LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley has been promoted to co-defensive coordinator, Coach Mark Stoops announced Monday.
"Derrick has done a great job," Stoops said. "Just like you see someone on offense being named passing game coordinator, Derrick handles a lot on that side of the ball. This is to reward him for the work that he has done and to continue to give him more responsibility. He has earned that."
Being named co-defensive coordinator continues the progression Ansley has made since coming to Kentucky as part of Stoops' original staff in 2013. Ansley served as cornerbacks coach in 2013-14, then took over the entire secondary for the 2015 season.
During the '14 season, Ansley helped lead the UK defense that created 23 turnovers, ranking second in the SEC in turnover margin, and scored a school-record six defensive touchdowns. By the end of the 2015 campaign, Ansley finished the season with three freshmen in the starting secondary, including cornerback Chris Westry, who earned first-team Freshman All-SEC and third-team Freshman All-America honors.
Kentucky's pass defense has shown steady improvement during Ansley's term as the Wildcats have reduced the opponent pass completion percentage and overall pass defense efficiency rating in three consecutive seasons.
"It means a lot that Coach Stoops had enough confidence in me and my long-term goals," Ansley said of the promotion. "Being a coordinator is definitely one of those, and this is just a next step to getting me to my ultimate goal."
And, it's no secret that Ansley has been a popular target for rival schools who would like to lure the talented young coach from the UK staff.
"It was important because Derrick is a guy that was heavily pursued every year I've been here," Stoops said. "I don't want to get into specifics (but) we won a battle keeping him here, let's put it that way. I had SEC coaches calling me. I had SEC coaches flying in and going to his house. And we got him to stay. I appreciate that."
Ansley has enjoyed his time in Lexington and is gratified by the recognition his work has received.
"Any time you get other opportunities, that's what you coach for, for people to recognize your talents and recognize your hard work and dedication," Ansley said. "So all of that was flattering, but at the end of the day, what we have at Kentucky is good. We have a lot of unfinished business to get this done, next year and moving forward. I think the best decision was for me to stay here and be with Coach Stoops, continue to learn and continue to get this program in the right direction."
Stoops also noted that Ansley's promotion does not change the role of current defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, who will continue to oversee the defense and call plays on game day.
Ansley has coached the last six seasons in the Southeastern Conference, including Tennessee in 2012 and Alabama in 2010-11. An outstanding defensive back and graduate of Troy University, Ansley coached for five years at Huntingdon College before beginning his time in the SEC.