Stockstill adds Stephens as offensive line coach

January 5, 2006 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee Head Football Coach Rick Stockstill announced today the hiring of Jimmy Ray Stephens as offensive line coach. Stephens comes to the Blue Raiders after four years at the University of Tennessee.

"I am extremely excited about Jimmy Ray joining our staff here at Middle Tennessee," said Stockstill. "He is one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the country and we are fortunate to have him in our program. Jimmy Ray is a great recruiter, coach, and teacher. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table as evidenced by winning a National Championship, coaching in 12 bowl games, and playing in the NFL."

As offensive line coach of the Vols, Stephens helped develop one of the top lines in the SEC. During his tenure, Stephens tutored Michael Munoz to consensus All-America status in 2004 after placing Scott Wells into a starting position with the Green Bay Packers in 2003. Stephens went to three bowls with the Vols and was part of the 2004 SEC Eastern Division Championship squad.

"Middle Tennessee is a place I have always had my eye on and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to coach here," said Stephens. "Rick Stockstill is the main reason I am here because he is such a good friend and I truly believe in him as a person and coach. I look forward to working with Rick, this staff, and the entire Blue Raider family."

Prior to arriving at UT, the 51-year-old Stephens spent nine seasons coaching the Florida offensive line -- part of a high-powered offense that led to five SEC championships for the Gators. Stephens himself sparkled both on the offensive line and at tight end during his playing career at Florida. He was a second-team All-SEC performer at center under Gators head coach Doug Dickey before making the move to tight end and earning second-team all-league honors there as well. Stephens went on to be drafted in the 12th round of the NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

His most recent responsibility at Florida was as offensive line coach and run-game coordinator during the 2001 season. Prior to that, Stephens also coordinated the unit's pass protection.

The Eustis, Fla., native coached on the Gators' 1996 national championship team and helped Florida to nine January bowl games. During that span, Florida's offense was ranked among the nation's top 15 six times and its passing offense among the top 10 seven times.

Stephens rejoined the Gators staff in 1993 after a stellar high school coaching career that saw him compile a 63-7 head coaching mark. That record came during a pair of three-year coaching and athletics director stints from 1987-92 at Williston and Fort Walton Beach.

All told, Stephens spent 13 years in the Florida high school coaching ranks as either a head or assistant coach. His recruiting ties to the Sunshine State are strong and he will be a huge asset there for the Blue Raiders.

Stephens is married to the former Regina Gouge and has two sons, Chris -- who recently completed a football career at North Carolina -- and Timmy.

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