Recruiting Area: San Antonio, Austin
John Lovett joins the Bearkats for 2018 as the team's special teams coordinator and linebackers coach, adding to an already lengthy tenure in the coaching profession. He comes to Sam Houston after having most recently spent three seasonsas the cornerbacks coach at Cal. Lovett is a veteran college and NFL coach with 37 seasons of experience that includes 18 campaigns as a collegiate defensive coordinator and 15 as a defensive backs coach at the collegiate and NFL levels. Lovett has been on 12 bowl staffs and coached one NFL playoff squad over the past 20 seasons.
He immediately made a difference in 2015 to the Cal defense, helping the Bears to an 8-5 record, giving Cal its first eight-win season since the 2009 team was also 8-5 with only 29 teams since the beginning of Cal football in 1882-83 winning eight or more and only 17 either nine or 10. Cal capped its 2015 season with its first bowl victory since 2008 in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl with the spot in postseason play its first since 2011.
Much of Cal's improvement in 2015 was because the Bears' defense continued to improve at a rapid rate, allowing 9.1 less points per game than the previous season and 15.8 points fewer than the 2013 campaign.
Cal was one of the nation's top teams in categories related to caused turnovers during the 2015 season as the Golden Bears finished the campaign tied for 11th nationally in fumbles recovered (12), tied for 13th in turnovers gained (27), tied for 23rd in passes intercepted (15) and tied for 25th in defensive touchdowns (3). Cal tied for first in the Pac-12 in fumbles recovered, tied for second in turnovers gained and passes intercepted, and tied for fourth in defensive touchdowns. All of the 2015 numbers and rankings were improvements from the previous season.
The team's cornerbacks were a major part of the success formula with Darius White and Darius Allensworth solidifying the position by each starting all 13 games and setting career highs in every category for a pass defense that has allowed fewer than half the touchdown passes it did in 2014.
White led the team with three interceptions that he returned for a team-high 21 yards and was sixth on the team with 59 tackles. He was also second on the club with 11 passes defended and eight pass breakups while adding 2.0 tackles for loss, a team-high-tying one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. White was tied for eighth in the Pac-12 in per-game averages for interceptions (0.23) and passes defended (0.85). White signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts after the 2016 NFL Draft.
Allensworth had a team-high 12 passes defended and 11 pass breakups as well as a team-high-tying two forced fumbles. He added 41 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss (-5 yards) and one interception. Allensworth was tied for third in the Pac-12 in per-game averages for passes defended (0.92) and tied for 10th in forced fumbles (0.15).
Lovett spent the previous two seasons as the defensive backs coach for a Philadelphia Eagles squad that put together back-to-back 10-6 campaigns, winning an NFC East Division title and playing in the NFL Wildcard Weekend round of the NFL Playoffs following the 2013 regular season.
Lovett was the defensive backs coach under Kaufman when both were on a Texas Tech defensive staff in 2012 after the two previously spent four seasons together at Mississippi from 1995-98 with the Rebels playing in bowl games during each of his final two campaigns.
In addition to his work in the NFL and with Kaufman, Lovett also has extensive experience as a defensive coordinator for six teams most recently for two seasons at Miami (Fla.) from 2009-10. He earned his first job as a defensive coordinator at Maine (1985-88) and returned to the school for one season in 1994 before beginning his four-season stint with Kaufman at Mississippi. He has also been a defensive coordinator at Cincinnati (1989-92), Auburn (1999-2001), Clemson (2002-04) and Bowling Green State (2005-06).
In his most recent position with Philadelphia, Lovett’s defensive backs helped the Eagles to 19 interceptions in his first season during the 2013 campaign to rank tied for fifth in the NFC and tied for eighth in the NFL, with cornerback Brandon Boykin’s six picks ranking tied for second in both the league and the conference. The team’s 2013 defense was also fifth in the NFC and eighth in the NFL with a touchdown percentage of 3.7.
Lovett played a key role in the complete overhaul of the Texas Tech defense during his single season in Lubbock in 2012 as the defensive backs coach under Kaufman. Inheriting a 2011 unit that ranked 114th nationally in total defense (485.58 ypg), the Red Raiders improved to 38th (367.31 ypg) while ranking second in the Big 12 Conference. Texas Tech was keyed by a pass defense that led the league and ranked 15th in the country (192.00 ypg). The Red Raiders finished 8-5 overall and were victorious over Minnesota at the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Texas Tech defensive backs Cody Davis and D.J. Johnson were named second-team All-Big 12 in 2012 while Davis was also a first-team Capital One Academic All-America® selection and one of 15 finalists for the prestigious William B. Campbell Trophy also known as the “Academic Heisman”. Davis led the team in tackles (101) and interceptions (3), including one that he returned 88 yards for a touchdown, while also totaling seven pass breakups, 10 passes defended and 3.5 tackles for loss (-8 yards). Johnson was second on the squad with 90 tackles, including 69 solo tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss (-13 yards), two interceptions, four pass breakups and six passes defended.
Before rejoining Kaufman at Texas Tech, Lovett spent two seasons (2009-10) as the defensive coordinator at Miami (Fla.) with the Hurricanes playing in bowls both season at the Champs Sports Bowl and Sun Bowl. Lovett tutored a defensive unit that ranked 29th nationally in total defense in 2009 and featured four players that would eventually be selected in the 2011 NFL Draft in second-team All-American and two-time Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist defensive back Brandon Harris, first-team All-ACC defensive lineman Allen Bailey, and second-team All-ACC linebackers Darryl Sharpton and Colin McCarthy. Harris ended up a second-round selection of Houston and played three seasons with the Texans before one with Tennessee. Bailey was a third-round pick of his current Kansas City Chiefs. Sharpton was a fourth-round choice of Houston and played four seasons with the club before moving on to rosters in Chicago, Washington and Arizona. McCarthy played four seasons with the Titans after being drafted by the club in the fourth round before announcing his retirement from football in 2015.
