"Kurt has a bright, young offensive mind with the experience of working with quarterbacks who put up great numbers at Ole Miss," Brooks said. "He was part of a very productive offense the past several years. He is a very good fit with our staff. He's a personable coach, familiar with the Southeastern Conference and with some of the areas that we recruit." Kurt Roper, who coached record-setting quarterbacks Eli Manning and Romaro Miller during the last six seasons at Ole Miss, is the new assistant coach for quarterbacks at the University of Kentucky, Coach Rich Brooks announced Tuesday.
In addition to working as the quarterbacks coach for the last six years, Roper was the team's passing game coordinator from 2002-04. Under his guidance, Miller and Manning became the most prolific passers in school history.
Roper coached Miller to second-team All-SEC honors in 2000 as Miller broke school career records for passing yards and touchdown passes. Miller has gone on to a professional career with the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League and the Ottawa Renegades and Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
Manning took over from Miller in 2001 and set 47 school records during his three years as a starter. As a senior, Manning won the Maxwell Award as the nations top collegiate player, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation's top senior quarterback, and was chosen the SEC Offensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press and SEC Coaches. Manning was selected the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and then was traded to the New York Giants.
Roper joined the Ole Miss staff in time for the Rebelsvictory in the 1998 Independence Bowl. The Rebels were bowl-eligible for the next five years and participated in the 1999 Independence Bowl, 2000 Music City Bowl, 2002 Independence Bowl, and the 2004 Cotton Bowl following the '03 season. All totaled, Ole Miss compiled a 44-29 record during his term there.
Roper went to Ole Miss from the University of Tennessee, where he was a graduate assistant from 1996-98. He worked with the Tennessee defense, primarily with the defensive backs, and also helped coach the kicking game. Tennessee played in the Citrus Bowl following the 1996 season and Orange Bowl following the 1997 campaign. The Volunteers were on their way to the 1998 national championship when Roper joined the Ole Miss staff prior to UT's victory in the Fiesta Bowl.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity to coach with Rich Brooks and the offensive staff at Kentucky," Roper said. "Rarely do you get to work with a man with the knowledge and accomplishments of Coach Brooks. I know a lot about the Lexington area and (wife) Britt and I are looking forward to moving there."
Born in Ames, Iowa, Roper played his collegiate football at Rice University. He was a three-year letterman for the Owls as a quarterback and defensive back. He began his career as a graduate assistant in the video department at Mississippi State in 1995 before going to Tennessee, where he earned his master's degree in sports administration.
Roper is married to the former Britt Albertson. He comes from a football family as his father, Bobby, was a long-time collegiate assistant coach. Bobby Roper began his career as a graduate assistant at Alabama under Paul "Bear" Bryant, then coached at Wichita State, The Citadel, Virginia, Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Oregon State, and Texas A&M.