Ricker returning to Broncos

Published 6:49 pm Thursday, January 13, 2011

KALAMAZOO — The Western Michigan Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announces the return of A.J. Ricker to the WMU football coaching staff.

A.J. Ricker

Ricker, who served as a graduate assistant in 2006 and 2007, and as an offensive assistant in 2008, rejoins the Broncos as the program’s new offensive line coach.

“We are very excited to have A.J. Ricker back on our coaching staff,” commented head coach Bill Cubit, who was on the staff at Missouri when Ricker was an All-Big 12 center for the Tigers. “A.J. brings such energy and enthusiasm to the position. The experience he gained as a head coach at St. Joseph’s College will help him to prepare our offensive linemen and provide an immediate impact for our offense.”

Prior to rejoining Western Michigan’s football program, Ricker served one season as the head coach at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind. Ricker served as the Pumas’ offensive line coach in 2009, under WMU’s current defensive line coach Lou Esposito, in 2009. In one season, the offensive line averaged 179.5 rushing yards and only allowed two sacks per game. Ricker earned the mantel of Great Lakes Football Conference Assistant Coach of the Year in 2009 for his SJC offensive scheme efforts.

During his previous tenure at WMU Ricker was hands on with the offensive line, providing support former offensive line coaches Bob Stanley and Mike Sullivan. The Bronco offensive line produced a 1,000-yard running back and ranked 14th in the nation in sacks allowed in 2006 and blocked for another 1,000-yard back again in 2008. It also produced a two-time Rimington Trophy candidate in Robbie Krutilla, who was an Outland Trophy candidate in 2007, and a pair of All-Mid-American Conference selections in Krutilla and James Blair.

Blair was selected to participate in the 2008 Hula Bowl All-Star Classic and the Texas vs. the Nation Challenge.

“I am looking very forward to getting back to Western Michigan University and its football program. I want to thank Coach Cubit, athletic director Kathy Beauregard, associate athletic director Monty Porter and the entire department for the opportunity to coach the Bronco offensive line,” commented Ricker. “Having worked with many of the guys currently on the offensive line, I know our potential and know the work that needs to be done in order for us to have a successful season in 2011 and beyond.  I am ready to get to work.”

Ricker completed a stellar collegiate career at the University of Missouri, where he earned a degree in agriculture, in 2003 as the center for the Tigers. He holds the school record for consecutive starts with 47, starting 11 games in 2000 and 2001, 12 games in 2002 and a career-high 13 contests in 2003.