UGA hires Grantham for $750,000 per year

(Updated 7 p.m.)

Athens –  He last coached on the college level in 1998. He’ll make more money than Georgia has ever paid an assistant coach. He’ll change the Bulldogs’ defensive alignment to a 3-4.

He is Todd Grantham, and he is the answer to the question that dogged Georgia fans for 43 days: Who would coach Mark Richt hire as defensive coordinator?

“We have our man,” Richt said Friday as he named Grantham, the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line coach, to fill the job that had been open since the Dec. 2 firing of Willie Martinez.

Grantham was known to have been on Richt’s radar for weeks, but at least three other candidates declined the job before it was offered to him. On Thursday night, Grantham accepted the same deal that Alabama defensive coordinator and former Georgia player Kirby Smart rejected three days earlier: a three-year, $750,000-per-year contract.

That salary will make Grantham the third highest-paid defensive coordinator in college football, behind only USC’s Monte Kiffin ($1.2 million plus a $300,000 bonus last season at Tennessee) and Texas’ Will Muschamp ($900,000). Georgia’s highest-paid assistants in 2009, Martinez and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, made $325,000 each, plus bonuses.

Grantham, 43, was an assistant coach at Virginia Tech and Michigan State in the 1990s but has spent the past 11 seasons in the NFL, including the past two with Dallas. His only previous experience as a coordinator was with the Cleveland Browns from 2005-07.

Grantham will begin work at Georgia when Dallas’ season ends. The Cowboys play Sunday at Minnesota in an NFL playoff game.

By phone from Dallas late Friday afternoon, Grantham took a break from preparing for the Vikings to discuss his new job and new team.

He said Georgia will switch from its traditional 4-3 base defense to the 3-4, meaning three linemen and four linebackers rather than vice versa.

“We’re going to an aggressive style 3-4,” he said.

He said two outside linebackers “are going to be coming … are going to be developed as pass rushers.” Two inside linebackers, he said, are “going to be downhill guys to the ball.”

Although the 3-4 will become the base defense, Grantham said the Dogs will use “multiple” defenses “to have the ability to match [the offense's] personnel.”

The end result, he said, will be “an aggressive, physical, attacking-style defense.”

Grantham, who has coached the defensive line for most of his career, said he’ll work instead with the linebackers at Georgia. He said that’s a good role for a coordinator because the linebackers coach spends time on the practice field with both the line and the secondary, depending on the drill.

The only holdover on Georgia’s defensive coaching staff is line coach Rodney Garner. Grantham said they have not met, but “I have heard good things about him, and I expect to be meeting him shortly.”

Two openings remain on the defensive staff — Richt fired three  coaches last month — but Grantham said no decisions have been made on who will be hired for those spots.

“Coach Richt and I will be working this weekend and next week to try to iron some of those things out,” he said.

Grantham’s hire capped an arduous process in which Richt was rejected by three highly respected defensive coordinators: Virginia Tech’s Bud Foster, LSU’s John Chavis and Smart. Richt said Grantham, whom he did not know when the search began, was recommended highly by many other coaches during the protracted process. One known to have recommended him was Foster.

After Smart turned down the job Monday, Richt turned the focus to Grantham.

“The overriding factor throughout the entire process is I was very prayerful that in the end we got the right man for the job. And that’s exactly what happened,” Richt said. “It was not something I was trying to do at breakneck speed.

“Sometimes it’s easy to just get a person who is willing to come at the drop of a hat, but when you’re looking at the quality we were looking for, such as Todd, it doesn’t always happen overnight. I’m just thankful we stayed the course and ended up where we ended up.

“I really feel like we hit the jackpot,” he added.

Richt’s six-week search for a defensive coordinator generated extraordinary interest among Georgia fans who have been concerned about the play of the Bulldogs’ defense the past two years. The Bulldogs  allowed 34 or more points in 10 of 26 games over those seasons  — a culture shock for a program once known for stout defense.

“I think … we can get the defense back to the way it has been in the past,” Grantham said.

793 comments Add your comment


January 15th, 2010
1:25 am

FInally…great hire. He’ll do a great job. Now let’s get some stud recruits to play his scheme.


