David Cutcliffe announced on Thursday the addition of Rick Petri to the Blue Devil coaching staff. Petri, a 34-year veteran in the college ranks including a six-season stint with Cutcliffe at Ole Miss, will serve as an assistant coach and coach the defensive line.DURHAM, N.C. – Duke head football coach
In addition, Cutcliffe announced that defensive coordinator Jim Knowles will assume the lead role with Duke’s practice scheduling, weekly preparation and game day play-calling.
“We are very fortunate to strengthen our defensive staff with the addition of Rick Petri,” Cutcliffe said. “Rick is widely known in the coaching profession as one of the top teachers of defensive line play, and his track record of preparing young men for the National Football League speaks for itself. Also, his ideas and methods of helping players mature into young adults fit very well with our philosophies.
“Jim Knowles will coordinate our defense,” Cutcliffe continued. “Rick will coach the defensive line, Jim Collins the linebackers and Derek Jones the secondary. I believe with this group of coaches we have assembled the finest defensive staff in America.”
Petri served on Cutcliffe’s staff at Ole Miss from 1998-04, helping the Rebels to a 44-29 record and four bowl victories. In 2003, Ole Miss went 10-3, captured a share of the SEC Western Division title and defeated Oklahoma State, 31-29, in the Cotton Bowl. While with the Rebels, Petri coached the defensive tackles and tutored a pair of first team All-SEC selections in Kendrick Clancy and Jesse Mitchell. Clancy went on to be a third round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2000 NFL Draft.
Petri comes to Durham after spending the 2010 campaign at ACC member Miami. Last year the Hurricane defensive unit ranked among the league’s leaders in pass defense (1st), pass defense efficiency (1st), opponent third down percentage (2nd), opponent first downs (2nd) total defense (3rd), sacks (3rd), and scoring defense (5th). Under Petri’s guidance, senior Allen Bailey earned All-ACC honors after leading the Hurricanes in quarterback sacks.
From 2005-09, Petri was on the staff at Kentucky where he helped the Wildcats to four consecutive bowl game appearances that included victories over Clemson (2006 Music City Bowl), Florida State (2007 Music City Bowl) and East Carolina (2009 Liberty Bowl). In Lexington, Petri coached three future draft picks in Myron Pryor (6th round, New England, 2009), Jeremy Jarmon (3rd round, Washington, 2010) and Corey Peters (3rd round, Atlanta, 2010).
A native of St. Louis, Mo., Petri got his start in coaching at Pittsburg State (1977-78). He then spent 10 years on the staff at Arkansas State before a three-year (1989-91) stint at Ole Miss under head coach Billy Brewer. During his first stint in Oxford, Petri coached Kelvin Pritchett, who was a first round choice of the Dallas Cowboys in 1991 and spent 14 seasons with the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars.
After one season at Louisiana Tech (1992), he enjoyed three seasons at Miami (1993-95) as the Hurricanes went 27-7, won two BIG EAST championships, finished all three seasons ranked in the Associated Press national poll and played in both the Fiesta and Orange Bowls. In addition, Petri coached three future first round NFL draft choices in Warren Sapp (Tampa Bay, 1995), Kenard Lang (Washington, 1997) and Kenny Holmes (Houston, 1997). Sapp went on to earn NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1999. In 1994, the Hurricanes led the nation in both scoring defense and total defense.
From 1996-98, Petri tutored the defensive ends at South Carolina where he helped develop John Abraham, a first round pick of the New York Jets in the 2000 NFL Draft. One of just 25 players in NFL history to record 100 or more sacks, Abraham completed his 11th professional season in 2010 and earned his fourth trip to the Pro Bowl after helping the Atlanta Falcons to the NFC South Division championship.
Petri is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Rolla. He and his wife, Marsha, have two sons, Brad and Kory.