LEXINGTON, Ky. – After spending 26 years in the collegiate coaching ranks, including four seasons as the head coach at Northwestern State, Bradley Dale Peveto has joined the University of Kentucky football coaching staff as the safeties coach and special teams coordinator, head coach Mark Stoops announced Saturday.
Peveto brings extensive experience to the Bluegrass State, having coached in three Southeastern Conference championship games and winning a national championship while an assistant coach at LSU in 2007. Originally from Orangefield, Texas, Peveto knows the South well, having spent his entire coaching career in Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas.
“Bradley Dale impressed me greatly during the year we worked together,” said Stoops, who was on the University of Houston staff with Peveto during the 2000 season. “He has a relentless work ethic and excellent experience as a special teams coordinator and defensive coach.”
Peveto (pronounced “PEE-veh-toe”) most recently spent four seasons as the head coach at Northwestern State in Louisiana, where he guided the team to consecutive seasons with five or more wins for the first time since 2004-05. His team improved by five wins from his first to his second season, the fourth-largest jump that year in Division I football. While coaching the Demons, Peveto brought in highly ranked recruiting classes with his first signing class ranking No. 1 among NCAA Football Championship Subdivision schools by Rivals.com, while his 2010 class ranked fourth in the FCS by Rivals.com.
Peveto, who also coached linebackers while owning the top spot with the Demons, led linebacker Derek Rose to All-America honors in 2010 and 2011, while Rose earned first-team All-Southland Conference honors this season.
Before his head coaching stint, Peveto spent 22 years as an assistant coach, including 2005-08 at perennial national power LSU, where he won a national championship, SEC championship and four consecutive bowl games. Peveto spent three years as the Tigers special teams coordinator and linebackers coach before being promoted in 2008 to co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
During his time with LSU, the Tigers ranked in the nation’s top five in total defense three seasons. In 2007, he coached linebacker Ali Highsmith to first-team All-America honors from CBSSports.com and second-team honors from The Associated Press. In 2005, Peveto led a linebacker corps of Highsmith, Cameron Vaughn, Kenneth Hollis and E.J. Kuale, which was one of the best groups in the SEC.
As LSU’s special teams coordinator, Peveto had both his punter (Patrick Fisher) and placekicker (Colt David) earn first-team All-SEC honors in 2007, marking the first time in school history that LSU had the All-SEC punter and kicker on its roster in the same season. Fisher had a great season with a league-best average of 44.5 yards per punt, while David drilled a school-record 26 field goals, leading the SEC in scoring with 147 total points, which was a league record.
Peveto led LSU’s special teams to solid seasons in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, the Tigers were one of the best special teams units in the nation, ranking first in the conference in net punting and kickoff coverage and second in the league in punt returns. Nationally, LSU ranked fifth in the nation in net punting and 12th nationally in punt return average. Skyler Green was named first-team All-America as a return specialist.
In 2006, Peveto directed special teams units that returned both a punt and kickoff for touchdowns. LSU return specialist Craig “Buster” Davis earned second-team All-SEC honors in 2006 after averaging 14.2 yards on punt returns and was picked in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers.
In three years as LSU’s special teams coordinator, the Tigers returned two punts for touchdowns and a pair of kickoffs for a score. They also blocked six kicks, converted 49-of-71 field goals and 165-of-167 extra points.
Prior to his stop in Baton Rouge, Peveto spent two years at Middle Tennessee State and four years at Houston, serving at various times as a defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. Peveto led MTSU to a No. 2 ranking in the Sun Belt Conference in rush defense during his time, while Houston ranked 25th in total defense, 20th in rushing defense and 22nd in scoring defense and tied for 14th nationally with 28 forced turnovers in his first season with the Cougars. Peveto also coached four Cougars to five all-conference awards while three players were placed on the league’s all-freshman squad.
“I knew the year we coached together (in Houston) that Coach Stoops had a great defensive mind and was one of the best coaches – both in teaching players on the field and building relationships with them off the field – I’ve ever known,” Peveto said. “I believed he had all the qualities necessary to become a head coach and I’m proud to join his staff at the University of Kentucky.”
Before coaching the Cougars, Peveto had his first stint with Northwestern State as the team’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 1996-98. Peveto helped lead the team to the Division I-AA playoffs and the SLC Championship in 1997 and 1998, finishing with a No. 3 national ranking in 1998. Peveto’s defense was ranked nationally in multiple categories in each of his three seasons, while four Demon players were selected in the NFL Draft during his tenure.
Under his direction, the Demon defense also set single-game records for fewest yards allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed, and most quarterback sacks. NSU also set school season records for most defensive touchdowns scored. In addition, his defenses also set season records for quarterback sacks in two of his three seasons, accumulating 52 in 1998 and 122 in three years.
Peveto coached two years in the SEC with Arkansas from 1994-95, working with special teams, linebackers and the defensive line. During his time, the Razorbacks won the SEC Western Division title in 1995 with an 8-5 mark and a trip to the Carquest Bowl.
Prior to his time in Fayetteville, Peveto spent two years as special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach at Southern Mississippi and four years with various responsibilities at Stephen F. Austin. While with SFA, the Lumberjacks finished as the national runners-up in Division I-AA in 1989. Peveto began his coaching career as the secondary coach at Trinity Valley Community College.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University, Peveto was a four-year letterman for the Mustangs and played in four bowl games (Cotton, Sun, Aloha and Mirage). During his playing career, SMU won two Southwest Conference championships (1982 and 1984) and had a combined record of 43-14-1.
Peveto served as team captain in 1986 and earned the Wild Mustang Special Teams Player of the Year award and the Mike Kelsey Award for attitude, hustle and desire as a senior. He also was a member of the 1984 SWC All-Academic team.
Peveto comes from a family with a rich football coaching tradition. His late father, Ed, coached high school football in the Southeast Texas area and was inducted into the Greater Houston Coaches Hall of Honor in 1993 and into the Golden Triangle Coaches Hall of Fame in 1997. Two of his late brothers, Jeff and Garey Birt, coached at high schools in the Southeast Texas area.
Peveto is married to the former Melissa Weser, and the couple has a daughter, Payton Marie, and a son, Jacob Edward.