Ryan Mahaffey joins WKU football as tight ends coach

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU has added former Northern Iowa standout player and assistant coach Ryan Mahaffey to lead the Hilltopper tight ends in 2017, head football coach Mike Sanford announced on Friday.

Ryan Mahaffey is seen coaching at Northern Iowa. He joins WKU football as tight ends coach. (Photo courtesy of Northern Iowa.)

“Ryan is an enthusiastic, passionate coach, with intellectual horsepower and he will be an excellent addition to our coaching staff,” said Sanford. “As a recent player in both college and the NFL, he understands what it takes to play the game at the highest level and will be able to use that experience to connect with our players and recruits.”

“My fiancé, Molly, and I are thrilled to join Coach Sanford’s staff and be a part of the WKU family,” Mahaffey said. “We are extremely thankful to be a part of such a great school with a supportive administration and welcoming community. We look forward to joining the rich football tradition at WKU, and we cannot wait to get to Bowling Green.”

Mahaffey comes to Bowling Green following a year at his alma mater serving as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. The Panthers opened the 2016 season with a victory over Big 12 conference member Iowa State. Three players on the offensive side of the ball for UNI picked up All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors including lineman Trevor Hanson and Robert Rathje and all-purpose back Michael Malloy.

Prior to returning to Northern Iowa, Mahaffey spent two seasons at Notre Dame, including one spent with Sanford in 2015. Mahaffey was a part of the coaching staff that helped the Fighting Irish to a Music City Bowl win over No. 22 LSU in 2014 and a Fiesta Bowl appearance in 2015.

In Mahaffey’s first coaching stint at UNI, in 2013, he coached the tight ends on a team which included current Arizona Cardinals star, running back David Johnson.

Mahaffey graduated from UNI in the spring of 2011 with a degree in economics. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in June 2011 and spent time with the Colts and Miami Dolphins. With the Colts, Mahaffey saw action in five games with one reception for five yards in 2011 before signing with the Dolphins.

As a Panther, Mahaffey played in 51 career games and tallied 25 catches for 227 yards. He was a two-time second team All-MVFC selection and was named to the MVFC All-Newcomer team as a redshirt freshman in 2007. He was also named to the MVFC All-Academic team twice in his career.

He and his fiancé, Molly, are engaged to be married in February.


Born: Nov. 28, 1987
Hometown: Grinnell, Iowa
College: Northern Iowa, ‘11

College: Northern Iowa (2006-10)
Pro: Baltimore Ravens (2011); Indianapolis Colts (2012), Miami Dolphins (2012)

2013: Northern Iowa (Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends)
2014-15: Notre Dame (Graduate Assistant/Wide Receivers)
2016: Northern Iowa (Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers)

2014: Music City (Notre Dame, Coach)
2015: Fiesta (Notre Dame, Coach)

How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Football, follow the program via social media @WKUFootball on Twitter and Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *