changes expected for Kentucky football occurred on Monday when running backs and co-special teams coordinator John Settle was fired.

Settle, whose contract was to expire in June, spent two seasons with the program, coaching the likes of Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Kavosiey Smoke after being brought in to replace former backs coach and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

While the dismissal of the running backs coach may be a surprise, his dismissal is likely closer related to the disappointing season the special teams units endured.

Ranking 103rd nationally in field goal percentage, much of the blame could have been placed on kicker Matt Ruffalo at face value, but the issues regarding long snapping and holding played to the Cats’ detriment in crucial situations. 

Settle was hired in 2021 after assistant coach Jemal Singleton returned back to the NFL after just a few weeks in the position.

Before his dismissal, Settle shared the special teams coordinator role with safeties coach Frank Buffano.

In his absence Kentucky may look to hire its first actual special teams coordinator, something the team has lacked since Dean Hood left prior to 2020 to become Murray State’s head coach.

Settle was set to be paid $475,000 this season, with the program still set to pay him his monthly installments until June when his contract officially runs out. 

Head coach Mark Stoops will be on the hunt for a replacement on both the special teams and running backs front, though many outside the program expect Settle to be the first of several coaches to lose their positions after the disappointing 2022 campaign.

No official words have come out regarding other coaches in Stoops’ staff and the safety of their positions.