Plenty of coaching changes around SEC during offseason

Plenty of coaching changes around SEC during offseason even though no new head coaches

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- There has been plenty of coaching turnover in the Southeastern Conference this offseason, just not involving any head coaches.

This will be the that the SEC begins a season with no new head coaches. But despite the continuity at the top, there has been nearly a 40 percent turnover in offensive and defensive coordinators.

The reasons vary. Some SEC coordinators became head coaches, a couple moved on to the NFL and some left for coordinator jobs at other schools. But all that shuffling is business as usual in the SEC, where no coordinator has spent more than three full seasons at his current position.

I think so many people look at football as so much different than their own particular jobs, and I never quite see it that way, Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. Dont people in you alls position move and do different things? We do too.

While the Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference had a similar amount of coordinator turnover, each of those conferences had four new head coaches who initiated staff overhauls.

The movement in the SEC last year was a result of coordinators getting opportunities elsewhere.

And thats not new.

The longest-tenured SEC coordinators are LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. Theyre all entering their fourth seasons. Missouris Ryan Walters was co-defensive coordinator from 2016-17 before getting promoted to sole coordinator in December 2017.

The Vols Chaney exemplifies the nomadic nature of an SEC coordinator. Hes as Tennessees offensive coordinator after holding the same title at Arkansas, Pittsburgh and Georgia since his last stay in Knoxville.

In all, the SEC has new faces at 11 of the 28 conferences coordinator positions when counting Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead and Kenny Dillingham. Moorhead will serve as his own offensive coordinator and Dillingham began his new job at last years .

The only 2018 SEC coordinator who got fired was Wesley McGriff.

Four of the SECs coordinators from 2018 are now head coaches: Western Kentuckys (former Tennessee offensive coordinator), Troys (Auburn offensive coordinator), Marylands (Alabama defensive coordinator) and Colorados (Georgia defensive coordinator). Helton and Lindsey got head coaching jobs even though in yards per game last season.

Two other SEC coordinators from last season became NFL assistants. Three are now coordinators at other Power Five programs. Kevin Sherrer, Tennessees defensive coordinator last year, became the Volunteers special teams coordinator.

Youre always prepared as a coach, said Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who after an eight-year stint as Alabamas defensive coordinator. You know guys get opportunities.

Even when theyre well paid. A seven-figure salary for an SEC coordinator isnt unusual anymore.

Aranda made 2.5 million last year, the most of any coordinator in college football. Steele is making 1.9 million this year a combined 2.5 million this year. Chaney is getting 1.5 million while new defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley is earning 1 million.

Were committed to having the best staff we can possibly have to help get us where we want to be, Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said.

Eight college football coordinators — including four in the SEC — earned at least 1.5 million last year, according to the database. This year, the SEC alone will have at least eight coordinators making at least 1.5 million.

Joining Aranda and Steele in the 1.5 million club are Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko (2.1 million), Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham (1.79 million), new (1.55 million), Chaney (1.5 million), Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis (1.5 million) and new (1.5 million).

Sarkisian and Chaney landed in rarified air; last season no college football offensive coordinators made as much as 1.5 million.

While the short tenures for most SEC coordinators might make this seem like a job for a young up-and-comer, the typical coordinator actually arrives with plenty of experience.

The list of new SEC coordinators this year includes three former Power Five head coaches: MacIntyre (California), (Washington and Southern California) and Ole Miss offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona).

Conventional wisdom suggests frequent turnover at the coordinator level causes instability. has Brent Venables entering his eighth year as defensive coordinator with Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott beginning their fifth seasons as co-offensive coordinators.

But Alabamas status as a consistent title contender shows coordinator changes dont have to be a hindrance. Sarkisian is Alabamas fourth offensive coordinator in as many seasons.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban notes that bringing in a new coordinator doesnt necessarily mean introducing an entirely new scheme.

Were going to run our offense, Saban said, and were going to do the things that we do.

AP sports writers David Brandt and John Zenor contributed to this report.

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