Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Rice Joins Kill’s Staff as Aggies’ Cornerbacks Coach

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LAS CRUCES, NM – Announced Friday by NM State head coach Jerry Kill, Melvin Rice has been installed as the Aggies’ cornerbacks coach for 2022 and beyond.

Directly before agreeing to join Kill’s staff, Rice called Philadelphia, Pa., home as he coached the cornerbacks at Temple University from 2020-21.

Rice’s time at Temple continued his affiliation with Owls’ head coach Rod Carey who he also served under during Carey’s time as Northern Illinois’ head coach.

During Rice’s tenure at NIU, the defense was very productive in the passing game averaging over a dozen interceptions and 43 PBUs. The cornerback unit tallied 11 picks, including two returned for scores from 2016-18. In 2018 NIU ranked in the top 50 in passing efficiency defense. In 2016, his star pupil, Shawun Lurry, tied the school record for interceptions in a career after making two, including a pick-six in the victory at Nebraska. Lurry, a 2015 All-American, finished his career with 16 interceptions.

Rice spent the 2015 season as cornerbacks coach at Southeast Missouri State mentoring Mike Ford who went on to play for the Detroit Lions. Prior to that, he was on the defensive staff at Minnesota from 2011-2014. He started his coaching career at NIU in 2010 as a graduate assistant coach.

As a member of head coach Tom Matukewicz’ staff at SEMO in 2015, Rice helped the Redhawks rank fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference in scoring defense and in interceptions. As the defensive quality control assistant at Minnesota, Rice handled opponent scouting, self-scouting and day-to-day operations of the defensive staff as the Gophers played in three bowl games during his time there.

As a graduate assistant coach at NIU in 2010, he was part of the staff that led the Huskies to an 11-3 record, NIU’s first of what became six consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship game appearances and a victory in the Humanitarian (now Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. During that time, he mentored all-conference CB Chris Smith.

A four-year letterwinner (2005-08) who started his final three seasons for the Huskies and played in two bowl games and the 2005 MAC Championship contest, Rice made 175 career tackles, with eight for loss, two interceptions, and 18 pass breaks -oops. He had a career-best 61 stops as a junior and was credited with 50 total tackles as a senior. He led the team in pass break-ups both of those seasons.

A 2009 graduate of NIU with a degree in sociology/criminology, Rice spent the 2009 season as an assistant coach at Morgan Park High School, helping the Mustangs to the conference championship and a berth in the state playoffs. As a prep player at Morgan Park, Rice was named first-team All-Public League and also earned all-state honors from the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Champaign News-Gazette, and Illinois High School Football Coaches Association as a senior .

Rice and his wife, Gabrielle, have two sons, Macklin and Mackai, and one daughter, Mackinnley.

For complete coverage of NM State football as the Aggies prepare for year one under coach Kill and his staff, visit NMStateSports.com – the official home of NM State athletics – and follow the Aggies on Facebook (NM State Football), Twitter (@NMStateFootball ) and Instagram (@NMStateFootball).

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