January 15th, 2010
1:28 am

Great hire, Let’s get ready for some football!

FL Dawg

January 15th, 2010
1:29 am

It continues to look more promising as reports are starting to pop up on a number of different sites. However, they all seem to be coming from the same source. We shall see. Second.


January 15th, 2010
1:30 am

I REALLY hope this actually happens! Great hire for Georgia…

Matt Joines

January 15th, 2010
1:37 am

YellerSkeeters Are PeterEaters

January 15th, 2010
1:38 am

Make it so! Announce it officially and I’ll believe it then … until then, Go Vikings! Oh, and GaTech is NancyBoy Central!

YellerSkeeters Are PeterEaters

January 15th, 2010
1:43 am

Funny, no mention (at all) in the Dallas News on this …


January 15th, 2010
1:50 am


January 15th, 2010
1:52 am


January 15th, 2010
1:57 am

A word of warning folks,

Rivals reported that Kirby Smart was a done deal as well. In their defense, rumor has it that Kirby signed an agreement of terms, then backed out… but just don’t pop open the bubbly yet. Wait for a presser from UGA.


January 15th, 2010
1:57 am

So we desperately need LB’s and nose tackles. Richard Samuel to defense?

AZ Dawg

January 15th, 2010
1:59 am

Way to go CMR!!!! You got your man!!! Great Hire!!! Here we come 3-4!!!

Pollack says Grantham is Official

January 15th, 2010
2:03 am

David pollack also says it’s a done deal and offical, Grantham is the next Georgia Defensive Coordinator.

Magnificent hire by Richt. Got the guy Saban wanted at Miami. WOW! Can’t believe it. Richt ABSOLUTELY got the right guy. Fantastic.

1st Pollack, 2nd Rivals, 3rd AJC, No ESPN

January 15th, 2010
2:07 am

Looks like David Pollack broke this story.

Then rivals reported it.

ESPN out of the loop for all things SEC, the last to knw about the SEC, as usual. They’ve got to beef up their SEC coverage, the SEC is on one of the strongest runs in college football history.

At a Boy Tim Tucker

January 15th, 2010
2:10 am


Thanks for staying up late to let us know, appreciate the extra effort. heard about it first here on the ajc board form Tim Tucker.


January 15th, 2010
2:14 am


just wondering when we can expect columns from Bradley and Schultz condemning this hire as terrible and the beginning of the end for Mark Richt?

Big D Dawg

January 15th, 2010
2:27 am

remember Pollack also reported that the Smart deal was done

Not accepting the news until Mark Richt says so.

Alpharetta Dawg

January 15th, 2010
2:30 am

Great hire but I wonder how he is going to put his 3-4 defense together with our personnel. The one piece we seem to be missing is the BIG nose guard that makes the scheme go…We need to heat up the recruiting of a few +330Lb space eaters in the middle!

san diego dawg

January 15th, 2010
2:45 am

Kwame Geathers can play NT. He is 6-6 326


January 15th, 2010
3:08 am

UGA just signed godzilla.Ultraman on the way.

Koozies imprinted

January 15th, 2010
3:24 am

Nice article. By organic one could pop out many things. Best Regards

Coach Mark Richt

January 15th, 2010
3:54 am

Who prayed that Urban Meyer would screw Florida over? Me. That’s who.

Who prayed that Lane Kiffin would leave town? Me. That’s who.

Who prayed that UGA would land a defensive coordinator with an NFL pedigree? Me. That’s who.

To all of the haters who doubted my faith-based system: Repent! Repent now!


January 15th, 2010
4:00 am



January 15th, 2010
4:03 am

great hire, so come on garrison smith,and all the otherstuds out there that hasnt committed uga needs all 5 star players,so sign with uga and win a nc in 3years.


January 15th, 2010
4:05 am

david pollack needs to be the dc at uga ,or find MARION CAMPBELL WHEREEVER HE IS .


January 15th, 2010
5:25 am

What negative things will Bradley and Shultz say?


