The Georgia football team’s defensive coaching staff is whole again.
The final opening on the staff was filled this afternoon, when UGA coach Mark Richt hired Warren Belin from Vanderbilt as a linebackers coach.
The addition of Belin, following last month’s hires of Todd Grantham from the Dallas Cowboys as defensive coordinator and Scott Lakatos from Connecticut as defensive-backs coach, completed the makeover of a defensive staff that was decimated by Richt’s Dec. 2 firing of three assistants.
Belin is a 20-year coaching veteran who spent the past eight seasons as Vanderbilt’s linebackers coach. He also was Vandy’s recruiting coordinator the past two years and special-teams coordinator in 2006-07.
“I’m looking forward to the next step in my career with Coach Richt and the opportunity to compete for SEC and national championships,” Belin said in a statement late this afternoon.
A former Wake Forest football player (1987-90), Belin coached at SMU, William & Mary, Cornell and East Tennessee State before going to Vanderbilt, where his work drew Richt’s attention.
“Warren has had some of the best linebackers and tacklers in the league for years,” Richt said in a statement.
Richt added that when he and Grantham interviewed Belin, “we were very impressed with his knowledge of the game, schemes and fundamentals. He’s going to be a perfect mentor for our players as well.”
Belin will share the linebacker-coaching duties with Grantham, who plans to convert Georgia’s defensive alignment from a 4-3 to a 3-4, meaning three linemen and four linebackers rather than vice versa.
Grantham said last month that he will coach either the inside or outside linebackers with the final hire –- Belin -– coaching the other. Georgia didn’t announce their specific assignments today.
The linebacker position added a player earlier this week when Richt confirmed that Richard Samuel will move there in spring practice. Samuel was Georgia’s starting taiback at the start of last season but had fallen well behind Caleb King and Washaun Ealey at the position by season’s end.
Grantham, Lakatos and Belin join the only holdover on Georgia’s defensive staff, Rodney Garner, who will coach the linemen. Garner also is the recruiting coordinator.
“I look forward to working with Coach Grantham, Coach Garner and Coach Lakatos in installing the new defensive package,” Belin said. “My wife and family are excited about the opportunity to become part of the Athens community, Bulldog Nation and the great tradition at UGA.”
Belin and his wife, Yolanda, have three daughters: 7-year-old Camryn and 4-year-old twins Morgan and MacKenzi.
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