Pete Rekstis enters his sixth season at Rhode Island in 2019. He joined the Rams Island staff as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach in July of 2014.
The Rhody defense ranked fourth in the nation in 2018 with 13 fumble recoveries. Rekstis' defense also helped Rhode Island rank 13th in turnover margin (+0.73 per game), 17th in passing yards allowed (182.1 yards/game), 29th in total defense (345.1 yards allowed per game) and 36th in interceptions (12).
In 2017, Rhode Island set a program record with 32 sacks. Rekstis' unit was the only FCS school in the country with five players with five or more sacks, and Rhode Island was ranked 17th in the country with 2.91 sacks per game. The Rams also also ranked 17th nationally with 11 fumble recoveries and 29th in tackles for loss, averaging 7.2 per game. Sophomore Brandon Ginnetti earned CAA Football Third-Team All-Conference honors after leading the team with 7.0 sacks. Rekstis' secondary had 49 pass break ups, the second-highest single-season total in program history.
In 2015, Rekstis oversaw a defense that had four players earn CAA Football All-Conference honors. Senior captain Tim Wienclaw and junior Adam Parker were second-team selections at safety and linebacker and safety, respectively. Senior Myles Holmes (cornerback) and redshirt sophomore Mike Ezirike (defensive line) earned third-team honors. Wienclaw finished his career sixth in program history with 305 career tackles and left as Rhode Island's all-time leader in forced fumbles with eight, six of which happened in his two seasons playing for Rekstis.
In his first season with Rhode Island, Rekstis coached Wienclaw, who was second in the nation in with four fumble recoveries and led all CAA Football players with 0.36 fumble recoveries per game. Wienclaw also led all defensive backs in the league with 8.7 tackles per game. Linebacker Andrew Bose excelled in Rekstis' scheme, leading the conference with 125 tackles en route to CAA Football First-Team All-Conference honors. Bose went on to sign as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Baltimore Ravens.
A veteran of 20 seasons at the collegiate level, Rekstis and Rhode Island Head Coach Jim Fleming coached together at Kent State in 2010, when Rekstis was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach, and Fleming coached the linebackers. That Kent State defense ranked No. 2 nationally in tackles for loss (8.3/game), No. 5 in rushing defense (97.2 yards/game), No. 11 in sacks (2.9/game) and No. 13 in total defense (306.7/game). The Golden Flash also set a single-season school record with 35 sacks and held two 2010 opponents to negative rushing yards.
Rekstis has been a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level for 18 of his 20 seasons, dating back to the start of his coaching career at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy from 1994-96. He comes to Rhode Island after two seasons at Florida Atlantic, where in his first season he coached the No. 27 pass defense in the country, FAU's defense rose nearly 20 spots in the national rankings in scoring defense.
In 2011, Retskis was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Miami University after holding the same positions at Kent State from 2004-10. While at Kent State, he mentored four defensive backs who reached the NFL – Usama Young (New Orleans, third Round, 2007) and Jack Williams (Denver, fourth round, 2008) were drafted while Abe Elam (Cleveland) and Daniel Muir (Indianapolis) worked signed as free agents.
Prior to Kent State, Rekstis served as the secondary coach for his alma mater Youngstown State from 1999-2003 and as the Penguins' defensive coordinator from 2001-03. His first season back, Youngstown State posted a 12-3 record and advanced to the Division I-AA championship game. During his five seasons with Youngstown, the Penguins' averaged nearly 15 interceptions per season and tallied 74 in all.
Rekstis spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Autsin Peay (1997-98) and three seasons as the defensive coordinator for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (1994-96).
A native of Cleveland, Retskis earned a degree in history from Youngstown State in 1991 following a four-year career during which he was a team captain and four-year starter at free safety. He played for Jim Tressel and helped the Penguins to a record of 32-16 during his playing career.
Rekstis and his wife Gina - a native of Norwich, Conn. - have been married for 16 years. The couple has three daughters - Sara, Jessica and Natalie - and one son, Trey.