Illini to Scrimmage Under the Lights Friday Night on BTN
A.J. Ricker spent the 2013 season as the offensive line coach at Illinois. Ricker came to Illinois following a brief stint at Middle Tennessee State. Ricker spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons at Western Michigan under head coach Bill Cubit, where he served as offensive line coach/run game coordinator.
Ricker's influence was seen immediately in the 2013 offensive line, as the group paved the way for the fourth-highest scoring offense (29.7 points per game) in school history. Illinois also ranked fourth in total yards per game (426.7) and third in passing yards per game (287.7) in school history.
At WMU, under Ricker's guidance, the Bronco offensive line boasted All-MAC selection Dann O'Neill in 2011 and saw first-year guard Kasimili Uitalia start all 13 games. Returning center Kevin Galeher was a 2011 Rimington Trophy candidate under Ricker's tutelage.
Prior to rejoining WMU's program, Ricker served one season as the head coach at St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind., in 2010. Ricker served as the Pumas' offensive line coach in 2009 under Lou Esposito. In one season, the offensive line paved the way for 179.5 rushing yards per game and allowed only two sacks per contest. He was named the Great Lakes Football Conference Assistant Coach of the Year in 2009 for his SJC offensive scheme efforts.
Ricker completed a stellar collegiate career at Missouri as a center, where he earned a degree in agriculture in 2004. He held the school record for consecutive starts with 47 from 2000-2003, leading the Tigers to the 2003 Independence Bowl, their first bowl appearance in five years. The Klein, Texas, native was named first-team All-Big 12 by the coaches and the Dallas Morning News in 2003, while receiving second-team All-Big 12 honors from the Associated Press.
He was named second-team All-Big 12 by the coaches and received honorable mention All-Big 12 from the AP in 2002. Ricker was also named first-team Academic All-Big 12 during his junior campaign. Being named third-team All-Big 12 by the coaches, receiving honorable mention for All-Big 12 from the AP and garnering second-team Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2001, highlighted his sophomore season in 2001.
Ricker signed a free-agent contract with the Chicago Bears in 2004 and was allocated to the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe in 2005, where he was named the offensive team captain prior to the season opener. He spent the 2006 season and part of the 2007 campaign as a member of the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm. Ricker saw action in 16 games, starting 10 in 2006. He made seven tackles, playing both offense and defense, and recovered four fumbles.
Ricker is married to the former Lauren Mattaliano.
Ricker's Coaching Career
Updated July 2014