04.02.2021 2:53 p.m.
Horton returns after two seasons in West Virginia for his second stint in Kentucky
Rafael Horton is returning to the Kentucky football program as the strength and conditioning coach’s assistant, head coach Mark Stoops announced. Horton has spent the past two seasons as the assistant head coach for football strength and fitness in West Virginia.
“We are happy to have Rafael back in our program,” said Stoops. “He’s done a good job with us before and I really liked his energy. The experience he has since will only improve his technical knowledge and his ability to motivate and relate to players.”
In Kentucky, Horton will co-lead the strength and conditioning program with Performance Director Corey Edmond, Head of Performance / Head Strength Trainer Mark Hill, and Assistant Strength Trainer Tyler Malone.
“We are happy to have Rafael back in our program,” said Edmond. “He brings cohesion and energy to what we’re trying to do here. Our focus in Kentucky is player development and he has a track record of success. What makes our people unique is that titles don’t define us. We are . ” All trainers for head strength. All of our staff has the ability to run the space and we work well together. We’re building something special and getting Rafael back was key to what we want to achieve in the UK. “
Prior to West Virginia, Horton was the head coach of football strength and stamina at Troy from 2015-18, where he was an integral part of the Troy’s success. In its four seasons, the Trojans set a record of 35-16, won the 2017 Sun Belt Conference championship, tied the 2018 Sun Belt Eastern Division championship, and won three straight bowl games.
Horton’s previous stint in Kentucky was as a strength and conditioning coach assistant from 2013 to 2015. In both of his seasons he coached former Wildcats and current NFL players such as Alvin “Bud” Dupree (Pittsburgh Steelers), Za’Darius Smith (Green Bay Packers) and Avery Williamson (Pittsburgh Steelers).
“I’m very excited to be back in the UK,” said Horton. “For me, it’s all about the players and I’m looking forward to working and developing this team and, most importantly, helping them achieve their goals.”
Horton spent five years at Fort Valley State as an assistant strength and conditioning coach and linebacker for a year before being promoted to strength and conditioning coordinator. As a department head, he was responsible for overseeing the strength and conditioning team for all 11 university sports and cheerleading. He was also the university’s fitness trainer, developing fitness programs to promote healthier lifestyles for students, faculty, and staff.
The 39-year-old Horton holds numerous certifications including NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) and CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists) as well as certifications from the United States Association of Weightlifting for Athletic Achievement, the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a performance improvement specialist and the National Association of Speed and Explosion.
Born in Barnesville, Georgia, he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Fort Valley State in 2010 and his master’s degree in exercise science from California University of Pennsylvania in 2011.
He has a daughter, Renee.