Lakatos ‘mystery’ unraveled; UPDATED with contract info

(Updated 3:30 p.m.)

Georgia’s football program continued to rebuild its defensive staff  today, hiring a veteran assistant coach who will be making a major geographic shift in his career.

Scott Lakatos, hired as Georgia’s defensive-backs coach, has been on the staff at seven other colleges, all in his native Northeast.  He was the secondary coach at Connecticut the past six seasons and previously worked at Rutgers, Maine, New Haven, Syracuse, Boston University and Western Connecticut State, his alma mater.

So, you ask, what was the connection that led him from the Northeast to UGA?

“I’m sure there was a little bit of a mystery for everybody to figure that out,” Lakatos said this afternoon.

The answer: a long friendship with Todd Grantham, hired Friday as the Bulldogs’ new defensive coordinator.

Lakatos said he and Grantham have been good friends for  more than 15 years, meeting when Lakatos was a graduate assistant at Syracuse and Grantham a young coach at Virginia Tech.

“Over time, we’ve always stayed in contact,” Lakatos said. “We have similar philosophies and similar ideas defensively and finally have an opportunity to work together. I’m pretty excited about it.”

Grantham recommended Lakatos to Georgia coach Mark Richt, who had never met Lakatos until this past weekend. By Monday morning, Richt had offered –- and Lakatos had accepted -– a job as the Bulldogs’ defensive-backs coach. He’ll work under a one-year contract and be paid a salary of $180,000.

That represents a $50,000 raise from what Lakatos made at Connecticut last year, according to USA Today’s database of coaches’ salaries. In 2009, a $180,000 salary would have ranked sixth highest among Georgia’s nine assistant coaches.

Lakatos (pronounced LACK-ah-tose)  had more than Grantham to recommend him for the job. He also had some impressive results as Connecticut’s defensive-backs coach.

The Huskies ranked in the nation’s top 10 in pass-efficiency defense in three of the past five seasons, although they fell to 85th in 2009 after losing two starters in the secondary to the NFL. A starting cornerback, Jasper Howard, was stabbed to death on campus in October.

In what turned out to be Lakatos’ last game on the Connecticut staff, the Huskies defeated an SEC team -– South Carolina –- 20-7 in the Papajohn’s.com Bowl, holding Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia to 16 completions in 38 attempts for 129 yards passing.

Although Lakatos, 44, has never lived or worked outside the Northeast, he said he jumped at the Georgia offer.

“Being a football coach, I think we’d all like to have opportunities to get ourselves involved in what could be considered the best programs, where we have an opportunity to compete against the best people and get in the best conference and recruit the best players,” he said. “I mean, that’s what we all try to do. So when this opportunity came up, there really wasn’t any hesitation at all.”

He said the South’s “passion for football” is “very exciting to me.”

Lakatos has “an outstanding resume of success” and “will bring a great deal of experience and expertise” to Georgia’s staff, Richt said in a statement.

The hires of Grantham and Lakatos leave one opening on Georgia’s defensive staff. Richt fired three defensive coaches in December.

While Grantham replaced the fired Willie Martinez as defensive coordinator, Grantham replaces Martinez as defensive-backs coach. Grantham will work with linebackers.  It is not clear how Richt will define the duties of the final hire.

Other than Richt, whom he just met, and Grantham, Lakatos doesn’t know any of the coaches on Georgia’s staff.

“I’m definitely the new guy,” he said.

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308 comments Add your comment

Dale

January 18th, 2010
10:57 am

This article is the journalistic equivalent of “First!”

D&D Fan

January 18th, 2010
10:57 am

Scott Canon

January 18th, 2010
10:57 am

Lools like CMR has got some fine people coming to UGA, I am looking for a good year in 2010 and a better ones after that

BMDPD

January 18th, 2010
10:59 am

Another great hire!

SOS Dawg

January 18th, 2010
11:04 am

How about an offensive guy now ? Strength and conditioning coach too….

