Groh a huge step forward for Georgia Tech (UPDATE II)

Al Groh will have to lose the orange in Atlanta.

Al Groh will have to lose the orange in Atlanta.

(Updated below with Al Groh confirming hiring.)

(Update II: For what it’s worth, Tech has finally confirmed the hiring, hours after the original story broke. I’ve copied and pasted the release below.)

At long last, our defensive coordinator nightmare may be over.

ESPN is reporting that after a long dance,  Georgia Tech has signed defensive coordinator Al Groh to be its next defensive coordinator. Assuming the report is accurate, we should have confirmation fairly soon. But so far there has been no announcement from Tech.

This comes on the heels of a report that Georgia has come to terms with Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham to be its defensive coordinator.  The Bulldogs are in a little different situation than the Yellow Jackets  because the Cowboys are in the playoffs and may not want to create a distraction before their game against Minnesota.

Groh’s hiring would be a huge boost for Tech. While he was not successful in his tenure as a head coach at Virginia, he has long been recognized as one of the better defensive coaches in football, at both the NFL and college level. Most of his background as a coordinator is in the pros  (Giants, Jets, Patriots, pros) and in the past few days he has been pondering job vacancies with Miami and New England.

But Groh, obviously familiar with the Georgia Tech program from his years in the ACC, is said to be enamored of the job Paul Johnson has done with the team in a short of amount of time. Adding a respectable defense to an offense that generally produces several t0uchdowns per game should be a boost.

It was not known whether Groh would want to return to being a college assistant at this stage of his career. But money was not going to be a factor because he is scheduled to earn over $4 million the next two years from his remaining time on his Virginia contract.

We’ll be back later with more details. Just wanted to get this post up.

UPDATE: Groh has confirmed the hiring. Tech still hasn’t announced a news conference but here’s an excerpt from an Associated Press story.

The former Virginia coach told The Associated Press on Friday that he set out several criteria before deciding where he wanted to coach in 2010, and Georgia Tech meets them. The top priority was taking a job where there’s a chance to win championships.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off their first outright ACC title since 1990 and played in the Orange Bowl. But they struggled on defense, firing coordinator Dave Wommack shortly after the season.

UPDATE II: Here’s excerpts of Georgia Tech’s press release:

ATLANTA – Al Groh, a veteran coach on the college and NFL level, has agreed in principle to become Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator, Yellow Jacket head coach Paul Johnson confirmed Friday morning.

Groh plans to sign a contract when he arrives on the Georgia Tech campus next week.

Johnson also announced Friday morning that Lamar Owens, a graduate assistant coach at Georgia Tech the last two years and a former quarterback at Navy, was named assistant coach in charge of the A-Backs.

Groh replaces Dave Wommack, who left Tech after two years as defensive coordinator. Owens takes over for Jeff Monken, who resigned to become the head coach at Georgia Southern.

Groh comes to Georgia Tech after serving nine years as head coach at Virginia, where he compiled a 59-53 overall record. He led the Cavaliers to bowl appearances in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

The Yellow Jackets now have on staff the ACC Coach of the Year the last three seasons. Groh was ACC Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2007. Johnson won the award in 2008 and 2009.

“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.  “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.”

Prior to coaching at Virginia, Groh served one season (2000) as head coach of the New York Jets, compiling a 9-7 record. From 1989 until 1999, Groh served in a variety of assistant-coaching roles with the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and the Jets. He was defensive coordinator for the Giants in 1991 and defensive coordinator for the Patriots from 1993-96.

Groh lived in Atlanta in 1987, serving as the Atlanta Falcons’ special teams and tight ends coach.

From 1981-86, Groh was head coach at Wake Forest, where he compiled a record of 26-40 in six seasons.

“I am extremely flattered to be invited by Paul Johnson to be part of what he is building at Georgia Tech,” Groh said. “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.”

498 comments Add your comment

huntergt13

January 15th, 2010
9:15 am

DK

January 15th, 2010
9:18 am

Hot damn…good for Georgia Tech.

