10 Things: Georgia D-coordinator Todd Grantham hopes to become head coach

Ten Things You Should Know About . . .


ATHENS – Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham recently agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Bulldogs that pays him $825,000 a year and keeps him among the highest-paid assistant coaches in the country.

The buyout clause in his contract – $60,000 the first year, $40,000 the second and $20,000 in the third – is waived if Grantham leaves for a head coaching or NFL coordinator’s job. While he insists he is in no hurry to do so, Grantham is not shy about sharing that his ultimate goal is to become a head coach.

Grantham sat down for an interview this past week. Here are 10 things you should know about him:

Happy camper

First, he is clear on how his ambitions mesh with his current job.

“First of all, I like the job I have,” said Grantham, the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator since 2010. “I enjoy being the defensive coordinator at Georgia. I enjoy coordinating and I enjoy football in general. But I think any time you’re in a profession, you’re always looking to take on the next challenge. What’s the next challenge? Being a head coach. … It’s something I would like to do in time, but I’m not looking to do it right now.”

Impressive coaching pedigree

Grantham is a Virginia Tech graduate and former Hokie offensive lineman whose first job was working for coach Frank Beamer as a graduate assistant. He also coached defensive line and served as assistant head coach for Nick Saban at Michigan State and coached in the NFL for 11 years under Jim Mora, Dom Capers, Romeo Crennel and Wade Phillips. So who had the greatest influence on him?

“I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of quality coaches and I’d say I’ve got a little bit of all of them in me,” he said. “But I think Frank Beamer and Nick Saban probably had the greatest influence on me because I played for Coach Beamer and that was my first full-time job. So I got to see how he worked and how he was organized. With Nick, I’d say he’s been the greatest influence on me from a defensive perspective. … It was just the volume of defense that I learned. There’s a reason Nick is successful and is really good at what he does.”

UGA a perfect fit

Grantham said he always intended to return to the college game and actually had a number of opportunities over the years. But he said was he was looking for the right situation and couldn’t find it until he met Mark Richt.

“The thing that excited me about coming [to Georgia] is I felt like I could really enhance the program,” Grantham said. “If you go back and look, they’ve been really good on defense here and they’ve had some really good players drafted. I know the type of players they have within a five-hour radius of this school. So the components were there. To me, that was something that was intriguing and excited me about taking this job. And obviously working with Mark was a big part of it. There’s a reason he’s had the stability he’s had, too, the type of person he is, his beliefs. Those things played a part in it.”

Loves recruiting

Unlike a lot of coordinators, Grantham loves recruiting. He said he enjoys the process of identifying young talent, evaluating them and getting to know them on a personal level.

“When I saw Nick go into a home, I saw how he’d get the players’ attention because he had been in the NFL and I knew I wanted to get that on my resume,” Grantham said. “I didn’t realize I’d stay 11 years necessarily, but I knew I wanted to coach there and see what it was like. And I did believe that it could help in the college game because kids want to play pro football. Well, if you’ve been there, you’ve experienced it and you know what they’re looking for and you run that type of system, then that eases the transition for everybody.”

Overachieving O-lineman

At Virginia Tech, Grantham was a good player but not great. He actually was recruited by Vince Dooley’s brother, Bill Dooley, who resigned after Grantham’s sophomore season.

“I was the overachieving guy,” Grantham said. “I was an offensive lineman and I played all positions on the line — center, guard and tackle. I was voted captain my senior year and played on the first team to win a bowl game. We won the Peach Bowl my senior year. That was the first bowl win in the history of Virginia Tech.”

Found love in Blacksburg

It was at Virginia Tech that Grantham met his wife, Paige. They dated for five years before getting married after he moved on to Michigan State.

“I was a GA when I met her, which was a good thing because she was introduced to what it was like to be with a coach from the get-go,” Grantham said. “She knew what she was getting into so there was no excuse. Paige is really the strength of the whole thing. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do because our jobs require the investment of a lot of time.”

Football and family

Grantham is a certified workaholic and rarely goes a day without analyzing some football video. But if he’s not up to his neck X’s and O’s, he’s probably at one of Oconee County’s ballparks. Son Corbin, 11, “loves anything with a ball” and is playing one sport or another every season. Daughter Olivia, 8, also plays softball and enjoys equestrian. So and Paige carry their Georgia “G” fold-out chairs everywhere they go so they can sit back and watch their kids.

“I enjoy watching them play more than anything,” Grantham said. “It’s fun. Both of them like to fish, too, which is something I like to do. They like to fish because I like to fish.”

