Kentucky football hires Jay Boulware to be running backs coach and special teams coordinator


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops and associate head coach Vince Marrow watch their team during the No. 9 Kentucky vs. Youngstown State football game on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 31-0. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Cole Parke, Sports Editor

Kentucky football hired Jay Boulware to replace John Settle as running backs coach and special teams coordinator on Monday.

“I’m thrilled to add Jay to our staff at Kentucky,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said to UK Athletics. “I’ve known Jay from his time with my brother, Bob, at Oklahoma. I’ve always been impressed with him and his work ethic. He brings a wide range of experience coaching running backs and in recruiting, along with his expertise and success with special teams. That’s what I was looking for in this position and Jay is well-regarded in all those areas.”

Boulware most recently coached in college at Texas in 2020, being the Longhorns’ associate head coach for special teams and tight ends for one season, though his most recent coaching experience came as an offensive intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, even working with former Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr.

Prior to coaching in Austin to start the decade, Boulware had moved around different schools for 29 years, beginning his coaching career in 1994 as a graduate assistant and tight ends coach with Texas.

He then moved up to tight ends coach and co-offensive line coach at Northern Illinois for four years before becoming tight ends, running backs and special teams coach at Arizona.

Boulware then coached for one season at Stanford in 2004 as the Cardinal’s running backs coach before moving on to be Utah’s tight ends and co-special teams coach.

He then became special teams and running backs coach at Iowa State in 2007 before becoming special teams and tight ends coach at Auburn in 2009.

His longest stint at any school came from 2013-2019 when he accepted the position of special teams and running backs coach at Oklahoma, being on staff for three of the Sooners’ four College Football Playoffs appearances as well as OU’s 35-19 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl in January of 2017.

Throughout the years Boulware also took part in the NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Program twice, first with the San Francisco 49ers in the Summer of 2004 and then again with the New Orleans Saints in the Summer of 2014.

Now heading to Kentucky to be running backs coach and special teams coordinator, Boulware replaces John Settle, who was fired on Nov. 28 after a disappointing football season that saw the Wildcats finish 7-5.

“I want to thank Coach Stoops for giving me this amazing opportunity,” Boulware said to UK Athletics. “I’ve known and worked with the Stoops family for many years, and I’ve followed Mark’s career for a long time. I’m honored to be on his coaching staff as I have the utmost respect for him and the work he’s done at Kentucky. I’m looking forward to helping him continue the success he’s built here in the Bluegrass.”

With the hiring of Boulware and seeming confirmation that Liam Coen intends to return to Kentucky as offensive coordinator, Stoops has replaced both of the positions that had holes following the firings that took place immediately after the season.

Kentucky football will play one final game as part of the 2022 campaign, taking on Iowa in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31.