ACU hires Ribaudo to coach special teams

CNJ staff

ABILENE, Texas — Former Eastern New Mexico University football coach Mark Ribaudo has been named special teams coach at Lone Star Conference rival Abilene Christian.

New Wildcats coach Ken Collums made the announcement on Saturday as he begins to build a staff. Collums, ACU’s offensive co-ordinator for the previous six years, was promoted when coach Chris Thomsen took an assistant’s position at Arizona State.

Ribaudo spent 15 seasons at ENMU, the last seven as head coach where his teams went 25-51, including 2-9 in 2011. He was asked to resign on Nov. 15, three days after the season, and was eventually replaced by Josh Lynn.

He was hired at ENMU as linebackers coach in 1997 under the late Bud Elliott, then promoted to defensive coordinator the following year before becoming head coach in 2005 after Elliott retired.

As defensive coordinator, Ribaudo helped the Hounds to seven consecutive winning seasons and an overall record of 49-26.

“I’m extremely blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to join the staff at ACU,” Ribaudo said on the school’s web site. “I believe it’s divine intervention. ACU is a world-class institution with a great football program and a man of character (Collums) directing that program. What situation could be better?”

Collums, who said he hopes to have his staff completed in the next seven to 10 days, returned the compliment.

“Mark is one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet,” he said. “He’s a true innovator on defense and special teams. He’ll handle the majority of our special teams because he’s constantly looking for an edge on special teams. Anybody that’s coached against him knows that.

“As a rookie head coach, Mark will be invaluable to me because of his experience.”