Rooferdawg

January 15th, 2010
9:18 am

Rooferdawg

January 15th, 2010
9:19 am

Maybe the 20,000 fans that go to a tech game?

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

January 15th, 2010
9:20 am

Good hire for tech he also knows offense if tech decides to install a passing game in the future.
cutcliffe just turned down the Vols according to espn , I am wondering if there may be sanctions coming to the Vols because of Lane , you almost feel sorry for them . almost.
Grantham may be a good hire I am still not convinced its true arkansas is jerry jones alma mater i think he might throw a lot of money at grantham just to keep him from going to a rival.
GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!

Hind end Sniffer

January 15th, 2010
9:21 am

You tell ‘em Rooferdawg. How much actual brain loss did you suffer when you fell off of those roofs? I know, I know – somebody moved the ladder.

1eyedJack

January 15th, 2010
9:22 am

How is this going to affect his social security check?

Where have you gone Jim Bob Cooter ?

January 15th, 2010
9:22 am

Great hire.

The ACC is in for some tough sledding against the Jackets over the next few autumns. Groh already knows the league up and down.He just isn’t HC material. No disgrace in that, not every second banana can carry the whole show by themselves.

BTW – Cutcliffe is staying at Duke. That’s a good move on his part. Lots of UT fans didn’t want any part of a Fulmer reunion tour. Cut’s a good coach,but tennessee is the wrong job. The expectations are unrealistic.

Tech4Life

January 15th, 2010
9:22 am

This is GREAT news for tech. If we can get a defense in here that can hold teams to only a couple touchdowns a game, we should be able to win a lot of games for a very long time, win several acc championships, BCS bowls and who knows…..a national championship? I know that a national title seems to be a long shot but where we are today was a long shot two years ago. GREAT JOB CPJ!!!!

PMC

January 15th, 2010
9:24 am

This is a terrific hire for Tech. What they need is not necessarily a suffacating defense but an opportunistic one that tackles well. If they can get a few stops and create turnovers the Tech team is in store for big things.

CATERDAWG

January 15th, 2010
9:25 am

Enter your comments here

GoJackets

January 15th, 2010
9:27 am

Wow. I didnt think it would happen when he was talking to Miami and New England. Great news for Tech football!

PeachJam

January 15th, 2010
9:27 am

Bring it Groh, 30-24.

collegeballfan

January 15th, 2010
9:28 am

The Groh hire, if true, would be a great hire for Tech.

The Grantham hire, if true, would be a great hire for UGA.

But, Jeff, you will understand if I hold off a little bit on the celebrating until I actually see the news conference. One of the phenomena of the new 21st century is the explosion of rumors, no matter the subject matter.

Somebody needs to write a book!

The Other Saint Simons

January 15th, 2010
9:28 am

Rivals is reporting Groh will be getting unlimited supply of Ensure and Depends as part of the deal.

Great hire!!!!

Fire Marshal

January 15th, 2010
9:29 am

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

January 15th, 2010
9:29 am

Finally! They hired a Defensive Coordinator. Where does he stand on a$$ painting? What? Georgia Tech? Not Georgia? Georgia still hasn’t found someone to take the job? You’ve got to be kidding. See where a$$ painting will get you.

CHARLOTTE DAWG

January 15th, 2010
9:29 am

Both UGA and the Taliban need to curb their enthusiasm a bit towards these new DC’s.

Not everything I heard about Groh was positive and I don’t know if Grantham’s D will work for us or if he will even like the college coaching lifestyle.

Just got to wait and see. Yeck’s D better be improved b/c I see their offense dropping a bit with the studs gone.

GT

January 15th, 2010
9:29 am

Great hire! Willing to bet we didn’t have to overpay for our DC like Georgie did. We now have a guy who is a proven defensive guy and he wants to be at Tech because he sees the writing on the wall. In a move of desperation, CMR paid this new guy top 3 DC money. Based on what? Hahahahah…..suckers!