January 15th, 2010
5:39 am

After getting more information on Grantham, I’m now convince that he will build a dominate defense at uga because he has a great deal of talent to work with. My only concern with this hire is how long will he hang around. He moves around a heck of a lot.


January 15th, 2010
5:45 am

As for the big tackle….continue to watch #93, Abry Jones. He will put on more weight and grow into a huge force on the interior of that d-line.

Old Gator

January 15th, 2010
5:48 am

At last a “hire”, I think it will be good. It was a time for another story at GA.


January 15th, 2010
6:05 am

this guy is a recruit magnet. He will be a direct pipeline to the NFL for these recruits.

If this is true, it could be a game changer in the SEC recruiting battles. Hope Richt doesn’t have to wait until Cowboys lose to announce this.

Randall Boxwood

January 15th, 2010
6:06 am

I’ll believe it when I see it. I put as much faith in news from Rivals as the stuff they print at The Onion.


January 15th, 2010
6:07 am

Muschamp rejects Vols.

Well ....

January 15th, 2010
6:09 am

at least its a warm body… and at least we werent turned down again. This has been terrible for Georgia.


January 15th, 2010
6:12 am

Steve…..Gaethers or Jones should do very well if the scheme goes to a 3-4. Jones is going to play no matter what position they want him to play.

Acworth Dawg

January 15th, 2010
6:15 am


Coach Saban

January 15th, 2010
6:20 am

News flash, I have accepted the Tennessee head coach position for huge money and just told Kirby that I’m going after Todd as my DC. Maybe that’s what all the speculation is about.


January 15th, 2010
6:25 am

Impressive resume on this new DC. This should give the best defensive recruits in the country something to think about. CTG has plenty of NFL experience.

Acworth Dawg

January 15th, 2010
6:27 am


Buckhead USMC Dawg

January 15th, 2010
6:28 am

So, What does the “Drama Queen” from West Hollywood (JEFF SCHULTZ) know about UGA Football or the SEC anyway?
See Boys, all of the “Drama” that was stirred up by Jeff Schultz is irrelavent now. This was all just a “blip” on the radar.
Our GREAT coach, CMR, went about the whole process in a “classy” fashion.
This is a great hire. And while Kirby would have been a great hire as well, it didn’t work out that way. So be it. We got a great one.
BUT We have a great Head Coach in Mark Richt and a great Football program at UGA.

Dawg stuck in Bham

January 15th, 2010
6:36 am

Top Dawg 2

January 15th, 2010
6:39 am

Are you ready for some football?

[...] Tim Tucker notes that as of early this morning, there’s been no press conference scheduled.   And nobody’s told Marc Weiszer anything, either.  So perhaps we should hold off on uncorking the champagne just yet. [...]


January 15th, 2010
6:42 am

As much as I want to believe, I am waiting for the press conference to acknowledge the hire. If true, this is Great News for UGA fans. GO DAWGS!!!!!

Big L

January 15th, 2010
6:43 am

Noone gives two fuzzy squirts about pro football. So what if the Cowboys lose. Wade Phillips is a lilly livered nancy boy and Tony Romo is a goooooobber. Thank god Richt finally got it done. If it’s true ……..of course.

Report: Cowboys « Football on the Brain

January 15th, 2010
6:43 am

[...] Report: Cowboys By cousinwalter Leave a Comment Categories: Uncategorized Report: Cowboys’ Grantham accepts UGA job [...]


January 15th, 2010
6:44 am

Welcome Coach Grantham! Please take a close look at the available Texas Tech coaching staff specifically Coach Russell! We/you need a Special Teams Coach, and he’s the best and currently unemployed! Let’s get back to the “Junkyard Dawgs” era of UGA Defensive football!

Neon Bedoe

January 15th, 2010
6:45 am

Does this mean that Rodney Garner is gone?

Big time?? Not

January 15th, 2010
6:45 am

Hold on…..lets wait for a press conference……..

Big time?? Not

January 15th, 2010
6:46 am

Oh……four tickets, four hot dogs, four cokes

Houston Dawg

January 15th, 2010
6:47 am

Tim, here’s a great article about Vince Dooley who won the Bryant Lifetime Achievement award last night here in Houston.