During his two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Bowling Green State he also coached linebackers in 2005 and defensive backs in 2006. In his first year with the Falcons, Lovett's defense ranked 20th in the country in turnover margin.
In his three-season tenure as the defensive coordinator at Clemson from 2002-04, Lovett spearheaded the development of one of the ACC's top defenses. In 2004, Clemson was 11th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (103.39) and 26th in total defense (327.27 ypg) while his 2003 defense allowed just 19.2 points per game to rank tied for 20th in scoring defense as the Tigers finished the season with nine wins, a top-25 national ranking and a Peach Bowl victory over Tennessee. Defensive backs Brian Mance (All-American) and Justin Miller (Freshman All-American) both earned national honors in the first season of his stint, while Miller also played for six seasons in the NFL after being selected by the New York Jets in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Lovett also helped Tye Hill transition from a running back in his first campaign at Clemson into a defensive back who earned consensus All-American honors and was a finalist for the Thorpe Award in his senior season before being selected in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft and playing five campaigns in the NFL.
As the defensive coordinator at Auburn from 1999-2001, Lovett helped lead the Tigers to bowl games each of his last two seasons with appearances in the Florida Citrus Bowl and Peach Bowl.
Lovett coached the secondary all four years he was at Mississippi (1995-98), including the 1997 season when the Rebels had an 8-4 overall record, including a victory over Marshall in the Motor City Bowl. The Rebels were 7-5 and victorious over Texas Tech in the Independence Bowl in his second campaign.
Lovett’s two stints as the defensive coordinator at Maine (1985-88, 1994) were highlighted by a 1987 squad that won the Yankee Conference and qualified for the Division I-AA playoffs. He also coached the team’s defensive backs during his first four seasons at Maine.
Lovett began his coaching career as an assistant at St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J. (1976-77) and was also an assistant at Union College (1978-82) and Brown (1983) before spending the 1984 season in a defensive quality control role with the New York Jets that launched him into his first defensive coordinator position at Maine in 1985.
Other stops during his career have included one season as the defensive backs coach at UNLV (1993) and two campaigns in the role of special teams coordinator and defensive assistant at North Carolina (2007-08).
Lovett graduated from C.W. Post (now known as LIU Post) with a bachelor’s degree in education in December of 1973 and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in the fall of 2008. He initially was a walk-on but quickly earned a scholarship and served as the team's co-captain as a senior in 1973. At the completion of his collegiate playing career, he enrolled in graduate school at Denver and earned his master's degree in physical education in 1975.
John Lovett File
Birthdate: December 1, 1950
Hometown: Nyack, N.Y.
High School: Pearl River HS
College: Bachelor’s in education, C.W. Post, 1973; Master’s in physical education, Denver, 1975
Family: Wife, Carol
Collegiate Coaching History
Season: Team – Position
1978: Union College – Assistant Coach
1979: Union College – Assistant Coach
1980: Union College – Assistant Coach
1981: Union College – Assistant Coach
1982: Union College – Assistant Coach
1983: Brown – Assistant Coach
1984: New York Jets – Defensive Quality Control
1985: Maine – Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1986: Maine – Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1987: Maine – Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1988: Maine – Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1989: Cincinnati – Defensive Coordinator
1990: Cincinnati – Defensive Coordinator
1991: Cincinnati – Defensive Coordinator
1992: Cincinnati – Defensive Coordinator
1993: UNLV – Defensive Backs
1994: Maine – Defensive Coordinator
1995: Mississippi – Defensive Backs
1996: Mississippi – Defensive Backs
1997: Mississippi – Defensive Backs
1998: Mississippi – Defensive Backs
1999: Auburn – Defensive Coordinator
2000: Auburn – Defensive Coordinator
2001: Auburn – Defensive Coordinator
2002: Clemson – Defensive Coordinator
2003: Clemson – Defensive Coordinator
2004: Clemson – Defensive Coordinator
2005: Bowling Green State – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2006: Bowling Green State – Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2007: North Carolina – Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Assistant
2008: North Carolina – Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Assistant
2009: Miami (Fla.) – Defensive Coordinator
2010: Miami (Fla.) – Defensive Coordinator
2012: Texas Tech – Defensive Backs
2013: Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) – Defensive Backs
2014: Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) – Defensive Backs
2015: Cal – Cornerbacks
2016: Cal – Cornerbacks
Bowl (11 Games)/NCAA Playoff (1 Game)/NFL Playoff (1 Game) History
Season: Team – Bowl Game/Playoff
1987: Maine – NCAA Division I-AA First Round
1997: Mississippi – Motor City Bowl
1998: Mississippi – Independence Bowl
2000: Auburn – Florida Citrus Bowl
2001: Auburn – Peach Bowl
2002: Clemson – Tangerine Bowl
2003: Clemson – Peach Bowl
2008: North Carolina – Meineke Car Care Bowl
2009: Miami (Fla.) – Champs Sports Bowl
2010: Miami (Fla.) – Sun Bowl
2012: Texas Tech – Meineke Car Care Bowl
2013: Philadelphia Eagles – NFL Wild Card Weekend
2015: Cal – Armed Forces Bowl
*Season in which bowl/playoff game was played