Ashley Ambrose
Position: Cornerbacks
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
High School: Alcee Fortier (1988)
Alma Mater: Mississippi Valley State
Graduating Year: 1992
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Ambrose Photos

Former NFL standout Ashley Ambrose has joined coach Paul Petrino’s football staff as the University of Idaho’s secondary coach.

Ambrose, a 1992 graduate of Mississippi Valley State, played professionally for 13 seasons and was the AFC’s Defensive Back of the Year in 1996 when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals. His first professional stop was from 1992-95 with Indianapolis. He spent from 1996-98 with Cincinnati before playing for New Orleans in 1999 and Atlanta from 2000-02 before wrapping up his playing days with the Saints from 2003-04.

“We’re real excited to have Coach Ambrose on the staff,” Petrino said. “He was a great player in the NFL and played under some of the greater coaches ever. He brings great knowledge of the game.”

Ambrose’s knowledge is based not only on his collegiate and professional playing days but as a collegiate assistant coach with Cal (2011-12) and Colorado (2008-10). He also spent time as an NFL aide – 2013 as a minority intern with New Orleans and as an intern for the Falcons in 2006.

His ability to bond with players made him a great choice for Petrino.

“He has great one-on-one relationships with the players,” Petrino said. “We’re just very fortunate and really lucky to have him.”

While at Cal, Ambrose coached a talented veteran secondary with Josh Hill and Steve Williams both earning honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors for the first time in their careers.  Both safeties that Ambrose coached in 2011 – D.J. Campbell (Carolina) and Sean Cattouse (San Diego), moved on to the NFL after earning honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors as a seniors in 2011. Ambrose's defensive backs were significant contributors to a 2011 Cal defense that led the Pac-12 in both total defense (332.92 ypg) and pass defense (204.23 ypg), while ranking 25th and 37th nationally, respectively. The Bears were also second in the conference and 39th nationally in pass efficiency defense (122.06). Cal's defensive backs recorded 10 of the team's 12 interceptions that ranked fifth in the Pac-12.

Before his stint at Cal, Ambrose spent three seasons on the Colorado football staff, which includes the 2010 campaign as the defensive backs coach. He served as the receivers coach in 2009 and was a defensive technical intern in 2008.

During his lone season working with the Colorado defensive backs in 2010, Ambrose coached senior Jimmy Smith to first-team All-Big 12 honors and helped him become a first-round selection of Baltimore (No. 27 pick overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft.  Another 2010 Ambrose pupil, cornerback Jalil Brown, was an honorable mention selection for the second consecutive season and shared the team lead along with Smith with five pass breakups. Brown was taken in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ambrose brought a wealth of professional football experience to a coaching career that began in 2006 as an intern coach with the Atlanta Falcons. After being selected by Indianapolis in the second round (29th pick overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft, he went on to play 13 seasons in the league, four with Indianapolis (1992-95), three with Cincinnati (1996-98), three with New Orleans (1999, 2003-04) and three with Atlanta (2000-02). He was the AFC Defensive Back of the Year and earned All-Pro honors with the Bengals in 1996 when he had a career-high eight interceptions that were tied for second in the NFL and one off the league lead. Ambrose posted career totals of 42 interceptions (tied for 66th all-time through the 2011 season) with three returned for touchdowns, 178 passes defended and 514 tackles (464 solo).

After 192 games and 141 NFL starts, he retired from professional football following the 2004 campaign.

Ambrose earned his bachelor's degree in industrial technology in 1992 from Mississippi Valley State, where he lettered four years at cornerback. He had 17 interceptions, 40 passes defended and 110 tackles, as well as seven kick returns for touchdowns (four punts, three kickoffs) during his college playing career.

A native of New Orleans, Ambrose graduated from Alcee Fortier High School in 1988, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track and field. Ashley and his wife, Melanie Zaharias-Ambrose, were married on May 25, 2012. He is the father of three children, Aisha, A.J. and Konner.

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