Larry Kirksey, a 32-year coaching veteran in the collegiate and NFL ranks, is an assistant head coach on Rick Stockstill's staff and is in charge of the running backs. Kirksey, who has a national championship and a Super Bowl title to his credit, was out of coaching in 2005 while serving as deputy executive director of the Kentucky Sports Authority.
Under Kirksey's watchful eye, Middle Tennessee was the only school in the Sun Belt Conference to have two players ranked in the top ten in rushing with Eugene Gross ranking fourth and DeMarco McNair eighth. Both players enjoyed career seasons under Kirksey, but equally impressive was his development of true freshman Desmond Gee. The versatile Gee got better with each game and became quite a weapon on offense down the stretch as he scored a touchdown in six straight games. Both Gee and Gross earned all-conference honors in 2006.
Kirksey spent 10 years in the NFL with stops at San Francisco (1994 to 1999), Detroit (2001 to 2002) and Jacksonville (2003) and as a volunteer at Denver (2004). He was a wide receivers coach his first nine years in the league and tutored the likes of Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Terrell Owens, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Morton, Ed McCaffrey, and J. J. Stokes.
In 1995, Kirksey earned a Super Bowl ring when the 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers, 49-26. Rice grabbed 10 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns under Kirksey's guidance, and the receiving corps set a Super Bowl record with six touchdowns.
In between his stint with the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions, Kirksey was an assistant head coach in charge of the wide receivers at Texas A&M in 2000. That year he helped lead the Aggies to a berth in the Independence Bowl while injecting hints of the West Coast offense.
In 1996, Kirksey was rumored as a candidate for Kentucky's head coaching position and was dubbed one of college football's "Next 10 Geniuses" by Athlon Sports in 2001, along with Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis, Florida State's Mickey Andrews, and Kansas Head Coach Mark Mangino.
From 1990 to 1993, Kirksey coached running backs for Alabama, where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship in 1992. Kirksey's running back corps led the SEC in rushing that season with an average of 252 yards per game.
The Harlan, Ky., native also coached running backs at the University of Florida under Charlie Pell and Galen Hall from 1984 to 1988. During his tenure at Florida, he coached star running backs Lorenzo Hampton, Neal Anderson, John L. Williams, and Emmitt Smith. After leaving Florida, Kirksey spent one year as running backs coach at Pittsburgh.
Prior to joining the Gators, Kirksey gained valuable experience by taking over head coaching duties at Kentucky State in 1983.
Kirksey got his start in coaching when he became the wide receiver/tight end coach at Miami of Ohio in 1974 and remained with the Redskins for three seasons before joining the staff at Kentucky. He also coached wide receivers and tight ends for the Wildcats from 1977 to 1981, then spent the 1982 campaign coaching the same positions at Kansas.
Kirksey earned a bachelor's degree from Eastern Kentucky in 1974, where he was a four-year letterman and three-year starter as a wide receiver. As a senior, he earned all-conference honors.
He is married to the former Anita Combs of Hazard, Ky., and they have two children, Jessica and Jared.