Mark Stoops did not have an opening on his Kentucky staff for long as the open defensive line coach position has now been filled in Lexington.

Following the departure of Derrick LeBlanc to Arkansas, LeBlanc’s contract was set to expire in June, Stoops turned to a familiar face to fill the role and has given it to former Wildcat defender Anwar Stewart.

Stewart should be a familiar name to Kentucky fans as he played for the team in the late 1990s. He also served on Stoops’ Kentucky staff back in 2017 and 2018 and is credited with helping develop linebacker Josh Allen. Last season, Stewart served as Appalachian State’s defensive line coach.

During his playing career in Lexington, Stewart racked up 64 tackles, eight sacks from his linebacker/defensive end spot. In 1997, Stewart returned a blocked Alabama field goal for a touchdown.

“It’s great when we can bring back former players and I’m excited to have Anwar rejoin our staff,” Stoops said of Stewart’s hire. “I loved the energy and juice Anwar brought to the team during his previous time here. He has been a player and coach on both the pro and college levels, so our players will benefit from his wide range of experience.”

Stewart also offered this comment following his hire in Lexington:

“I’m very excited to return to where it all started for me. Coach Stoops is doing it better than it’s ever been done before at UK. I know his vision and I know what it takes to coach under him. I’m excited to learn from Coach Stoops, Coach (Brad) White and the other coaches on the staff. I know I will grow as a man and as a father as well.”