Beginning his 18th season on the Rice staff, former Owl standout Steve Kidd assumed the responsibilities of recruiting coordinator in 1999 after becoming the Owls' kicking coach in 1997. In his coaching assignment, Kidd uses his all-America kicking expertise to tutor Rice's punters, placekickers and deep snappers.
The result has been a succession of quality performers on special teams. In early 2003, Ryan Pontbriand was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft (Cleveland) for his skills as a deep snapper. Special teams players have been drafted before, but Pontbriand's selection was the highest-ever for a deep snapper. It was in no small part to the coaching he received in daily practice.
Later in the year, freshman punter Jared Scruggs earned all-WAC honors with the fourth-highest punting average in the nation. Scruggs' average of 45.9 yards per kick was only four-hundreths of a yard off Kidd's school record average (45.94) in 1985. He was named the WAC's special teams player of the week twice in 2003.
Previously, Kidd's work helped turn Travis Hale into one of the team's most dependable players during the 1999-2002. Hale led the WAC in punting in 2000 and finished his Rice career with the second-highest punting average in school history. In `02, he averaged 40.6 yards per punt to rank 50th in the nation. That season, Hale blasted a 77-yard punt at SMU for one of the longest kicks in school history. Hale was named the WAC's special teams player of the week on Sept. 9, 2002.
Rice placekickers have also benefited under Kidd's leadership. Derek Crabtree had established a Rice record with an 82 percent field-goal percentage for his career when his Rice playing days ended in 2001. Currently, Brennan Landry holds the Rice record for PATs in a career with 90 entering his senior season. Landry has converted on 90-of-95 extra point attempts and 18 field goals. As a freshman in 2002, Landry led the team in scoring (55 points) and was a solid 7-of-9 on field goals from inside 40 yards. His longest career field goal has been a 46-yard shot in the Owls' win over UT-El Paso in 2003.
Prior to the 1997 season, the 41-year-old Kidd had spent three years as the football administrative assistant. His Rice career had previously been spent in two-year increments: graduate assistant football coach under former coaches Jerry Berndt and Fred Goldsmith (1988-89), assistant strength and conditioning coach (1990-91) and recruiting coordinator under Goldsmith (1992-93).
A four-year letterman at Rice (1983-86), he was an Owl starter both in the secondary and as the team's punter. He ended his career with Rice records in career punting average (40.4 yards per kick) and the highest game average (49.7 vs. Texas in 1985), as well as the best average for a season. Following that record-breaking 1985 season, Kidd was named to all-SWC and all-America teams as a punter.
His records for the career and single-game averages lasted until 1996 when Tucker Phillips earned all-WAC status.
Kidd was a complete player during his record-setting Rice career. He was also the recipient of the Jess Neely Defense Award for backs in both 1985 and 1986. He represented Rice in the 1987 Hula Bowl to conclude his collegiate career and later signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
Kidd received his undergraduate degree in a triple major of managerial studies, political science and physical education in 1987. He received the ultimate honor for a Rice athlete in October, 1993, with his induction into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame.
Kidd and his wife, Nathalie, have three children: Blake (12), Morgan (10), and Hannah (7). They reside in Sugar Land.
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