Al Groh has agreed to become Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator.
Groh most recently finished nine years coaching at his alma mater, Virginia, where he went 59-53 and twice was named the ACC’s coach of the year. However, the Cavaliers went 8-16 the past two seasons and the $4.33 million remaining on his contract was bought out.
He will replace Dave Wommack, who was fired last week after two seasons at Tech. A press conference with Tech coach Paul Johnson is scheduled for 3 p.m. Groh is expected to sign a contract next week.
“I think any time you can get a coach the caliber of an Al Groh, it is a tremendous plus for your program,” Johnson said in a statement on the school’s web site. “Al has a great deal of expertise. He is considered one of the top defensive minds in the country and has a record to support it.”
Groh said in a phone interview with the AJC on Sunday that where ever he coached next, he wanted to win. He told the AP that’s why he accepted the job at Tech.
“They’ve got that program winning in a hurry,” Groh said on Sunday. “If winning impresses you, you have to be impressed with what Paul [Johnson] has done there.”
Tech is 20-7 in Johnson’s two seasons and won the ACC last season.
Groh, 65, will bring the 3-4 defensive scheme that he is now one of the leading authorities on.
“[It's] what I’ve learned, and I’ve learned it from some very good people,” Groh said on Sunday. “I’m certain they are going into the NFL Hall of Fame. Had an opportunity to build some ideas from there.”
The Yellow Jackets’ defense gave up an average of 24.8 points and 330.8 yards per game last season. Johnson said last week he made the decision to let Wommack go because he wasn’t seeing the improvement he had hoped to see during the season.
“I am extremely flattered to be invited by Paul Johnson to be part of what he is building at Georgia Tech,” Groh said in a statement on Tech’s site. “He has already built an awful lot, and I appreciate his confidence that I can play a role in continuing to make Georgia Tech one of the elite programs in college football.”
At Virginia, Groh developed and coached several players who went on to the NFL, including Chris Long, Kai Parham, Ahmad Brooks and Darryl Blackstock.
Groh will take over a defense that would be missing its biggest playmaker, defensive end Derrick Morgan, who declared for the NFL Draft on Monday.
Groh has been a defensive coordinator on the college and pro level for several teams under Bill Parcells, including the New England Patriots (1993-96) and New York Giants (1991). Groh was Parcells’ hand-picked successor to take over as head coach of the New York Jets (2000).