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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

Kentucky Hires New Running Back Coach From Wisconsin

LEXINGTON, Ky. – John Settle has been named the new running backs coach/co-special teams coordinator at UK, it was announced Monday. He will coach the special teams along with safeties coach Frank Buffano.

“When you look at John’s resume and the places he’s been, coming from a great program and his NFL experience, it was a no-brainer for me,” UK coach Mark Stoops said. “John’s personality, background and work ethic made him attractive. He’s done a remarkable job at Wisconsin and everywhere else he’s been. With his experience, he also will help with the big picture and special teams.”

Said Settle of joining the Kentucky staff, “Coach Stoops’ track record speaks for itself. What he’s done the last five years is impressive. He’s trending, he’s heading in the right direction. I like his energy and his approach.

“I also liked the opportunity to work with Liam (Coen) and a pro system, expanding my knowledge also was an attraction. Now was the right time to make a move, and this is a good move to make.”

Settle comes to the Bluegrass with 26 years of coaching experience, including six in the National Football League, 19 bowl appearances and a long list of successful running backs. Eleven years of his coaching career were spent at Wisconsin, the most recent as the running backs coach from 2015-2021. He also coached the Badger running backs from 2006-10.

Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor tops that long list of successful running backs. The two-time unanimous first-team All-American and two-time Doak Walker Award winner, Taylor finished in the top 10 of Heisman Trophy voting three times and put together one of the best careers by a running back in college football history.

Taylor was a second-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2020 NFL Draft. Three other running backs currently playing in the NFL who were coached by Settle are Corey Clement, Dare Ogunbowale and James White.

Settle has also coached four fullbacks who have gone on to play in the NFL. Chris Pressley played five seasons in Cincinnati and Tampa Bay, Bradie Ewing was taken in the fifth round by the Atlanta Falcons in 2012, Derek Watt was drafted by the Chargers in 2016 and currently plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Alec Ingold is currently a member of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Settle got his coaching start at his alma mater, Appalachian State, in 1994 where he spent one season before serving as an offensive assistant in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns (1995) and the Baltimore Ravens (1996-97).

Settle returned to the collegiate ranks, spending eight seasons (1998-2005) as the running backs coach at Fresno State, where he helped the Bulldogs advance to seven bowl games, while tutoring six 1,000-yard rushers.

Following Fresno State, he began his first stint at Wisconsin, coaching the running backs from 2006-10 and helping the Badgers advance to five straight bowl games, including a Rose Bowl appearance.

The next three seasons he returned to the NFL, coaching two seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2011-12) and one (2013) with the Cleveland Browns. Carolina made history in 2011, becoming the first team to feature three 700-yard rushers, and posting a franchise-record 5.4 yards per carry.

Settle coached one season at Pittsburgh in 2014 before going back to Wisconsin for a second stint. In his lone season at Pitt, he helped running back James Connor, currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers, earn 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year.

Settle was a four-year letterwinner (1983-86) at Appalachian State, where he finished as the school’s career rushing leader with 4,409 yards (then third-most in FCS history) and 43 touchdowns. A two-time All-American, he was the Southern Conference Player of the Year as a senior after rushing for 1,661 yards and 20 TDs. His No. 23 was retired by his alma mater and he was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1994.

Settle signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent and played six seasons in the NFL, including four with Atlanta (1987-90) and two with Washington. A Pro Bowl selection in 1988, he accumulated 1,594 yards of total offense (1,024 rushing and 570 receiving) and became the first undrafted free agent in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He also played for Washington’s Super Bowl-winning team in 1991.

The Reidsville, North Carolina native graduated from Appalachian State in 1989 with a degree in criminal justice. He and his wife, Karen, have three children: Jonathan, Leighton and Devynn.


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