Paul (You doesn't have to call me JOHNSON)

January 18th, 2010
11:08 am

Good hires in Grantham and Lakatos. Wondering what effect this will have on recruiting. Defense needs to create more turnovers. Last years t/o ratio was pathetic.

shannon1776

January 18th, 2010
11:14 am

He has put two 2-STAR rated DB’s into the NFL. Means he can coach up.

good hire??

January 18th, 2010
11:14 am

so is this a good hire? It looks to be, atleast he will be up to speed for the USC game next year after this years bowl game

MattDawg

January 18th, 2010
11:14 am

After watching UConn’s DBs give USC receivers a hard time, I can say I am mighty pleased with the hire!

Dawg #5

January 18th, 2010
11:14 am

The dawg D will be back !! FLA ALA TENN all going down in 2010!!

SOS Dawg- Really???

January 18th, 2010
11:15 am

There are no openings on the offensive coaching staff and its kinda late in the game to make changes now.

mcdaviddawg

January 18th, 2010
11:15 am

The hires willh help, but still should have replaced the offensive coaching. WIth Richt and Bobo back I wouldn’t look for much improvement.

Gaoutdoorscapes

January 18th, 2010
11:16 am

Yea this is great UConn is such a powerhouse

NEWNANDAWGS

January 18th, 2010
11:17 am

SO WHAT IS LEFT?? OLBs coach? i am guessing in the 3-4 CTG will coach ILB, not sure about that. So if we have a DB’s coach, CRG coaching DL and CTG with ILB what do you guys think, another LB coach or ST guy? Still would love to see Travis Jones with our LB’s, but not likely

Willie Martinez

January 18th, 2010
11:18 am

What about me!!! I produced great talent! Just because my players didn’t make it to the NFL doesn’t mean anything. I love you coach Richt. I love flowers.

sogadog

January 18th, 2010
11:18 am

Wow, you have been out scooped big time. Scout.com has a detailed story on the Lakatos hire with a detailed biography on the guy. Did you get caught napping on this one?

rhynster

January 18th, 2010
11:19 am

I don’t know what everyone’s problem is with the offense.

It scores alot of points.

The turnovers were the fault of the players.

NEWNANDAWGS

January 18th, 2010
11:21 am

UCONN may not be powerhouse but look at CSL rankings with what will all know is average talent now imagine Boykin, Smith, Rambo, Ogletree, Hamilton etc. as long as we stop that soft zone crap and hit like anvils i will be very happy.

Dawgs73

January 18th, 2010
11:21 am

We will see what Grantham, Lakatos, and company bring to the table. I think it’s premature to announce success right now, but it sure beats Willie -Quite possibly the worst DC Hire in History- Martinez.

Tuckdawg

January 18th, 2010
11:21 am

mcdaviddawg you cant be serious you need to go back and check the offensive stats if it wasnt for turnovers (which arent the coaches fault) we had a really good offense our trouble in 2009 wasnt on CMR and BOBO it was the D and the turnovers before you spout off know what you are talkin about GO DAWGS GATA!!!!!

CANINE NONSENSE

January 18th, 2010
11:23 am

DAWG#5,LET ME GUESS………. THE 5 IS FOR YOUR FOOTBALL I.Q.!!! RIGHT??!!

G

January 18th, 2010
11:24 am

Enter your comments here

G

January 18th, 2010
11:24 am

SEC Power? Ha!

NEWNANDAWGS

January 18th, 2010
11:25 am

i agree about the offense we struggled at times, but i really think if one of these young QB’s can bring some juice, aj healty, brown, wooten and adding Da’rick Rogers we have weapons add that to a rushing attack that seems to be really getting its legs, no pun intended we can be dangerous not going to say we are winng the east or MNC contenders but we will be better

SEC East Headlines – 1/18/10 | MrSEC.com

January 18th, 2010
11:29 am

[...] to helicopter in to Dayton, Ohio to watch a top prospect tonight.10.  Georgia has gone ahead and hired defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos from UConn.11.  Here are five questions facing the 2010 Georgia football team.12.  Urban [...]

