Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo takes same role with North Carolina
Many Ole Miss fans wanted a new offensive coordinator in 2019. Whether that’s a good thing or not, the Rebel fans will get their wish.
After recruiting former Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre to come to Oxford to be his defensive coordinator last weekend, Matt Luke is once again on the market for a coordinator as Phil Longo is on his way to North Carolina to serve as Mack Brown’s offensive coordinator in Chapel Hill.
Usually, these openings occur after National Signing Day/the early signing period, the move was first reported by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman but has since been confirmed by SDS.
Originally hired by Hugh Freeze, Longo was retained by Luke upon landing the full-time head coaching job in Oxford. Just one season later, Luke has lost both his coordinators, which to many doesn’t come as a complete surprise. Defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff was fired immediately following the conclusion of the regular season.
The former head coach at Sam Houston State before joining the Ole Miss staff, Longo had been seeking a head coaching job this offseason. He interviewed for the UMass and Texas State jobs before accepting the OC role at North Carolina.
In his two seasons in Oxford, Ole Miss ranked in the top half of the league in scoring offense, tops in passing offense both seasons, but near the bottom in third-down conversions and touchdown percentage in the red zone. Under Longo’s coaching, Jordan Ta’amu went from unknown junior college signee to leading passer in the SEC in two season’s time.
Despite the red zone issues, the Rebels ranked No. 9 in the nation in offensive efficiency for the 2017 season (that despite starting QB Shea Patterson being lost for the season due to injury) and No. 12 in the nation for the 2018 season, according to S&P+ advanced analytics.
Longo becomes the second former SEC assistant coach to join Brown at North Carolina, as former Texas A&M tight end’s coach Tim Brewster accepted the same role under the new Tar Heel coach.