TommyP

January 15th, 2010
9:29 am

Great hire for Tech (from a Dawg fan). Groh’s VA teams always bring it on defense and look clueless on offense. Now he’s in his element.

Great hire.

UA Alum92

January 15th, 2010
9:30 am

Congrats, Jackets! Good hire! Roll Tide!

BIGTECHFAN

January 15th, 2010
9:30 am

How is this good news for GT? Groh’s washed up and his Virginia defenses, using a fluke 3-4 scheme, were horrible. Don’t reference his 1980’s defenses with the Giants, give me a break.
Tech needed a young energetic defensive coordinator that could also recruit. Bad move.

OLD AL

January 15th, 2010
9:30 am

It’s a greta move hiring a 65 year old that might be there two years at the most!! Obviously he could not connect with 18-21 year old kids as a head coach, why should it be any different as DC!! GREAT HIRE TECH!!! Look to give up lots of points again this year especially after losing 2/3 of your defense!!!

GoT

January 15th, 2010
9:31 am

Hoped we would get a young coach, not some over the hill retread. He could have won at UVA had his defense performed.

TommyP

January 15th, 2010
9:31 am

GT: Real classy.

Bella Oxmyx

January 15th, 2010
9:31 am

This is a GREAT HIRE for GT!! “Money for nothing and defense for FREE!”

He can’t do any WORSE than Wommack……And he’s doing it all for something else than MONEY!

The Dawgs only understand throwing money at everyone and see who grabs it…CAN’T BUY LOYALTY!!

So, where is the righteouos indignation...

January 15th, 2010
9:31 am

…regarding UGA hiring a coach who is under contract, AND in the middle of a playoff push?

Where is the indignation of S. Florida hiring Skip Holtz, just 3 weeks before signing day?

How about UT going after the Duke coach, just one year after NOT going after him? If they continue to castigate Kiffin, then they are a pot calling the kettle black.

Everyone continues to say that UGA and Richt are taking the high road (and I am a UGA fan), yet they are trying to hire coaches already under contract to other schools?

Tech, unfortunately, seems to be the ONLY school who took the high road by going after a coach who was no longer under contract to anyone!

While I personally do not like Kiffin, he did absolutely nothing wrong – USC approached him, and he told his AD UP FRONT that he would consider that job if it ever opened. After Mike Garrett struck out on his first three unscrupoulus efforts to hire other coaches already under contract, he went after Kiffin.

None of these coaches did anything wrong; the coaching carousel is just that, a game that we all play to get ahead. If anyone is to blame here it is Seattle for firing their coach after just one season, which set all of these “moral shenanigans” in motion.

We all need to get off the high horse over the Kiffin deal; it is what it is, the timing was just bad, but we all want to better our places in life. All of this malarky about how he “lied” to his recruits and players is pure CRAP! All he did was take a job at a place at which he wanted to coach.

The dominoes will continue to fall until all of the now open positions for coaches are filled – and there nothing wrong about anyone leaving for another job at another school. Until there is a law that prohibits anyone from ever taking another job – whether it be in coaching or banking or insurance or whatever, then we all need to just STFU and get on with our lives and leave the judgement of others alone.

I’ll get off my soapbox now….

Irwin M. "Fletch" Fletcher

January 15th, 2010
9:32 am

Solid choice and fits the budget… He will coach fundamentals and get top NFL caliber talent.. THWG

Senior Citizen Discount

January 15th, 2010
9:32 am

Wow, dude is almost 70. I’m sure the players will feel like they can relate to Gramps, will work wonders for the recruiting.

Saban

January 15th, 2010
9:32 am

never underestimate my powers.

Next I will send you some top flight defensive players so you can stick it to the dawgs for years.

Richt will pay for many years for going after my hairdresser.

Satan

bartbuzz

January 15th, 2010
9:33 am

Jeff,

Maybe you can answer this question. What is so special about Al Groh? I don’t have anything against him being the new DC but his numbers at UVA don’t really add up. Take a look at the comparison below. My source was Rivals.com.

