LEXINGTON, Ky. – Matt House, a former defensive coordinator at Florida International and Pittsburgh who has spent the better part of two decades coaching in Division I football or the National Football League, has joined Mark Stoops’ staff at Kentucky as inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator, it was announced Thursday.
“I’m very excited to bring Matt into the program,” Stoops said. “He brings a wealth of experiences from the NFL and college football. I’ve spoken before about how I like having coaches with defensive coordinator experience in the staff room and Matt has that as well.”
With the addition of House there will be one other change of responsibilities. Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, who coached inside linebackers in spring practice, will take over the outside linebackers.
House joins the Wildcat coaching staff after spending the past three seasons as a defensive coordinator in the college ranks, helping Pittsburgh to two bowl games before becoming the defensive coordinator at FIU last season. Since beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 2001, House has had success at stops in Division I and the NFL.
“I’m excited to work with Coach Stoops, as he has a great reputation for defense,” House said. “I wanted the opportunity to be at a great university that competes in the best conference in college football.”
In his lone season with FIU, as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, House helped guide the Panthers to five wins despite injuries at key positions and limited four opponents to 14 points or less. FIU ended the season ranked 16th nationally in redzone defense, 45th nationally in fumbles recovered, 44th nationally in defensive touchdowns and 33rd in fourth-down conversion percentage defense. He also helped coach the kickoff return, kickoff coverage and punt units on special teams.
Under House’s guidance, senior defensive end Michael Wakefield tied the school record for tackles for loss and sacks in a game, earning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week honors. After the season, five defensive players earned all-conference honors, while four signed NFL free-agent contracts.
House spent three years at Pitt before heading to FIU, coaching the secondary his first season in 2012 before being promoted to defensive coordinator/linebackers coach for two seasons. During those two years, House helped guide the Panthers to the 2013 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl. Under House, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was drafted 13th overall by the Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft and eventually was selected for the Pro Bowl.
In 2013, House helped Pitt rank 34th nationally in total defense, allowing 367.5 yards of total offense per game. House’s defense really performed well in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl that season, limiting Mid-American Conference Champion Bowling Green, who was averaging 472 yards and 35 points per game, to just 27 points and 289 yards in the Panthers’ 30-27 victory.
As the Pitt secondary coach in 2012, House’s unit helped the Panthers rank 20th nationally in pass defense, 21st nationally in pass efficiency defense and 26th nationally in interceptions. At various times at Pitt, he worked with the kickoff, kickoff return and punt return teams.
Before his recent collegiate success, House spent four seasons in the NFL. He served as a defensive quality control coach and assistant linebackers coach for the St. Louis Rams from 2009 to 2011 after a stop with the Carolina Panthers in 2008 as a special teams assistant and strength and conditioning assistant. While with Carolina, the Panthers went 12-4 and claimed the NFC South Division title and the franchise’s fourth-ever playoff berth.
House started his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Michigan State, where he helped guide the Spartans to the 2001 Silicon Valley Classic helping coaching the team’s secondary and special teams. Following his time with MSU, House spent two seasons as a defensive assistant at North Carolina, helping the Tar Heels to the 2004 Continental Tire Bowl. In 2005, House was the defensive line coach at Gardner-Webb.
In 2006 and 2007, House was defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator under Turner Gill at the University of Buffalo, leading the Bulls to a share of the MAC East Division title his final season. While at Buffalo, House helped develop All-MAC safety Davonte Shannon, who finished as the Bulls’ all-time leading tackler and signed an NFL free agent deal.
House, a native of Harrison, Mich., earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State in 2000. He and his wife, Jessi, have a daughter, Avery, and three sons, Jackson, Jacob and Trent.