Prince to coach special teams at Virginia

Updated: February 20, 2009, 2:46 PM ET
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

Former Kansas State coach Ron Prince has been hired as the special teams coach at Virginia, where he was an assistant from 2001-2005.

Prince first came to Charlottesville as the Cavaliers' offensive line coach and was named offensive coordinator in 2003.

"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 in a statement. "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."

Virginia was ranked 92nd in the nation in punt returns last year, and 70th in kickoff returns. While at Virginia, Prince 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 first-team All-Americans. There were nine Virginia offensive players he helped coach that were selected in the NFL draft.

"We look forward to a big upgrade in special teams production," Groh said in a statement. "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 was fired from his first head coaching job in November with three games remaining in Kansas State's regular season. His 16-18 record in Manhattan included a bowl game in his first season. Despite earning the second-most wins (12) in his first two seasons of any coach in K-State history, Prince was unable to turn the program around in less than three seasons, leaving school officials unsatisfied.

College football blogger Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com.