University of Louisville football head coach Bobby Petrino on Saturday announced the hiring of Ryan Beard as the safeties coach.

An up-and-coming defensive mind, Beard spent three seasons as a defensive quality control coach at Louisville, specifically assisting in the secondary. He worked with the Cardinals during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, coaching a pair of NFL Draft selections and All-Americans, and again in 2017.

Beard tutored all-ACC honorable mention selections Jaire Alexander and Trumaine Washington, who led the team in 2017 with four interceptions. Collectively, Louisville placed in the top-45 nationally in interceptions last year.

“I am pleased to announce the addition of Ryan Beard to our coaching staff,” Petrino said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work very closely with him over the last four years, and I’m very impressed with his overall football knowledge and his ability to teach. As an all-conference player, Ryan understands what is required to be a successful defensive back on and off the field, and he will be a great mentor for our safeties this season.”

During the 2014 campaign, Beard assisted in the secondary when the Cardinals tied for the national lead in interceptions with 26. He had the opportunity to help tutor safety Gerod Holliman, who led the country with a school-record 14 interceptions that season. Holliman, a seventh-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers, was named the Jim Thorpe Award winner as the top defensive back in the country and a consensus All-American.

Before joining the UofL staff, Beard worked as the secondary coach at his alma mater Western Kentucky in 2016, helping guide the Hilltoppers to an 11-3 mark, a Conference USA title, and a win over Memphis in the Boca Raton Bowl.

One of his pupils, Brandon Leston, was named a first team Special Teams All-American and first team all-Conference USA performer. He finished the season second on the team with 96 tackles and nine pass breakups.

Beard served two seasons at Northern Michigan, coaching the cornerbacks during the 2015 campaign and the secondary in 2016. He began his coaching career at WKU as a defensive graduate assistant in 2012-13.

Named to the all-Sun Belt Conference Freshman Team in 2008, Beard played safety for the Hilltoppers from 2007-11. A two-time all-Sun Belt Conference selection, Beard notched a career-best 71 tackles during his junior campaign and added 51 stops during his final season — guiding the ‘Toppers to a 7-5 record.

Beard earned a bachelor’s degree from WKU in business management in 2012 and received his master’s in recreation and sport administration the following year.

Prior to college, Beard lettered four years for Kevin Wallace at Bowling Green High, helping the Purples to Class 3A state title game appearances in both 2005-06.

by Rocco Gasparro

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