Friday night lights

Grantham didn’t grow up on a farm but calls himself  “a country boy,” same as many young men raised in South Georgia. And that goes double when it comes to football. Grantham cut his football teeth at Pulaski County High, where he played for legendary coach Joel Hicks, a hard-nosed disciplinarian. He calls Hicks and his offensive line coach there, Randy Flinchum, two of the most influential men in his life.

“It was really fun playing there,” Grantham said. ”Football was important in the town. Everybody was at the game on Friday night. You might have 6,000 or 7,000 people there, which is pretty good for high school football. That had a huge influence on me from a competitive standpoint.”

Modest upbringing

Grantham grew up in Pulaski, Va., about 26 miles southwest of Blacksburg, with two siblings. His brother, Tony Grantham, coaches linebackers at Navy and his sister, Angie Phillips, still lives in Virginia. His father, Gale Grantham, worked for a heavy equipment company and sold cars at different times and his mother Linda worked at a mill.

“They both worked and made sure we had everything we needed,” Grantham said. “I never felt like I went without anything.”

Reserving judgment

Grantham sounds very Saban-esque when the conversation turns to Georgia’s 2012 defense. The Bulldogs return 10 full- or part-time starters from a unit that finished fifth in the nation in total defense a year ago. But Grantham is very careful to not let the cart get in front of the horse when asked to handicap the team’s ability.

“I think we have good players,” he said. “But the way I’ve always looked at it and this is what I’ve told our guys, ‘Never forget where you come from.’ The reason people are talking about us now is basically because of the things we did last year. But this time last year, they weren’t talking about us.

“I told them, ‘The way they’re going to talk about you in the future is for what you do now.’ So what’s really important is what we do now. Once the 2012 season kicks off, this team has no wins and no losses. It’s what we do in the next 12 weeks that will determine this team’s success.”

50 comments Add your comment

[...] was on defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and ran in print two weeks ago. I’ve now posted it HERE as a blog some you may comment on it if you wish. They will be published weekly between now and preseason [...]

Bama In Atlanta

June 25th, 2012
11:58 am

Maybe he will ultimately go to Texas since Muschamp vacated.

Bama In Atlanta

June 25th, 2012
12:00 pm

…..or Ohio State in a couple of years when Urban can’t take the pressure again.


June 25th, 2012
12:19 pm

Maybe he needs to demonstrate success against some decent offenses before being considered for the next level. He’s been a DC for only one year, and his defense, while statistically impressive last year, stopped nobody with offensive talent. And that include LSU.


June 25th, 2012
12:34 pm


June 25th, 2012
12:47 pm

GATiger, Grantham been DC at Georgia for 2 years , lsu 237 yards total offense .


June 25th, 2012
1:10 pm

Todd can keep on dreaming about that


June 25th, 2012
1:17 pm

This retread article has been on the board for weeks. I love how the AJC tries to repackage old news into something relevant. Anything new happening in Athens? Oh I forgot, that might take some actual work…


June 25th, 2012
3:18 pm

He’s a great DC and he will prove his worth this season.

Shout Out: Hey GA Dawg in Meridian, TX.

Richt's Successor

June 25th, 2012
3:41 pm

TG is UGA’s next head coach. Mark it down!


June 25th, 2012
3:52 pm

KMac we all dream that you will disappear permanently into the TROLL VILLAGE


June 25th, 2012
4:05 pm

He’d make a improved head coach at Georgia.

midland Dog

June 25th, 2012
4:13 pm

I, for one, am happier with our results since the departure of the former coordinator, BUT, before we go rewarding our new coordinator too much more, I would love to see us beat some top ranked teams a couple of times. Get these boys believing in themselves and their abilities. The talent is there, and more will be lining up with a few quality wins!


June 25th, 2012
4:44 pm

GA Tiger, what D did better against your offense than Grantham’s? (I am assuming you are a Auburn fan)

The truth is, if you go back and watch UGA’s games last season, and I have, our D was very good, even in our losses.

I would love to see Grantham as our HC.

Max Sizemore

June 25th, 2012
5:05 pm

Hey dbc (don’t bother commenting?), how much did you pay to read this blog? Yes, zero, that’s right. And that’s why newspaper employment is WAY off from what it used to be.

Bubba J

June 25th, 2012
7:00 pm

I love Grantham and his attitude for this defense. I believe they’re going to be even better next year and it won’t be long before he get’s a HC job offer. Maybe even Kentucky next year if they have another bad season and fire Joker Phillips. I for one hope he yells at a couple more opposing coaches or something this year so he has to stay a little longer. These guys are bigger and stronger now. And even better, they are mean. I love it. Go Dawgs!


