Steve Caldwell and Kris Cinkovich have been named assistant coaches for the University of Arkansas football team head coach Bobby Petrino announced Wednesday. Caldwell will work with the defensive ends, while Cinkovich will instruct the wide receivers.
"I've known Kris and Steve for a number of years and know the transition for our program will be smooth," said Petrino. "Steve's experience in the Southeastern Conference will be invaluable and the record of success Kris has had with wide receivers speaks for itself. They are both relentless recruiters and great teachers who are familiar with our philosophy."
Caldwell most recently spent 14 seasons at Tennessee where he helped the defensive ends maintain a standard of excellence. The Vols defense was ranked in the top four among league schools in total defense 10 times while he was at Tennessee and UT's defensive unit led the SEC in fewest rushing yards allowed three times during the span. In 2008, the unit ranked first in the league and tied for third nationally in total defense allowing 263.5 yards per game. In 2005, Caldwell helped spark the Vols defense to the best rushing average allowed in the SEC (82.5), which ranked second nationally.
Caldwell also has received deserved credit for his work on the recruiting front, helping Tennessee sign what many observers called on an annual basis some of the nation's top recruiting classes.
Caldwell advanced several Vols into the NFL, joining such former stalwarts as Shaun Ellis, Demetri Veal and Parys Haralson.
Among Caldwell's most accomplished pupils was Will Overstreet, who not only finished his UT career with 19 sacks to tie for eighth on the all-time school list, but also mirrored the coach's emphasis on studies by being named to the 2001 Academic All-America second team. After retiring from professional football, Overstreet returned to campus and completed his undergraduate degree in May 2005.
A dean's list student himself at Arkansas State, Caldwell played four years of football for the Indians as a defensive end and linebacker.
His first taste of coaching came over three seasons at his alma mater, from 1978-80. From Jonesboro, Caldwell moved on to Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he coached the offensive line for four seasons and was part of a national championship team in 1982.
He then came back to Arkansas State, coaching linebackers under head coach Larry Lacewell during a notable period of success for the Indians. Arkansas State advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals three straight seasons from 1985-87, including a 1986 squad that finished 12-2-1 and lost in the national championship game. The Indians' only other blemishes that season were a loss to Mississippi State and a tie against Ole Miss.
Caldwell's 1985 linebacking unit helped Arkansas State lead Division I-AA in total defense with an average of only 258.8 yards per game.
Subsequent jobs took him to Tennessee, Pacific and Nevada, the latter school as co-defensive coordinator for the 1994 Big West Conference champions. Caldwell coached briefly at Mississippi before accepting Fulmer's offer to join the Vols.
Caldwell and his wife, Leisa Henley Caldwell, are the parents of three children, Lauren, Lendl and Landon.
Cinkovich spent the last six seasons at UNLV where he helped build the wide receivers unit into one of the strongest units in the nation.
While with the Rebels, Cinkovich coached Ryan Wolfe who finished his career with 283 receptions, which ranked 12th all-time in NCAA history. He became the third UNLV player and sixth in Mountain West Conference history to earn three first team all-league honors. In 2009, Wolfe led the MWC with 6.73 catches per game (17th nationally) and had 74 receptions for 760 yards and also had two 100-yard receiving games as a senior that pushed his school-record career total to 12.
During the 2006 season, Wolfe set several MWC and UNLV freshman records while both Wolfe and Casey Flair earned All-MWC honors. It was the first time since 1994 that a pair of Rebel receivers picked up all-league accolades. Flair broke the school record for career receptions in 2007, only to be passed by Wolfe.
Cinkovich came to UNLV from Las Vegas High School, where he oversaw the Wildcats for nine seasons, building one of the state's top programs en route to compiling a record of 79-24. In 1995, he took LVHS to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years and in 2001 brought the school its first state championship since 1959.
Cinkovich's squads won three regional titles and were ranked among the best on the West Coast three times by USA TODAY.
Cinkovich was a graduate assistant coach at UNLV in charge of running backs on Jim Strong's 1991 Rebel staff before moving to Green Valley High School as offensive coordinator for three seasons.
Prior to becoming joining the UNLV staff in 1991, Cinkovich was the wide receivers coach in 1990 and also served as the offensive coordinator at Carroll College from 1987-89. He started his career coaching linebackers at Central Washington in 1986.
Cinkovich was an offensive lineman who played collegiately at Spokane Falls Community College in 1979 and 1980 and Carroll College in 1981 and 1982. While at Carroll, he was on an offensive line that blocked for Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, who played quarterback from 1979-82.
A 1984 graduate of Carroll College in Helena, Mont., Cinkovich earned his master's degree from Central Washington in 1987. He and his wife, Joanie, have two daughters, Carly and Stephanie.
STEVE CALDWELL PERSONAL INFORMATION
BORN: Sept. 20, 1955, Thayer, Mo.
EDUCATION: Thayer High School; Arkansas State University 1977; Master's, Arkansas State University 1978
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Linebacker and Defensive End, Arkansas State 1974-77
COACHING CAREER: Arkansas State 1978-80, Northwest Mississippi Community College 1981-84, Arkansas State 1985-89, Tennessee 1990, Pacific 1991-93, Nevada 1994, Mississippi 1994-95, Tennessee 1995-2008
WIFE: Leisa Henley Caldwell
CHILDREN: Daughter: Lauren
Sons: Landon and Lendl
BOWL GAME COACHING HISTORY: 1991 Sugar, 1996 Florida Citrus, 1997 Florida Citrus, 1998 Orange, 1999 Fiesta, 2000 Fiesta, 2001 Cotton, 2002 Florida Citrus, 2002 Peach, 2004 Peach, 2005 Cotton, 2007 Outback, 2008 Outback.
KRIS CINKOVICH PERSONAL INFORMATION
BORN: Sept. 30, 1960
EDUCATION: Carroll College, 1984 - bachelor's degree; Central Washington, 1987 - master's degree
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Spokane Falls Community College, 1979-80 - OL; Carroll College, 1981-82 - OL
COACHING CAREER: Central Washington 1986; Carroll College 1987-89; Oregon Tech 1990; UNLV 1991; Green Valley High School 1992-94; Las Vegas High School 1995-2003; UNLV 2004-2009
WIFE: Joanie Cinkovich
CHILDREN: Daughters: Carly and Stephanie