With the inadequate departure of Eric Wolford back in January, Kentucky was left with finding a replacement for the Offensive Line coach. As always, I trust Mark Stoops' decision on any hire he brings in, because the success rate his guys are having across the different coaching staffs that he has assembled here has been phenomenal. The majority of them leave here as candidates for head coaching gigs, if not, at the least, a jump in a career status.
On Tuesday afternoon, the football program announced that they've made their hire - Zach Yenser from the San Francisco 49ers. After spending three seasons as the Assistant Offensive Line coach with the Niners, he's decided to return to the college level - and his home. Zach is very familiar with this part of the world, as he spent his childhood in Kentucky. He was born in Fort Mitchell, and grew up in the Commonwealth until he decided to attend middle school, as well as, high school in the state of Georgia.
Zach Yenser began his coaching career as a Graduate Assistant at his alma mater, Troy University, in 2007 by working with special teams and the offensive lineman under former Wildcat and beloved UK assistant coach John Schlarman. He then accepted a job at Henderson State in 2008, followed by Colquitt County High School in 2009. After that, made career moves to Louisiana Tech from 2010-12, then California in 2013. Continuing building his resume, he decided to spend three seasons at Kansas from 2015-17 as the run game coordinator/offensive line coach followed up by coaching stints at Southern Methodist in 2018. Lastly, he made the jump to the NFL which is where he left off before returning to Lexington.
"Zach is an incredible hire," Stoops said. "He checks all of the boxes and is the total package. He grew up in Kentucky, he's connected to John Schlarman, he has great relationships with people and is well-thought of in recruiting. He has college coaching experience and has spent the last three years in the NFL with the 49ers, an organization I greatly respect. This is a high-caliber hire and I couldn't be more excited to have him coaching our offensive line."
Zach Yenser joined Tom Leach after the Coaches Show concluded Wednesday evening and discussed what his new job at Kentucky meant to him. "It's so good to be home. I'm excited to be back." After being born in Kentucky, and his mother graduating from the University of Kentucky, he "grew up watching the Cats play." So you could only imagine how much passion is fueled behind his work ethic to continue the legacy of the 'Big Blue Wall' that John Schlarman built here.
Life seems to be coming in full circle with this hire, because Zach Yenser played at Troy University in college under John Schlarman as the starting center from 2003-06, then in 2007 became a Graduate Assistant in his first role on a collegiate staff, being mentored and learning under Schlarman in 2007 for a single season.
Moments after being hired to Mark Stoops staff, he thanked him for the opportunity. "My family and I would like to thank Coach Stoops and the University of Kentucky for this opportunity – an opportunity I don't take lightly," Yenser said. "This job just means more. As a Kentucky native and someone who worked for Coach Schlarman, it is a privilege to continue his legacy, success and the building of the Big Blue Wall."
I think this is going to be a great hire as Mark continues to push this program to new heights.