Georgia Tech’s search for a defensive coordinator took a left turn Monday. Interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, who was a candidate for the job after a strong finish this season, was hired by Florida State to coach linebackers, according to Rivals.com. Spokesmen for both schools could not confirm the move.
Kelly was receiving serious consideration for Tech’s coordinator position, which he took over six games into the past season after the firing of coordinator Al Groh. Coach Paul Johnson said Friday that he thought he would reach a conclusion in the next couple of weeks after he had met with candidates.
It is a considerable loss for Tech. Johnson planned to retain Kelly, one of the staff’s top coaches and recruiters, even if he weren’t made the full-time coordinator. The move makes something of a prophet of Johnson.
“This time of year, I’ve learned through the years you never know what’s going to happen,” Johnson said Friday. “You’re one phone call away from losing a guy or two or three guys. You just don’t know.”
Kelly joined the Tech staff in 2006 as special-teams coordinator, then switched to cornerbacks and then the secondary after Johnson’s hire after the 2007 season. He was the final remaining holdover from coach Chan Gailey’s staff.
As interim coordinator, Kelly closed the season emphatically. The Yellow Jackets held FSU scoreless in the second half of the ACC Championship game and then beat USC 21-7 in the Sun Bowl for their first bowl win after seven consecutive defeats.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog