Kentucky football announces addition of two quality control coaches


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops walks through the Cat Walk before the No. 22 Kentucky vs. No. 16 Mississippi State football game on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Parker Scott, Reporter

Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops announced two additions to his staff on Monday.

Graduate assistant C.J. Conrad was promoted to an offensive quality control coach and Mike Priefer Jr. was hired as a special teams quality control coach.

Conrad, who is from LaGrange, Ohio, started 42 games at tight end for the Wildcats from 2015-18 and spent time on the New York Giants’ practice squad following his college career.

While playing for UK, Conrad was the recipient of the 2018 Pop Warner National College Football Award, which recognizes players for their achievements both on the field and in their community, particularly as a role model to young Pop Warner football players.

“C.J.’s work ethic is second to none,” Stoops said in a press release. “He has been a vital part of this program for a long time and he’s really good at what he does. He’s a great coach and mentor to our young men. We are excited to have him in this new role.”

Priefer comes from a family of NFL coaches, with both his father Mike and his grandfather Chuck having decades of professional coaching experience.

Most recently he served as the special teams coordinator, tight ends coach and full backs coach for one season at Western Illinois University.

Conrad also coached at Northwood, Pittsburgh and Minnesota. As Northwood’s special teams coordinator, he helped the school to lead the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in many special teams statistics including field goal percentage and kickoff return average.

Priefer Jr. is originally from Mound, Minnesota, and was a two-year football starter at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology sports pedagogy in 2017.

“Mike comes from a long history of NFL special teams coordinators,” Stoops told UK Athletics. “He’s a young, up-and-coming coach who brings passion to the table every single day. We are excited to have him join our program.”

The arrivals of both Priefer and new special teams coordinator Jay Boulware aim to help the Wildcats improve in special teams in the coming season, with the unit having drawn criticism in 2022 after numerous mistakes across the season.

Kentucky football will kick off its 2023 season on Saturday, Sep. 2, against the Ball State Cardinals.