Thanks….

Total Defensive Yards/Game
Season Ga Tech Virginia
2009 357 358.4
2008 312.7 333.3
2007 310.3 323.4
2006 289.3 289.5
2005 296.4 368
2004 299.5 299.7
2003 335.6 384.1

Rooferdawg

January 15th, 2010
9:33 am

Hind end Sniffer ,,, No, no one moved the ladder! I got hurt because I had a dream that I was becoming a Tech fan, so I tried to kill myself by jumping. Also, the fact that you commented on my post instead of the subject of this reports, proves my point! Who Cares!

Senior Citizen Discount

January 15th, 2010
9:34 am

Someone be sure to tell him that Publix has Senior days on Wednesdays.

NAD

January 15th, 2010
9:34 am

rooferdawg:

thanks so much for coming to a GT realted blog to show how much you care.

Crow

January 15th, 2010
9:34 am

who cares? WHO CARES? I’ll tell you who should care… every mangey, druling, smelly, butt licking dawg in GA should care. If you thought CPJ was bad… CPJ/CAG tandum is going to light you on fire! GOOOOOOO JACKETS!!!!!!

Bill

January 15th, 2010
9:35 am

Senior Citizen Discount

January 15th, 2010
9:35 am

Don’t forget about Kohl’s. With the discount, he will be able to stock up on the urine colored GT apparel.

Really?

January 15th, 2010
9:35 am

This is incredible! Our offense is taken care of with CPJ at the reigns, and now one of the best defensive minds in football will be working the other side of the ball. I really, really like the direction that Tech football is moving in…..

I’m actually a student at Tech, and was talking to FB Luke Cox on the bus yesterday. He said they had a team meeting last night, but didn’t know what it was for. I suggested it could be the private announcement of Groh as the new DC……perhaps that’s a little more to help backing up the report?

Bella Oxmyx

January 15th, 2010
9:35 am

Jeff: Please UPDATE when you get the announcement time…..

Rooferdawg

January 15th, 2010
9:36 am

So, where is the righteouos indignation….. Great Post! I agree!

GT

January 15th, 2010
9:36 am

TommyP: I only speak the truth. Top 3 DC money to a unproven coach? You guys got taken for a ride. Sorry.

skydawg

January 15th, 2010
9:36 am

“Our” defensive coordinator. So it finally comes out..huh, Schultz. Couldn’t contain your bias attitude toward Tech anymore? How fitting.

Senior Citizen Discount

January 15th, 2010
9:36 am

Here’s a new promotion for Tech in honor of Groh:

4 tickets, 4 Cokes, 4 hot dogs, and a coupon for Depends.

The Other Saint Simons

January 15th, 2010
9:37 am

Didn’t a high school offense put up 34 points against Groh last year?

Coach

January 15th, 2010
9:37 am

Great hire! His Virginia defenses looked and played like the great Chicago Bears teams in their blue jerseys. The man can coach, period.

Rooferdawg

January 15th, 2010
9:38 am

NAD … You know, you are right! I complain when Tech fans get on our blog, and here I am doing the same thing. Really, My bad. Sorry and I really thing he is a good hire!

AppalachianDawg

January 15th, 2010
9:39 am

Wasn’t he an OC last time he was an assistant in college? Just asking, not starting anything with you bugs. Good luck, here’s to 2010!

The Other Saint Simons

January 15th, 2010
9:39 am

Didn’t Groh lose to DUKE last year?

Oh, great...

January 15th, 2010
9:39 am

…another cut-off sleeve, sweatshirt wearing Belicheck wannabe!

And what huge step is this for Tech? The guy failed as a pro coach, as a college coach, and though he is “well thought of”, please explain why!

Greyhound

January 15th, 2010
9:40 am

In support of the new UGA DC hire, we are hereby offering Todd Grantham a FREE ONE-WAY BUS TICKET OUT OF ATHENS after the Dawg Fans run him out of town before his first season is over.