Rick Minter is in his second season with the Irish in 2006 after producing significant improvement in the 2005 Notre Dame defense as the Irish defensive coordinator/linebackers coach, a post he also held in 1992-93 under former head coach Lou Holtz. Regarded as one of the premier defensive coaches in the country, Minter has 10 years of head coaching experience at the major-college level, plus 12 seasons as a defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, South Carolina and Ball State.
Minter molded a much-improved defense for the Irish last season, a unit that produced 24 turnovers (13 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries) while contributing to Notre Dame's plus-10 turnover margin. Minter strives to produce a competitive and aggressive unit that plays with superior effort. That effort helped the '05 Irish defense limit opponents to only a 35 percent success rate on third downs while Notre Dame foes scored touchdowns on only 56 percent of red zone opportunities.
Minter's linebackers played a significant part in the Irish defense's improvement in 2005 as weakside linebacker Brandon Hoyte led the team in tackles (92) while middle linebacker Corey Mays was second (80) and strongside linebacker Maurice Crum, Jr., (57) also ranked among the team's tackles leaders. Overall, the starting trio of linebackers combined for 229 tackles, including 32.5 for losses, 11 quarterback sacks, three fumble recoveries and six forced fumbles.
Minter produced major improvement in the South Carolina defense in 2004 under Holtz - as the Gamecocks ranked 20th nationally in total defense (315.18 yards per game) and 15th nationally in pass defense (177.27). Among his pupils was freshman free safety Ko Simpson, who earned second-team All-America honors and ranked third nationally in interceptions (with six).
During 10 seasons as head coach at Cincinnati (1994-2003) he led the Bearcats to four postseason bowl games and was the winningest coach in the program's history. Minter's 2002 team was co-champion of Conference USA. His 1997 team finished 8-4 after a Humanitarian Bowl victory over Utah State, marking the first bowl appearance for Cincinnati since 1951. Minter's Bearcats had three straight seven-win campaigns from 2000-2002 - and all three seasons resulted in postseason bowl invitations.
In Minter's second season at Cincinnati in 1995, the Bearcats' Robert Tate led the nation in kickoff returns with a 34.3-yard average. In 2000, kicker Jonathan Ruffin became the program's first consensus All-America selection, as Ruffin led the nation in field goals (made 26 of 29) and won the Lou Groza Award as the top kicker in the country. Minter's eight seasons in Conference USA produced 26 first-team all-league selections for the Bearcats, including 11 picks on defense.
It was during his two seasons with Holtz at Notre Dame (1992-93) that he earned a national reputation of being one of the top defensive minds in the country. The 1993 Irish defense held nine of its 12 opponents under 100 yards rushing en route to an 11-1 season and runner-up finish in the national championship race. Notre Dame finished that season with the nation's fourth-best rushing defense, with three of Minter's defenders earning first-team All-America honors, including free safety Jeff Burris, cornerback Bobby Taylor and tackle Bryant Young.
The 1992 Notre Dame defense allowed an average of 91 yards rushing and 277 total yards over the last nine games of the season, as the Irish posted a 10-1-1 mark, won the Cotton Bowl and was ranked fourth in the final national polls. That season also saw the Notre Dame defense finish ninth nationally in rushing defense (111.1), with cornerback Tom Carter earning All-America honors. During his two seasons at Notre Dame, Minter coached 21 defensive players who went on to play professionally in the NFL.
Prior to joining the Notre Dame staff, Minter served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Ball State for seven seasons, annually developing units that were ranked among the national leaders. The 1991 Ball State squad was ranked ninth in the country in scoring defense, 11th in total defense and 16th in passing defense. A year earlier, in 1990, the Cardinals were second in the nation in total defense, third in pass and scoring defense and 10th in rush defense.
Ball State combined for a 28-15-2 mark over his final four seasons in Muncie (1988-91), including a Mid-American Conference title and Raisin Bowl appearance in 1989 that marked the Cardinals' first bowl participation in 22 years. During Minter's seven seasons under head coach Paul Schudel, Ball State produced nine all-Mid-American Conference players on defense, including three-time MAC Defensive Player of the Year (1987-89) Gary Garnica.
Minter also has collegiate coaching experience at New Mexico State (linebackers in 1984), North Carolina State (outside linebackers in 1980-82 under head coach Monte Kiffin), Louisiana Tech (defensive ends in 1979) and Arkansas, where he was a graduate assistant under Holtz (helping the Razorbacks to nine wins, a No. 11 final ranking and a Fiesta Bowl appearance in 1978).
Born Richard Dale Minter on Oct. 4, 1954 in Nash, Texas, he is a graduate of Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas. He was a three-year starter at defensive end at Henderson State, where he earned both his bachelor's (1977) and master's degrees (1978) in education. Minter is the father of two sons, Josh and Jesse, an intern in the Notre Dame football office.
The Rick Minter File
|1977||Henderson State||Graduate Assistant/Linebackers|
|1978||Arkansas (9-2-1, Fiesta Bowl, #11)||Graduate Assistant/Linebackers/DBs|
|1979||Louisiana Tech||Defensive Ends|
|1980||North Carolina State (6-5)||Outside Linebackers|
|1981||North Carolina State||Outside Linebackers|
|1982||North Carolina State (6-5)||Outside Linebackers|
|1984||New Mexico State||Linebackers|
|1985||Ball State||Asst. Head Coach/Def. Coordinator|
|1986||Ball State (6-5)||Asst. Head Coach/Def. Coordinator|
|1987||Ball State||Asst. Head Coach/Def. Coordinator|
|1988||Ball State (8-3)||Asst. Head Coach/Def. Coordinator|
|1989||Ball State (7-3-2, Raisin Bowl)||Asst. Head Coach/Def. Coordinator|
|1990||Ball State (7-4)||Asst. Head Coach/Def. Coordinator|
|1991||Ball State (6-5)||Asst. Head Coach/Def. Coordinator|
|1992||Notre Dame (10-1-1, Cotton Bowl champ, #4)||Defensive Coordinator/Inside LBs|
|1993||Notre Dame (11-1, Cotton Bowl champ, #2)||Defensive Coordinator/Inside LBs|
|1995||Cincinnati (6-5)||Head Coach|
|1996||Cincinnati (6-5)||Head Coach|
|1997||Cincinnati (8-4, Humanitarian Bowl champ)||Head Coach|
|2000||Cincinnati (7-5, Motor City Bowl)||Head Coach|
|2001||Cincinnati (7-5, Motor City Bowl)||Head Coach|
|2002||Cincinnati (7-7, New Orleans Bowl)||Head Coach|
|2004||South Carolina (6-5)||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers|
|2005||Notre Dame (9-3, Fiesta Bowl, #9)||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers|
(numbers in parentheses indicate final season ranking in Associated Press poll)