Feb. 17, 2004
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - University of New Mexico head football coach Rocky Long announced today that Troy Reffett has been named the Lobos' cornerbacks coach. The 36-year-old Reffett spent the past 14 years at the University of Texas at El Paso, including the previous two seasons as defensive coordinator and secondary coach under former Miners head coach Gary Nord.
Reffett fills the vacancy left by Jeff Conway, who last month accepted a position at Central Missouri State. Long said Everett Todd, the Lobos' cornerbacks coach the past two seasons, will now coordinate special teams and recruiting, while Jason Strauss will coach tight ends and receivers. Strauss coached tight ends in 2002-03.
"Troy brings a lot of experience to our football program," said Long. "He's coached all aspects of defensive football with an emphasis in the secondary. Troy has extensive recruiting ties in the state of Texas and a thorough knowledge of the area and of our culture. He's a real good fit."
"I'm very excited about being able to join a program that has had the success and tradition that New Mexico has had, and to come to a city like Albuquerque, which I am familiar with and enjoy," said Reffett. "It's a great move for myself and my family, both professionally and personally. I'm looking forward to doing all I can to help this team continue to improve."
A standout defensive back for UTEP in the late '80s, Reffett joined the UTEP coaching staff in 1990 as a graduate assistant. He directed the outside linebackers from 1993-96 and the defensive backs from 1997-2001. Reffett also served as the Miners' recruiting coordinator from 1996-2001.
In Reffett's first year as defensive coordinator, UTEP had two players notch 100 tackles -- free safety D.J. Walker (116) and rover Tim Woodard (108). Walker led the WAC in stops and ranked sixth in the country in solo tackles. He closed out his career as a three-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection, ranking No. 2 on UTEP's all-time interceptions list (16).
UTEP ranked first in the WAC and 21st in the nation in pass defense in 2001 as opponents completed a league-low 49.6 percent of their passes. It marked the first time in 30 years that UTEP held the opposition to less than 50 percent completion percentage in consecutive seasons.
The Miners ranked 19th nationally in pass efficiency defense in 2000. Cornerback Crance Clemons joined Walker as an All-WAC honoree.
In 1999 Reffett turned a perceived weakness at the beginning of the season into a major strength at year's end. The Miners began the 1999 campaign with just one returning starter in the secondary. However, UTEP held foes to 182.8 passing yards a game, including 156.7 over the last seven games. Junior free safety Derek Walker ranked third on the team in tackles (92) and captured second team All-WAC honors, while senior cornerback Nick Salinas had 13 pass deflections, one shy of the single-season school record. The Miners picked off 15 passes in 1999 - 10 by the secondary - their highest total in 10 years.
Reffett came to UTEP in 1985 as a walk-on out of Eastwood High School in El Paso. He helped the Miners to a 10-2 record his junior year, including an Independence Bowl berth.
Reffett's career was highlighted by academic and athletic superlatives. As a junior and senior he was named a WAC Scholar Athlete and to the WAC All-Academic team, and was recognized as the team's defensive back of the year. In 1988, Reffett etched his name into the school record book with a 97-yard interception return for a touchdown versus San Diego State, fourth-longest in school history.
Reffett tallied 145 tackles, five interceptions, 10 pass break-ups and six tackles for losses in his UTEP career. His best season was in 1989 when he posted 104 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass break-ups as a senior.
Reffett has worked with David Terrell, who was taken in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft by Washington, as well as Michael Hicks and Clemons, free agent signees by Dallas and Detroit, respectively.
Reffett earned his B.S. in Education from UTEP in 1990 and received his master's in Education, also from UTEP, in 1992. He and his wife, Molly, have a son, Ty Christopher, and a daughter, Camille Kay.
THE REFFETT FILE
Hometown: Cynthiana, Ky.
Alma Mater: UTEP '90
Marital Status: Wife, Molly
Children: Camille Kay, Ty Christopher
Coaching Experience: 14 years, all at UTEP
Coaching Background: 1990-03, UTEP (defensive coordinator 2002-03, defensive backs/recruiting coordinator 1997-01, outside linebackers/recruiting coordinator 1996, outside linebackers 1993-95, graduate assistant 1990-92)
Bowl Games As A Player: 1988 Independence
Bowl Games As A Coach: 2000 Crucial.com Humanitarian
All-WAC Players Coached: Crance Clemons, Halikilangi Muagututia, Nick Salinas, Derek Walker, D.J. Walker
Past or Present NFL Players Coached: Crance Clemons, Michael Hicks, David Terrell