Virginia football coach Al Groh announced today the hiring of Ron Prince to coordinate the Cavaliers special teams. A 17-year coaching veteran on the collegiate level, Prince is one of three Virginia assistant coaches who have been a head coach at the collegiate or professional level.
“Ron Prince did an outstanding job for Virginia football for five years,” Groh said. “Ron cares about the kids, makes a strong connection with them and is interested in their success. While the head coach at Kansas State, his teams led the country in punt returns (2007), kick off returns (2006) and kicks blocked (2008), and Ron was very involved with the special teams. We look forward to a big upgrade in special teams production. Ron knows our values and team culture, as well as our blind spots. We are extremely pleased to have Ron back as part of our team.”
Prince rejoins the UVa staff after serving as the head coach at Kansas State for the last three seasons. His first stint at Virginia started in 2001 when he was named the team’s offensive line coach. In 2003 he took over as offensive coordinator for three seasons before moving on to head up the Wildcats’ program.
While at Virginia, he coached 11 players who earned All-ACC honors, including the league’s 2003 Player of the Year, Matt Schaub, and three-time all-conference picks Elton Brown and Heath Miller, who were also tabbed as first-team All-Americans. There were nine Virginia offensive players who he helped tutor that were selected in the NFL Draft.
“The University of Virginia and Al Groh have meant a lot to me and my family and we are thrilled to rejoin the Cavalier Family,” Prince said. “ My experiences the last three seasons in the Big 12 have added to my appreciation of the quality of the Virginia program, the unique set of skills that Coach Groh has, and the ambition and energy of the players. I am very excited for the challenge Coach has given me to significantly upgrade special teams performance.”
At Kansas State, Prince became the first coach in Wildcats’ history to lead his team to a bowl game in year one and also recorded the second-most wins, 12, by a coach in school history after the first two years on the job. He saw 19 of his players earn all-Big 12 honors over three years, directed Kansas State to its first-ever road win over a top-10 team (41-21 at Texas in 2007) and coached the team’s first-ever offensive consensus All-American (WR Jordy Nelson). He had players earn Academic Big 12 honors 21 times over three seasons.
Prince was born in Omaha, Neb. and grew up in Junction City, Kan. He played collegiately at Dodge City Community College (1988-90) and Appalachian State (1990-1991). He earned his undergraduate degree in history from Appalachian State in 1992.
His coaching resume began in 1992 when he worked as a volunteer assistant coach at Dodge City. He coached the offensive line and tight ends at Alabama A&M in 1993, worked as the offensive line coach at South Carolina State in 1994, coached the offensive line at James Madison from 1995 to 1997 and was the offensive line coach (1998-2000) and running game coordinator (1999-2000) at Cornell before joining the UVa staff in 2001. Prince has served NFL Minority Fellowships with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1996), Washington Redskins (1997), Atlanta Falcons (1999) and New York Giants (2000).
Prince and his wife, Zo, have three sons and one daughter.