Russ (not the interim mascot)

January 18th, 2010
11:30 am

You guys still complaining about Richt need to get over it or pick another team because you aren’t the kind of fans I want supporting my team. I’m sick of pointing out Richt has the fourth best record in College football since arriving at Georgia and has only been slightly less successful than Meyer and Saban. A National Championship is all that is missing and should a little luck (which is required, see Ala almost losing to Tennessee this year, Tennessee and the late fumble by Arkansas in 98, or enough one loss teams in the mix after Fl lost to Ole Miss in 08) have fallen Georgia’s way in one of their one loss seasons since Richts been here and we would have that. Richt may never win one (look how long it took Tom Osborne) but I’ll take him over anyone out their. Admit it, you don’t like him because he doesn’t cuss, go to the strip clubs, is loyal to his players and coaches, etc.

The Grinch

January 18th, 2010
11:34 am

G

January 18th, 2010
11:24 am

Your first post was definitely better than your second post. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!!

Atlanta

January 18th, 2010
11:34 am

collegeballfan

January 18th, 2010
11:34 am

Lakatos is a quality hire. Randy Edsall has created a solid proghram at UCONN with solid people on the coaching staff. Good job Grantham & Richt on making this hire.

1eyedJack

January 18th, 2010
11:36 am

Offense will not be a problem. Veteran OL depth, tons of playmakers. Both freshmen QB’s will have two spring and two fall camps under their belts. If nothing else CMR can coach up QB’s (with one or two questionable exceptions). They will be fundamentally sound and able to manage the game.

Improvement on defense will tell the tale. Every once in a while a little revolution can be a good thing. New fire and enthusiasm. We have the talent on D no doubt. And more to come.

HILLBILLY CLOWN

January 18th, 2010
11:38 am

Our program is NOT a white trash fiasco!!!! REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope we can teach DD to smoke with no hands …..

Atleast we’ll be better than tech!!!!

memphisdawg

January 18th, 2010
11:39 am

Can’t wait to see the defense play next year. I am still not expecting miracles and I hope all of the fans tempe their expectations as well. Remember, we are losing Atkins, Owens, Weston, Jones, Curran (all 5 NFL players) as well as Evans, Prince Miller, Dewberry, R. Battle and Cornelius Washington. Thats 6 starters, not to mention everyone else will be learning a new system.

As for hiring new offensive coaches, no need. Educate yourself before you speak; you look like an uninformed & ignorant homer.

Tech is finished

January 18th, 2010
11:40 am

Even Willie’s secondary shut down Nesbitt. Now your top WR is gone to the pros. Imagine what we will do now with a real secondary coach? Gt will never beat UGA again.

Saint Simons is my caddy!

January 18th, 2010
11:41 am

This is more awesome news. If you don’t think this is a good hire, you know Jackity SQUATT about football.

Bremen Dawg

January 18th, 2010
11:44 am

Looks like a good hire, another guy that wants to make a name for himself in the SEC. GO dawgs….

JC in Powder Springs

January 18th, 2010
11:45 am

Should be a good hire. UConn’s faced a lot of pass-happy offenses in the Big East during Lakatos’s time. You have to give UConn coaches credit for bringing that school a long way in the past 6 years. The Dawgs have the players – they need better coaching!

Per the Dawgs offense, I’m not sure what team others have been watching when they say the offense has done a good job. When’s the last time the offense was ranked in the top 40? Even when we had Stafford, Moreno, MoMass and Green, Bobo’s lousy playcalling didn’t provide many points. They aren’t aggressive. They drop passes. They fumble. They rack up multiple penalties. They depend too heavily on gimmicks – reverses and hiding-the-ball-behind-the-back. Worst of all – they go for 5 yards when it’s 3rd and 10! I don’t know who called the plays in the Tech game, but it sure wasn’t Bobo – he was a cheerleader on the sideline.

