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Friday, January 9, 2009

Richt Makes Coaching Changes

From UGA Athletics:

University of Georgia Director of Football Operations Steve Greer will retire effective June 30 after more than 35 years with the Bulldogs as a player, coach, and administrator.

"Steve Greer has been a loyal and dedicated Georgia Bulldog for more than 35 years and we are all grateful for his service to the University," said Bulldog head coach Mark Richt. "I know all the Georgia people will join in wishing him the very best in retirement."

Richt also said he will restructure part of his offensive coaching staff. Current receivers coach John Eason will move into the football operations role and current running backs coach Tony Ball will assume duties coaching the receivers. Bryan McClendon, a Bulldog letterman and current graduate assistant, will be added to the full time staff and coach the running backs.

"I want to thank the University and all the Georgia people," said Greer. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to have been a student and player, a coach, administrator and earn two degrees from Georgia. I'll always be a Dawg."

Greer, a two-time All-America defensive lineman at Georgia in 1968 and '69, has served on the Bulldog staff since 1979 when he was hired by head coach Vince Dooley to coach the defensive line. He came to Georgia after seven years on the Auburn coaching staff. During his Georgia career he has served as an on-field coach from 1979-93 and in administrative capacities since. As a player, Greer help lead the 'Dogs to the 1968 SEC championship and earned All-SEC first team honors in addition to first team All-American in 1969.

"Coach Eason has been handling a lot of administrative duties in his role as associate head coach and he'll transition well into his new responsibilities," said Richt. "He's done an outstanding job coaching receivers not only here but throughout his coaching career. Tony (Ball) will be going back to coaching a position he spent a great deal of time with before coming to Georgia and I think Bryan (McClendon) is a bright young coach who will be a terrific addition to our full time, on-field staff. He's one of our own having come through our program as a player and graduate assistant. He knows the 'Georgia way'."

Eason came to Georgia as part of Richt's original staff in 2001. A 1969 graduate of Florida A&M, he coached wide receivers at Florida State (1981-94), served as offensive coordinator, receivers coach, and assistant head coach at South Carolina (1995-98); and associate head coach with the Toronto Argonauts in 2000.

The move has Ball returning to a position he held before joining the Georgia staff in 2006. He served as wide receivers coach at Virginia Tech from 1998-2005 and also at Louisville from 1995-97. He also had coaching stops at UT Chattanooga, South Carolina, East Tennessee, and Holy Cross.

McClendon was a wide receiver for the Bulldogs from 2002-05 and has served as a graduate assistant with the Georgia offense the last two years. His senior season McClendon helped the Bulldogs to an SEC title as he recorded 35 pass receptions and six touchdowns including a game-winner in the closing minutes against Georgia Tech. He was part of a senior class that won 44 games. He is also the son of former Georgia and Chicago Bears tailback Willie McClendon, the 1978 SEC Player of the Year.

RELATED: I chatted with Bryan McClendon about his coaching career way back in September. You can read that conversation HERE.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Any concern over a young coach taking over the RB's in a year the Dawgs will rely on two (or more) somewhat inexperienced backs?

David Hale said...

That could be an issue, but I've known Bryan for a few years now, and he's got coaching in his blood. I think he'll do fine. I think he does a really good job of relating to those young guys, too, since he's only a few years removed from being in their shoes.

S.E. Dawg said...

I hope Bryan will be a good recruiter. He has to be unproven in that area. Only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Any word on a solution for special teams or does Richt think we will be okay when we get some key players back from injury?

David Hale said...

From what I understand, there won't be any major changes on special teams. I think this is one area where the injuries really did play a particularly big role. Plus, if you look at the raw numbers, UGA had one of the top punt return averages in the country. Walsh is bound to get better on FGs. I think Carlton Thomas will be a big boost to the kick return game. And as for kickoffs... well, we'll just have to wait and see on that.

Oh, and to comment on SE's point: I think McClendon will be a great recruiter. He worked with Mo Mass as a freshman, and Mo credits him to a large extent for the leader he turned into. B-Mac worked closely with AJ this year, too. Both AJ and Tavarres have talked about how much he meant to them this season. I think this is a great move for the staff.

meat said...

I've got to imagine Brian is going to recieve a substantial payraise from grad assistant to coach. Probably quite a chunk of change for a man in his mid tenties. Good for him.

Travis Eckhart said...

David - This question may be off topic, but I had just heard this rumor and wanted to ask if you had also heard anything similar.

Word on the street here is Des Moines Iowa is that former Iowa QB Jake Christensen, who lost his starting job mid-season to a Freshman, will be transferring at the end of the year. Rumor has it, he has been extended 2 scholarship offers, one to Utah, and one to Georgia.

I gotta think with the talent we already have at QB, coupled with Murray coming in , we wont need to waste the scholarship on him. Now granted i'm sure its 100% false, but you are a LOT closer to the situation than I am.

thanks

David Hale said...

I had not heard that, and of course, the coaches cannot comment on this until after signing day, but I'll check into it with a few people that cover recruiting a bit more than I do.

I tend to agree with your line of thinking though -- QB seems to be the least of Georgia's needs, and Richt generally doesn't like bringing in guys from other programs for a short-term benefit.