SEC’s 10 best assistant coaches: final regular season edition


Back in August, we took a gander at the top assistant coaches entering the season. Now, that we’ve gone through the full season, let’s revisit the rankings of the top assistants in the SEC. Some assistants never want a head-coaching job, but some are destined to become head coaches in the future. Some are even considered to be candidates for open positions right now.

Here are the top assistants in the SEC:

1. John Chavis, LSU, Defensive Coordinator
Particulars: Age: 55. This was his 5th season at LSU.
The Buzz: John Chavis is the top assistant coach in the SEC. His career proves that, and his development of great talent and defenses at both Tennessee and LSU also proves that. Chavis had to replace three of four in the secondary and two of three at linebacker just this season. LSU’s defense once again finished the regular season ranked in top 10. The only head-coaching job Chavis would really consider would be Tennessee. But he’s happy at LSU, and content with developing blue-chip prospects every year.

2. Kirby Smart, Alabama, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Particulars: Age: 36. This was his 5th season at Alabama.
The Buzz: Kirby Smart coordinated the top-rated defense in the country, once again, in 2012, and he had to replace six starters off of last year’s stellar squad. His Bama squad finished #1 overall in total defense. Smart is a hot commodity among the coaching ranks, and he’ll have his opportunity to nab an open job if he wants one, but he has it made at Bama, making a ton of money and winning. Smart is destined for a head-coaching job in the near future, but he has the luxury to wait and take the right situation.

3. Todd Grantham, Georgia, Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers Coach
Particulars: Age: 45. This was his 3rd season at Georgia.
The Buzz: Todd Grantham has once again helped lead the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship game. While his defense probably didn’t have the regular season they desired, thanks in part to four suspensions early, Grantham is Jarvis Jones’ primary position coach, who once again turned in a monster year. Grantham will be a head coach in the near future, as his defense currently prepares for the SEC Championship. Grantham has both college and NFL experience, and he has learned from some of the best coaches in the business, such as Nick Saban and Frank Beamer.

4. Dan Quinn, Florida, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line
Particulars: Age: 42. This was his 2nd season at Florida.
The Buzz: Dan Quinn is one of the fastest rising coordinators in the SEC. He has an NFL pedigree with experience in coaching defensive lines in the NFL, and now he has coordinated arguably the best defense in the country in Florida. The Gators forced 29 turnovers in 12 games this season. Quinn will have some big opportunities in the future at any level, and he’s a fantastic coach tabbed by Will Muschamp to run his defense. Quinn has helped develop players such as Shariff Floyd and Dominique Easley in two short years.

5. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas A&M, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Particulars: Age 33. This was his 1st season at Texas A&M.
The Buzz: Kliff Kingsbury largely believes he’s still the best quarterback on the field every Saturday. The former record-setting Texas Tech quarterback has had a fantastic season as the offensive coordinator, and he’s had a big hand in helping to develop Johnny Manziel in the process. Kingsbury has made noise in the coaching ranks, and he’ll have his opportunity to get a head-coaching job in the immediate future. Texas A&M finished #1 overall in total offense in the SEC and #3 nationally during the regular season.

6. Bob Shoop, Vanderbilt, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach
Particulars: Age: 46. This was his 2nd season at Vanderbilt
The Buzz: The job that Bob Shoop has done at Vanderbilt has been fantastic. Shoop has guided the Commodores to back-to-back top-six finishes in total defense. He primarily coaches the safeties aside from his coordinator position, and the pass defense has been lights out the last two years. This season, the passing defense finished 3rd in the SEC, and it has other head coaches turning their heads toward Shoop. He’s been rumored to be on Jimbo Fisher’s shortlist at FSU as their new defensive coordinator. Bob Shoop can coach!

7. Frank Wilson, LSU, Running Backs Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Particulars: Age 39. This was his 3rd season at LSU.
The Buzz: Frank Wilson is known as a top recruiter in the SEC, but what he’s done with the running backs at LSU has been spectacular to watch. Entering 2012, he had four legit backs who could start for several teams, but freshman Jeremy Hill, who wasn’t considered one of the four, exploded onto the scene and was the biggest playmaker on offense. Wilson’s hand in helping develop this running back corps and keeping them all happy is truly intriguing.

8. Rodney Garner, Georgia, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Particulars: Age: 46. This was his 14th season at Georgia.
The Buzz: Rodney Garner is known largely for his ability to pull top recruits. He’s had other job opportunities in the past, but he’s chosen to stick with Georgia. Garner is a fantastic coach, and he’s helped develop some great defensive linemen at Georgia, too. John Jenkins is under his tutelage, and he should be a first-round draft pick this spring, adding to his list of four previous first rounders.

9. Lorenzo Ward, South Carolina, Defensive Coordinator
Particulars: Age: 45. This was his 4th season at South Carolina.
The Buzz: No Ellis Johnson; no problem. Lorenzo Ward was tabbed by Steve Spurrier when Johnson left for Southern Miss. He’s picked up where Johnson left off, too.  Ward’s defense finished #4 overall in the SEC, and they were one of the top red zone defenses in the SEC, too.  He’s done a fantastic job for Spurrier. The former Alabama player first coached the defensive secondary under Frank Beamer. He’s fast rising up-and-coming coach.

10. GA Mangus, South Carolina, Quarterbacks Coach
Particulars: Age: Early 40s. This was his 4th season at South Carolina.
The Buzz: The former Florida quarterback still works with his college coach in Columbia. GA Mangus has done a fantastic job as a position coach with Connor Shaw and backup Dylan Thompson, as Shaw is 16-3 as a starter and Dylan Thompson is 2-0. He’s been a head coach at Delaware State, and he took them from 2-8 to a 33-4 record during his tenure, before heading to Middle Tennessee. Mangus has learned from one of the best offensive minds in the business in Spurrier, and Mangus continues to be a hot name in the coaching ranks.

Photo Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE



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  • Smart should be numer 1. He was awarded as the best in country and has been a DC for the National Titles.

    • Not knocking Smart, he’s definitely worthy of being at the top of this list. However, it’s kind of hard to put him at the very top considering his immediate boss is the controlling force behind the side of the ball that Smart is tasked with coordinating.

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