June 25th, 2012
8:15 pm

Grantham is a 5-star loudmouthed jerk. Dress him in a clown costume and make him earn his keep. At least he’d be mildly entertaining then.


June 25th, 2012
8:37 pm

Todd Grantham knows what Ga fans want and he recognize that you can win championships with the talent in the state of ga. I have no problem with him coaching the dawgs.

My top head coaches to coach the dawgs:

1) Chris Petersen(I’m not a big fan of hiring away a hc from another football team but Petersen is my kind of a coach.)

2) Todd Grantham

3) Trent Dilfer I believe this guy will do well as a hc in the sec.

4) Herman Edwards I also believe Edwards will do well in the sec.

Romeo Crennel

June 25th, 2012
9:19 pm

Richt better watch out, he stapped me in the back in Cleveland. Got me fired and himself as the interim HC. Backstabber!!

Chas Henry

June 25th, 2012
9:20 pm

Choke this fat boy.

Mich St fan

June 25th, 2012
9:21 pm

Wish we could play his D every game.

Innocent bystander

June 25th, 2012
9:22 pm

I will await judgement when he can do well against a top 20 team. His D gave up 20 points to the worst Gator offense since 1979, and against a 1-legged QB (Brantley).


June 25th, 2012
9:29 pm

Buffalo 17 – UGA 14


June 25th, 2012
9:51 pm

Innocent bystander

June 25th, 2012
9:22 pm

I will await judgement when he can do well against a top 20 team. His D gave up 20 points to the worst Gator offense since 1979, and against a 1-legged QB (Brantley).

You might want to check again because the gators only scored 7 points on Todd’s defense.

Paul in NH

June 25th, 2012
10:15 pm

Age is obviously having an effect on Grantham’s memory. He claims that VT won the Peach Bowl his Senior Year (when he was captain) and that he played for Frank Beamer. VT won the Peach Bowl in 1986 – in Bill Dooley’s final game as HC. It took Beamer 7 years to even get to a bowl game (1993 Independence Bowl).
Grantham was a sophomore on the Peach Bowl team.


June 25th, 2012
11:06 pm

TG is a good defensive coordinator. I don’t know what kind of head coach he will make. A good one if he keeps on coaching the defense. Hard to do. Let’s hope he stays for a few more years though. I like our defense. Keeps us in games when the offense does not perform. Which is most games.


June 25th, 2012
11:53 pm

I’ve read most of this before. Why is it being re published?


June 26th, 2012
3:52 am

It will not be the defense that wins or loses the games this year, it will be whether the offense can help win the games , and not lose them.

Destin Dawg

June 26th, 2012
6:07 am

I like Todd Grantham, but lets just wait and see how we do this year.. we have the talent, schedule, etc.. need to show a shut down defense !!


June 26th, 2012
8:17 am

Good Grief, 800K to a NO class Jerk….. I hope the hell he likes his job… Only at UGA do they pay for mediocre coaching…. Priceless….


June 26th, 2012
8:18 am

@Paul in NH

Nobody said he was very smart… But hey, he fits right in with his players….

Destin Dawg

June 26th, 2012
8:20 am

Grantham is a good defensive coordinator.. its a big job at the SEC level… he seems comfortable and knows the UGA recruiting advantage.. $900 K salary is a very nice life style in Athens, Ga.. he has been around coaching long enough to know when he’s got it good !!!

Destin Dawg

June 26th, 2012
8:23 am

gt4ever.. this is not a TECHie blog and I’d rather have Todd than GranPa Groe for sure !!

Destin Dawg

June 26th, 2012
8:24 am

or is it Groh ??


June 26th, 2012
8:36 am

@Destin Dawg…

You would rather have a classless jerk than a coach who is the definition of class… Not so surprising coming from a UGA fan… You people are very entertaining to say the least…. Delusional, but entertaining … LMAO…

Dawg Whisperer

June 26th, 2012
9:43 am

@gt4ever….well, you’re certainly right about one thing, UGA and their fans are entertaining unlike you which BTW also describes your football team.


