Zach Kittley joins WKU staff as offensive coordinator and QB’s coach

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 3:10 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -Western Kentucky Football has hired Zach Kittley as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Kittley helped coach Super Bowl Champion and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes for three years at Texas Tech. Most recently, Kittley turned Houston Baptist into one of the best passing offenses in college football.

“Really excited about the opportunity to hire Zach,” WKU head coach Tyson Helton said. “I think he’s a dynamic coach who is going to bring a lot of energy, and he brings a new flavor to the table. Obviously, his body of work speaks for itself.”

Just four games in 2020 but the HBU Air Raid passing attack made headlines throughout the county. senior quarterback Bailey Zappe completed 141-of-215 passes (65.6%) for 1,833 yards, with 15 touchdowns and one interception. A trio of wide receivers – Jerreth Sterns, Josh Sterns, and Ben Ratzlaff – combined to produce 89 receptions for 1,256 yards and 12 touchdowns.

While Zappe and the Huskies had bigtime performances against North Texas (480 yards, three touchdowns), Louisiana Tech (406 yards, five scores), and Eastern Kentucky (380 yards, three scores), the most notable came against Kittley’s former school.

In the Huskies matchup against Texas Tech, Zappe completed 30-of-49 passes for 567 yards with four touchdowns. HBU fell just short of a win, losing to the Red Raiders 35-33, not bad for a team that was a 40-point underdog. Zappe’s 567 passing was the most ever by an FCS player against an FBS defense. His 458.3 yards per game is 85.7 yards higher than the FBS leading passer Dillon Gabriel of UCF (372.6 yards per game).

In 2019 HBU’s offense ranked second in the Southland Conference and 12th nationally in total offense with 426.6 yards per game and third nationally in passing offense with 334.3 yards per game. As a junior, Zappe led the nation in completions and attempts per game. He also ranked second in passing yards per game and led the nation with 35 touchdown passes during the regular season.

In 2018, Kittley’s offense averaged 27.4 points and 394.3 yards per game. Zappa tied the Southland Conference lead for touchdown passes with 23 while breaking the HBU’s career and single-season records for completions, attempts, yards, and touchdowns. Zappe and receiver Jerreth Sterns earned All-Conference honors. Sterns led the league with 68 receptions.

“He did a fantastic job in the three years he was the offensive coordinator at HBU and he’s going to be able to bring another dimension to the offense that I’m looking for,” Helton said.

Kittley spent three seasons as a graduate assistant coach and assistant quarterbacks coach at Texas Tech under head coach Kliff Kingsbury. He was a student assistant coach in 2013 and an offensive intern in 2014. In each of his last three seasons, the Red Raiders ranked in the top 10 nationally in passing offense and averaged more than 30 points per game. in 2016 Texas Tech led the nation in total offense and passing offense and ranking fifth in scoring offense. The Red Raiders were second nationally in total offense and scoring offense in 2015.

“I’m really excited for Zach and this opportunity at Western Kentucky. He is incredibly sharp and is definitely one of the brightest young minds in the game,” for Texas Tech and current Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

In the 2017 NFL Draft, two of Kittley’s quarterbacks were picked. Patrick Mahomes was taken 10th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, while Davis Webb, who finished his college career at Cal was selected by the New York Giants at 87.

“I’m excited for Zach and his family to get this opportunity at Western Kentucky. He’s a talented young coach who certainly made an impact on my career while we were together at Texas Tech,” said Mahomes. “I appreciate the time he invested in me on and off the field, and I know he will do the same for the student-athletes at WKU. I’m looking forward to watching him continue his coaching career and wish him the best of luck.”

Kittley is a native of Lubbock, Texas, and is the son of Texas Tech head track and field coach Wes Kittley, who is entering his 21st season at the helm of the nationally-ranked program.

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