Rick Lantz
Rick Lantz
Player Profile
Position:
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach

Rick Lantz, Virginia's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, is in his 10th season with the Cavalier football coaching staff.

Lantz oversaw the Cavaliers' change nine years ago from a 5-2 defensive alignment to a more aggressive 4-3. Since then, Virginia has consistently boasted one of the best defenses in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the nation.

UVa ranked 16th nationally against the pass (105.7 rating per game) and 17th against the run (118.5 yards per game) in 1998. Virginia was second in the ACC that season in scoring defense, holding its opponents to an average of 19.3 points per game.

Virginia finished tied for third in the nation with 20 interceptions in 1996. The 1995 Cavaliers were second in the nation with 25 interceptions. UVa led the nation in interceptions the previous two seasons, picking off 22 passes in 1993 and setting a school and ACC record with 27 interceptions in 1994. Virginia was the only Division I school to intercept at least 20 passes in each season from 1993 to 1996.

UVa ranked 16th in the nation against the run in 1996, allowing 108.0 yards per game. The Cavaliers held Wake Forest to an ACC record -45 net yards rushing that season. Virginia previously set the record against Maryland in 1994, holding the Terrapins to -42 yards rushing. UVa led the nation in rushing defense in 1994, allowing an average of 63.6 yards rushing per game. That is the fifth-lowest figure in ACC history.

Virginia tied for 11th in the country in scoring defense in 1996 by holding opponents to 15.6 points per game. The Cavaliers ranked fourth in the nation in 1991 in scoring defense (average of 10.8 points a game) and sixth in the nation in passing efficiency defense (91.1 rating). Virginia led the Atlantic Coast Conference in both of those categories that season.

Lantz assumes additional duties this fall as linebackers coach, a position he also held from 1993 to 1998. During that time, he helped develop some of the greatest linebackers in school history, including current NFL standouts James Farrior and Jamie Sharper.

Lantz came to Virginia from the University of Louisville, where he spent five seasons as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. During Lantz's final season at Louisville in 1990, the Cardinals finished with a 10-1-1 record, defeated Alabama 34-7 in the Fiesta Bowl and were ranked 14th in the nation by The Associated Press and 12th by United Press International. Defensively, Louisville allowed an average of 12.8 points a game and ranked sixth among Division I-A teams in the nation in scoring defense and sixth in total defense (259.5). Before Lantz's arrival at Louisville in 1986, the Cardinals were ranked 106th in the nation in total defense in 1985.

Lantz has a total of 34 years of experience as a collegiate football coach and was an assistant coach with the New England Patriots of the National Football League in 1981. Before joining the Louisville football coaching staff in 1986, he served as defensive line coach for two seasons at Notre Dame and as defensive coordinator for two seasons at Georgia Tech. His other assistant coaching stops include the University of Miami (197780), the U.S. Naval Academy (197176), the University of Buffalo (196870) and Boston University (196567).

Lantz also served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was the head football coach at Bridgton Academy in Bridgton, Maine, in 1964.

Lantz is a native of New Britain, Conn., and a 1964 graduate of Central Connecticut State University. He was inducted into Central Connecticut State's Athletic Hall of Fame in May of 1999 and into the New Britain, Conn., Sports Hall of Fame in March of 1997. He is a lifetime member of the American Football Coaches Association.

Lantz's Biography-at-a-Glance

  • Born: New Britain, Conn.
  • Family: Married to the former Margaret Rio of Berlin, Conn. Four children: Toby; Andrea Sue; Terry; and Maureen.
  • Education: Graduated from New Britain High School in New Britain, Conn., in 1956; received his bachelor's degree in education from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn., in 1964.
  • Coaching Background: Head football coach at Bridgton Academy, in Bridgton, Maine, in 1964; assistant football coach at Boston University (196567); defensive coordinator at the University of Buffalo, in Buffalo, N.Y. (196870); assistant football coach at the U.S. Naval Academy (197176); defensive coordinator at the University of Miami, in Miami, Fla. (19771980); assistant football coach with the New England Patriots of the National Football League in 1981; defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech (198283); defensive line coach at the University of Notre Dame (198485); defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Louisville (19861990); named defensive coordinator at the University of Virginia on February 12, 1991; also linebackers coach at UVa from 1993-98 and in 2000.