June 26th, 2012
9:22 pm

Thanks for talking so favorably of GRANTHAM………………………….He got his training from SABAN……………….LOL

[...] Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham hopes to become a head coach one day. He recently agreed to a new deal with the Bulldogs that gives him the money of one of the highest paid assistants in the country. “First of all, I like the job I have,” said Grantham, the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator since 2010. “I enjoy being the defensive coordinator at Georgia. I enjoy coordinating and I enjoy football in general. But I think any time you’re in a profession, you’re always looking to take on the next challenge. What’s the next challenge? Being a head coach. … It’s something I would like to do in time, but I’m not looking to do it right now.” [AJC] [...]


June 27th, 2012
8:12 am

Since some of you are convinced Steve Spurrier has one foot in the grave and will be retiring sooner than later, maybe GRANTHAM will be the next coach at South Carolina.

Dawg Fud

June 27th, 2012
8:50 am

I do not want to lose Grantham.

Student Athlete

June 27th, 2012
9:25 am



June 27th, 2012
1:42 pm

@GATiger: Wow you really need to check your statistics. The GA defense absolutely did stop the LSU offense. LSU didn’t have a first down in the first half. LSU had a total of 237 yards of offense. LSU was 1 for 9 on third down and only held the ball for a little over 23 minutes. The GA defense was not the problem in that game. The problem was three turnovers by the offense and 157 yards given up on kick/punt returns. 14 of LSU’s points were scored when the GA defense wasn’t on the field. 14 more points were scored when turnovers or punt returns set LSU up at the GA 26 yard line or closer. In fact, LSU had 14 possessions, and only three went for more than 30 yards, one of those was a punt.

So, it does actually take more than looking at the final score to judge how a team played. GA’s defense was fine in the LSU game; the GA offense and special teams were the ones that lost that game.


June 27th, 2012
1:49 pm

@Student Athlete: Another person who thinks they know what they’re talking about. Please go back and actually look at the game recaps and full box scores for the UGA losses last year. Let’s just look at the South Carolina game, for example. South Caroline scored 45 total points. Seven points were on a fake punt, and 14 points were off of turnovers returned for touchdowns. That’s 21 points that were not given up by the defense. An additional touchdown was scored after a UGA fumble that gave SC the ball on the UGA five yard line.

Once again, we have someone who thinks they know something about football looking at the scoreboard and thinking they can make broad, sweeping statements about a game from that limited information. Once again, in that game, UGA’s defense did just fine; it was the offense and special teams that let the squad down.

Seriously guys; if you wanna take legitimate shots at UGA, you really should be focusing on an under-achieving offense and a special teams unit that dropped off the planet last year.

Homepage | MrSEC

June 27th, 2012
3:23 pm

[...] 21.  Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham — naturally — hopes to a be a head coach someday. [...]


June 27th, 2012
6:36 pm

Why not stay at UGA and help get the top talent that running a pro style defense can bring? We could use another “junkyard dog” defense. And I think he can get us there.

Joe L

June 27th, 2012
9:53 pm

Grantham has got to get best D- lineman, D-ends that stop the run and get to the SEC quater-back in two seconds. He got beat ALA-LSU-FLA on regular basic. His D has to made the plays at the right time. GO DOGS!!!! UGA will win a national championship this year, if the players stay out of trouble and listen to the coaches. Player please do not smoke pot, do drink and get in trouble. Do not steal, and drive drunk. If you do have a drivers remit, do not drive. Player and coaches put these writing on your wall in your dorn. Read them and do right. Just go want is right. God bless you. Now get out there and the national championship this year. Joe L!!!!!


June 27th, 2012
10:59 pm

(non) Student (non) athlete,
Hey there! I don’t know if you weren’t alive or just have a bad memory. There were some guys at Alabama over the past 20 years (Mike Shula, Dennis Franchione, Mike Price,Mike Dubose) with some pretty impressive records (.303, .680, null, .510). Mark Richt’s winning percentage is .736 since arriving at UGA in 2001. Usually it’s a good idea to do a little research before posting about our coaches. Once again, Alabama fans don’t have very good research skills (see Harvey Updyke Jr). What a joke you are… Alabama’s school is not too bad if it weren’t for the inbred fans like you who probably NEVER stepped foot on the campus for an education. Thanks for the entertainment!


June 28th, 2012
11:23 am

When UGA plays defense for 4 quarters like they did the 1st two quarters against LSU last year he will be ready for head coach. Not there yet.


June 28th, 2012
11:45 pm

Yeah, he’s done a good job. I’d give him a chance at HC. Especially if it means getting Richt to move on to greener pastures sooner rather than later.


June 29th, 2012
1:13 am

Yea, if offered a spot at any other school why would he stay at uga? He can’t stop anybody if the game is on the line. The D will cost us the AU, USC, and Missouri games. Sad but true!