North Texas head coach Dan McCarney bid farewell to not only one of his assistant coaches but also a longtime friend in Kent Riddle.
Riddle, who spent two seasons at UNT as the Mean Green’s special teams/tight ends coach, was named the assistant head coach at Arkansas State on Monday.
Riddle will coach ASU’s tight ends in addition to serving as the Red Wolves’ special teams coach.
The move reunites Riddle with new ASU head coach Bryan Harsin, who spent last season at Texas.
Harsin and Riddle were members of the coaching staff at Boise State from 2001-05.
“I appreciate all that Kent has done for us for the time he was with us,” McCarney said. “He’s a great coach and an even better person. Kent wants to be a head coach and this gives him a chance to be an assistant head coach and move closer to that goal.”
McCarney and Riddle have known each other since McCarney’s time in Iowa City, Iowa, where he grew up before playing for Iowa and becoming an assistant coach at the school.
Riddle also grew up in Iowa City and went to the same high school as McCarney.
McCarney’s sister used to baby-sit Riddle, who did not return a message seeking comment.
McCarney said Riddle was like another son to his parents. The families have remained close through the years.
McCarney brought Riddle on as one of the original members of his coaching staff and saw him make an immediate impact, both as an assistant and as a recruiter.
Under Riddle’s tutelage, Brelan Chancellor set a school record with 1,094 kickoff return yards in 2011, while Will Atterberry led the Sun Belt Conference in punting at 43.5 yards a kick.
Atterberry averaged 41.3 yards a punt this year and was a second-team all-conference pick.
Riddle was also vital recruiter for UNT. His relationship with quarterback Brock Berglund from his time recruiting him as a member of the staff at Colorado helped UNT land the highly regarded Kansas transfer who is expected to compete for the starting job next season.
It was Riddle’s performance during his time at UNT and the relationship they built at Boise State that helped Harsin lure him to ASU.
“I worked with coach Riddle at Boise State; we have a great relationship, and he is a guy I highly respect as both a coach and person,” Harsin said. “He was instrumental in the building process at Boise State and really helped develop that program during his time there. He is experienced, has been very successful and is a great fit for Arkansas State.”
McCarney said he would act quickly to fill the void left by Riddle’s departure.
“It’s a usual thing at North Texas for guys to leave for other jobs,” McCarney said. “It’s a good thing, not a bad thing. It means that I am making good decisions hiring coaches.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.