ATHENS — Georgia is losing its second strength coach in a month.
Keith Gray, who has been an assistant on Georgia’s strength and conditioning staff for 13 seasons and worked under three different directors, is leaving to accept a similar job with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“The guy called me on Friday and wanted to know if I was interested in the position,” Gray said Tuesday evening. “He said he wanted me up there but he needed to talk to the GM and the head coach first. He called me back on Monday and formally offered me the job.”
Gray said he accepted the position between “lifting groups” on Monday afternoon and immediately informed current program director Joe Tereshinski.
“He was genuinely happy for me,” said Gray, a former linebacker at Virginia Tech. “Everybody’s just been so great at Georgia. They’ve been happy for me and pulling for me. It’s just been an outpouring of affection people have shown me.”
Gray is the second member of the football team’s strength staff to step down in the past month. John Kasay, who was assisting Tereshinski on a part-time basis last season, went back into retirement after the bowl game. Due to new NCAA legislation limiting the size of staffs, Kasay’s position was going to be eliminated. Gray’s position will have to be filled.
In Philadelphia, Gray will be working under veteran NFL strength trainer Barry Rubin. At Georgia, Gray worked under Eric Fears, Dave Van Halanger and Tereshinski.
“I’ve worked with a bunch of different guys and they all believe a bunch of different things,” Gray said. “So it’s been very educational. I’ve learned a lot.”
Gray said his decision to leave had nothing to do with differences in philosophy or personality conflicts going from Van Halanger to Tereshinski.
“My ultimate goal is to be a head strength coach and those opportunities are so rare,” Gray said. “I love college football, so I never really considered going to the NFL. But after talking to Barry and seeing their facility and talking to some other guys, I started thinking it might not be a bad thing. Having been at Georgia for so long, maybe a different opportunity will help get me closer to my goal.”
In the meantime, no one works closer with Georgia football players during the offseason. He believes the latest group of Bulldogs could be headed toward a special season.
“I actually think they’re going to be really good,” Gray said. “The schedule helps, but the maturity of all those defensive players and coming into their third year of playing that defense, I they’re going to be really good. It looks like they’re going to have a stable of running backs. I think the sky’s the limit for that team. My only regret is I won’t get to be around to be part of it.”