Nick

January 18th, 2010
11:47 am

Definitely excited about this guy. Can’t wait till tee up this fall!

memphisdawg

January 18th, 2010
11:47 am

JC, you don’t really understand football, do you?

takedowndawg

January 18th, 2010
11:48 am

Big steps in the right direction with Lakatos for our DAWGS. Our secondary has not been solidly coached in years. Add a quality special teams guy and we are going to be a force in the SEC EAST once again. If we can retain our exsisting verbals and pick up two or three upgrades we have every reason to be excited about our Fall season opening. One of our qb in waiting will step up. If Murray performs like he did in last years G-game it will be him. He was miles ahead of Joe Cox in performance. Bobo will need to be closely worked with by Richt on play selection. Being predictable in the SEC is not a good thing. Somehow Carlton Thomas needs to be worked into the offense. He is dangerous to our opponents. Our OFFENSIVE line should be awesome if they can stay healthy. I like Justin Anderson on the field. He is a beast who knows how to pancake. Grantham upgrading our linebackers will be felt immediately. We are definitely going in a forward direction. Congrats. Coach Richt.

DamnGoodDawg!

January 18th, 2010
11:48 am

I hope somebody told Coach L that he doesn’t have any returning talent at DB unless you want guys who play 8 to 10 yards off and can’t tackle.

emorydawg

January 18th, 2010
11:48 am

G
Who had the second most victories in the SEC this decade? Yeah, I would say UGA is an SEC power. Wouldn’t you?

Nick

January 18th, 2010
11:49 am

By the way, the ball behind the back thing is awesome. It worked every time, but it’s not been pulled out of the bag since Stafford was here.
I look forward to one of the M’s to revive it.

Sorry I know this is a defensive article, but I couldn’t resist a response to that.

I-DOG

January 18th, 2010
11:52 am

How many times this past season did I have to hear an announcer say. “There wasn’t a Georgia defensive back within 20 yards of that receiver… that shouldn’t happen when your playing zone coverage.” Maybe these changes mean that we won’t have to witness those kinds of things very often in the near future.

The Whole truth

January 18th, 2010
11:52 am

Great hire…

A man from out of the region that brings some new blood and ideas to Athens.

The tobacco chewing retreads get kind of old.

ToccoaDawg

January 18th, 2010
11:54 am

Now on to recruiting

UGA VIII

January 18th, 2010
11:54 am

Hey, has anyone seen Saint Simons lately? Ever since the mighty gnats got thumped, I haven’t seen his/her mindless ramblings. Maybe he got together with 14 mil and they’re eating cookies and playing Halo in their mother’s basement.

10seconds

January 18th, 2010
11:56 am

As a rare Dawg emigre’ to Connecticut who has paid attention to the UCONN program, I totally agree with “collegeballfan” and “shannon1776.” Both last year and this, I feared UT or AU would try to hire Randy Edsall as head coach. I doubt any program has done a better of “coaching up,” bringing increasing success to a once obscure Division 1-AA team with whatever talent they could get. This year in particular, Edsall and his staff turned tragedy into on field success, and I was not at all surprised at their victory over SC. We’re lucky to get anyone from the strong staff he’s built.

Tom

January 18th, 2010
11:57 am

How long before we hear about the conversations between Derek Dooley and Rodney Garner from over the weekend?

WonderDawg

January 18th, 2010
11:57 am

Sure hope Richt gets someone who can improve our special teams …

blade

January 18th, 2010
12:01 pm

With that easy schedule UGA has next year, I guess they should win about 9/10 games. Excluding Florida/GT they will not play any quality football next year. You may have S. Carolina or Tenn step up but come on. CMR will be crying again after they lose to Florida about why they are not playing in a BCS bowl game, like the year they played Hawaii. Step up and play a tough out of conference game 2 years in a row, or even LSU, Bama every year.