Texas native and longtime defensive coach Larry Hoefer is in his third year of coaching the talented group of Rice safeties. He joined David Bailiff's staff on February 6, 2012.
Hoefer's safeties have played a major role in the Owls defensive improvements that took the team to the 2013 Conference USA title. Paul Porras departed South Main ranked 9th on the Rice career tackle list, but Hoefer returns a wealth of talent both in starters and reserves who gained valuable playing experience last year. Senior Julius White takes over for Porras as the Owls' active career tackle leader with 153 tops, while fellow senior Gabe Baker has played the in the most games of any returner (43 games).
As a group, the Owls defensive backfield picked off 14 passes last year, six of them by safeties, while breaking up a total of 61 passes. They held opponents to only 202. 7 yards per game, a drop of nearly 33 yards per game from 2012 and opposing passers had an efficiency rating of 119.6, down from 136.8 in 2012.
In Hoefer's first year on South Main, the Owls safety corps overcame the loss of two-year starter Corey Frazier at the start of the season as Paul Porras put together his best season and Julius White stepped into the void and finish third on the team in tackles. Porras led the Owls with 93 tackles while he and White shared the team lead with a pair of interceptions. The Owls safeties combined with the cornerbacks to hold opponents to only 21 touchdown passes, the fewest since 2005.
A veteran of 36 years of coaching , Hoefer came to Rice after seven seasons at Baylor where he coached both the safeties (2003-07) and linebackers (2008-10).
Hoefer, who came to Baylor in 2003 with Guy Morriss from Kentucky, served as Baylor's defensive coordinator and safeties coach in 2007. He coached at least one All-Big 12 performer every year.
In his first year at Baylor, Hoefer coached the Bears' leading tackler in Maurice Lane, who had 129 stops at free safety en route to honorable mention All-Big 12 honors, and Derrick Cash, the team's fourth-leading tackler as an outside safety. Another pupil, outside safety Willie Andrews, led the team in interceptions and was third on the squad in tackles.
In 2004 Andrews earn first-team All-Big 12 honors as a safety from the Dallas Morning News and as a return specialist from the league's coaches, while Lane garnered first-team all-conference recognition from the San Antonio Express-News. Lane again paced the squad in tackles, while Andrews again ranked third in tackles and had a team-high three sacks.
Lane led the Bears in tackles for the third consecutive year in 2005 en route to first-team All-Big 12 honors from both The Associated Press and the Dallas Morning News. Andrews earned first-team All-Big 12 recognition from the league's coaches as a safety and was later selected in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
In 2006, outside safety Maurice Linguist and free safety Dwain Crawford both earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the league's coaches. Jordan Lake was a consensus second-team All-Big 12 selection as a free safety in 2007 after leading the Bears with 120 total tackles.
In 2008 Hoefer coached linebacker Joe Pawelek, who ranked seventh nationally in both tackles (10.7 per game) and interceptions (0.5 per game) - the only player nationally ranked in the top 10 of both categories. Pawelek was named an All-American and consensus All-Big 12 player.
Hoefer spent two seasons as safeties coach on Morriss' Kentucky staff before making the move to Waco. He went to UK from Texas-El Paso, where he was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the 2000 season. The Miners posted an 8-3 regular season record, were WAC co-champions and played in the Humanitarian Bowl. The bowl game marked Hoefer's sixth as a coach, in addition to four at Texas Tech and one (1988) during his previous stint at UTEP.
Using an eight-man front under Hoefer's guidance, UTEP reduced its rushing yards allowed from 208.2 yards per game in 1999 to 153.8 ypg in the 2000 season. UTEP held five of its league opponents under 100 yards rushing. The Miners also ranked 19th nationally in pass efficiency defense.
Hoefer worked for coach Spike Dykes at Texas Tech from 1994-99, where he coached the outside linebackers. Tech was bowl-eligible every season and played in the Cotton, Copper, Alamo and Independence bowls during Hoefer's tenure. Among his pupils were Marcus Coleman, a first-team All-American in 1995 and Ty Ardoin, each of whom played in the NFL. Hoefer also coached All-Big 12 picks Robert Johnson and Jody Brown. Tech ranked first in the nation for takeaways over a five-year period from 1993-97.
Hoefer had multiple responsibilities as an assistant at Missouri from 1989-93, working his way up from receivers coach to defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. His first term at UTEP, from 1982-88, was capped by a 10-win season and a berth in the 1988 Independence Bowl.
A native of Abilene, Texas, Hoefer stayed in his hometown and played defensive back at McMurry University, graduating in 1973. He was team captain and earned the squad's MVP honor.
Hoefer's first coaching stop was at Tarleton State from 1974-75 as a graduate assistant working with the defensive backs. He went on to coach at Big Spring (Texas) High School in 1976 and Abilene (Texas) High from 1977-80. Hoefer coached at West Texas State in 1981 before joining the UTEP staff for the first time.
Hoefer and his wife, Kathy, have three children and six grandchildren.