Vince Marrow, former National Football League tight end who has spent the last two seasons coaching tight ends at perennial national power Nebraska, has agreed to join Mark Stoops as tight ends coach at the University of Kentucky, the new UK head coach announced Thursday.
"I'm very excited that Coach Marrow has joined our staff," Stoops said. "His diverse experiences as a coach and NFL player will be invaluable to our players and our program. He also is a great recruiter, especially with his outstanding connections in Ohio."
Stoops and Marrow, both from Youngstown, Ohio, knew each other as children before playing football together at Cardinal Mooney High School. Marrow went on to have a successful playing career collegiately and professionally as a tight end before entering the coaching ranks.
Marrow (pronounced the same as in the term "bone marrow") comes to UK from Nebraska, where he coached the Cornhuskers' tight ends the last two seasons. In 2012, Marrow helped guide NU's tight ends to a combined 45 catches for 579 yards and five touchdowns, while their blocking ability has helped NU rank eighth in the country in rushing offense. Two of Marrow's tight ends, Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed, who rank fourth and sixth on the team respectively in receiving, earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors this season. The Huskers are 10-3 and will take on Georgia in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1.
Marrow's knowledge and coaching have had an impact on the Nebraska offense as the Cornhuskers currently sit 24th in total offense and 28th in scoring offense nationally, an improvement from 44th in total offense and 39th in scoring offense the year before he arrived.
Marrow showed an impact on the Huskers' offense in his first season, helping Nebraska average nearly 30 points per game in 2011, scoring at least two touchdowns in every game throughout the season, a feat that an NU team had accomplished only twice in the past 10 seasons. The Cornhuskers went 9-4, including a trip to the Capital One Bowl.
Although Marrow's title was graduate assistant in his term at Nebraska, he had an expanded role last spring, getting to hit the recruiting trail after Nebraska was granted a waiver from the NCAA to allow Marrow to recruit off campus while associate head coach Barney Cotton was unable to recruit due to surgery. Marrow made an immediate impact on NU's recruiting in Ohio.
"I've known Mark Stoops for a lot of years and this is a great opportunity to come here and work with him," Marrow said. "I'm excited to be here and looking forward to the new era of Kentucky football.
"I also want to Coach Bo Pelini for giving me the opportunity to work at Nebraska and all I learned from him on and off the field. My family enjoyed our two years in Lincoln and we wish everyone there the best."
Prior to his stint at Nebraska, Marrow spent six years in the coaching ranks, mostly in professional football with NFL Europe and the United Football League. The year before joining Bo Pelini's staff at NU, Marrow was tight ends coach with the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL.
Before serving as the head coach of Holland High School in Springfield, Ohio in 2009, Marrow earned his first collegiate coaching position at his alma mater, Toledo, in 2008. Marrow coached the Rockets' tight ends, helping John Allen and Tom Burzine to finish third and fifth on the team in receiving, respectively.
Marrow began his coaching career in NFL Europe, coaching tackles and tight ends with the Rhein Fire (Düsseldorf, Germany) from 2006-07 before holding the same position with the Berlin Thunder from 2005-06.
Marrow had a professional playing career as a member of NFL rosters on five teams, including Buffalo, Carolina, New York Jets, Chicago and San Francisco. After his NFL days ended, Marrow played for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe in 1998, earning all-league honors with 32 receptions for 345 yards. He also played for the Orlando Rage in the XFL in 2000.
Marrow began his collegiate playing career at Youngstown State before transferring to Toledo. Marrow played two seasons at Toledo, earning second-team All-Mid-American Conference honors in 1991 before being drafted by the Bills in 1992.
Marrow graduated from Toledo with a degree in criminal justice. He and his wife, Dr. Monique Marrow, have five children, Mike, Phylica, Merrisa, Victoria and Aryanna. Mike is a fullback at Nebraska.