SEC Coaching Carousel
The AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee has brought big changes to several key SEC Coaching staffs.
By: BE Coleman
The AFCA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee has brought big changes to several key SEC Coaching staffs. The most notable gainer is Tennessee, and the biggest loser may be South Carolina.
Tennessee is busy putting together the most notable coaching staff in the history of the tradition rich football program that spans 118 years. The Vols began by hiring Lane Kiffin on December 1st. Since that time, Kiffin has kept his pledge made on day one that there, “is no where he wont go to get the best,” for the program.
Kiffin began by hiring David Reaves and Mark Smith from South Carolina, James Cregg from the Oakland Raiders, and Monte Kiffin from Tampa Bay. He then signed up Ed Orgeron from the New Orleans Saints as assistant head coach and picked up Jim Chaney from the St Louis Rams.
That was only the beginning, the Kiffin’s have now lured LB Coach Lance Thompson away from Nick Saban and Alabama, Thompson coached with Saban at LSU previously. On Friday, it was learned Kiffin has hired Auburn RB Coach Eddie Gran.
Gran was well documented by the Tennessee sports media for having three interviews with Kiffin. The move all but removes Stan Drayton from Florida as the Vols running back coach.
There has been no official release by UT upon Drayton’s current status. News sources are now releasing data that Kiffin has completed the UT staff by hiring Willie Mack Garza from North Dakota State and a longtime Orgeron assistant, in Frank Wilson from Southern Miss.
Spurrier Loses Fifth Coach
It has been going downhill for Steve Spurrier since being misinformed by the Carolina press that Lane Kiffin had not taken his NCAA recruiting test on day one. On Thursday, Spurrier saw yet another coach jump off the Gamecocks ship.
Robert Gillespie, a former player at Florida for Spurrier has taken the running backs position up at Oklahoma State, which was left vacant by former Tennessee RB Coach Trooper Taylor, who is now at Auburn with Gene Chizik.
O-Line coach John Hunt, QB Coach David Reaves, Secondary Coach Ron Cooper and now strength coach Mark Smith have all departed Columbia.
Alabama Is Not Immune
Nick Saban has taken some serious hits the last two weeks since the Crimson Tide were pushed up and down the field by Utah in the Sugar Bowl. Last week Saban saw D-C Kevin Steele depart for Clemson, now Thompson to Tennessee.
LSU Fans Are Happy
They are happy in the Bayou with John Chavis’ appointment by Les Miles after Bradley Dale Peveto and Doug Mallory parted ways with the Tigers coaching staff. The noted coaching move was expected after the Tigers fell to ninth in the SEC for total defense in 2008.
Auburn Fans Still Concerned
It is still taking time for Auburn fans to warm up to the idea of hiring Gene Chizik by the Tigers administration. Chizik has put together a bigger name staff than he himself presents after posting a 5-19 record at Iowa State.
The Citadel Broadcasting’s Sports Animal put the question to me this morning on the “Hawks Nest,” segment hosted by Kenny Hawkins of WJHL and Bobby Rader as to why a Charlie Strong, a Turner Gill or perhaps Rodney Garner who were proven, had not been given the job.
Strong went public this past week stating he personally feels it is because his wife is white, and he is black. Strong, one of the most prolific coaches in all of football the last 25 years, says he feels it is a racial decision by university administrations for not hiring him.
Former Tiger alum and NBA great Sir Charles Barkley said he feels that “race was the number one factor,” in Gill not getting the job. Both Gill and Garner interviewed for the job.
Georgia Fans Thankful
Lane Kiffin put the fear into the hearts of Georgia fans last week when he nearly lured Rodney Garner back to Tennessee. Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt wasted no time in keeping the Junkyard Dogs longtime assistant in Athens.
Garner one of the SEC’s most prolific recruiters gave serious consideration upon a return back to Knoxville. Georgia was able to put the dog to bed when Garner announced that he would stay.
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