Missouri has hired Illinois offensive line coach A.J. Ricker to the same position on Gary Pinkel’s staff, according to multiple reports.
Ricker, a 2004 Missouri graduate, was at Illinois for one season. Illini coach Tim Beckman told the News-Gazette of Champaign, Ill., that he expected Ricker to take the job at Missouri.
“He’s going to accept the opportunity to go to his alma mater,” Beckman said. “We build a program and we talk about family, and he has an opportunity to go back to his family.”
Prior to joining Illinois, Ricker, 34, served as the offensive line coach and run-game coordinator at Western Michigan for two seasons. He was the Broncos’ offensive line coach in 2008 after two seasons as a graduate assistant.
While at Western Michigan, Ricker served under former Missouri assistant Bill Cubit, who was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator in 2000 and currently serves as Illinois’ offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
Ricker started all 11 games in 2000 as a redshirt freshman and played the next three seasons under Pinkel.
Between stints at Western Michigan, Ricker served as the offensive coordinator at Division II St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., in 2009 and was the Pumas’ head coach in 2010 when the team went 5-5.
After his playing career at Missouri, Ricker, a first-team All-Big 12 center in 2003, signed with the Chicago Bears and was allocated to the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe in 2005.
He played for the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm in 2006 and 2007.
Ricker — who was born in Windsor, Mo., but graduated from Klein (Texas) High School — replaces Bruce Walker, who retired earlier July 1 after 13 seasons at Missouri.