11 Most Loyal Assistant Coaches in College Football
College football coaching staffs seem to change coordinators and position coaches nearly every year. New faces on the recruiting trail and on the field bring new ideas and fresh blood, but there is something to say for stability and continuity on a staff.
Finding coaching staffs that stick together for decades is tough to find, but looking at the current landscape there are 11 coaches that have been the right-hand men to their head coaches through the years.
One of the common themes among these coaches and their loyalty has been success. The teams and coaches that have these guys on staff are winning games for a reason. Here is a look at the coaches that drive college football with their steady presence on the sideline.
Fred Jackson, Michigan Running Backs Coach
If you are looking for one of college football’s most tenured coaches, look no further than Fred Jackson at Michigan.
Jackson has guided the Wolverines running backs since the 1992 season, and has held a number of titles with the program since his tenure began.
He has coached under four different Michigan head coaches, and is the longest tenured coach on the Wolverines staff.
Fred Jackson is a staple of Michigan football, and the Wolverines continue to crank out quality backs under his watch. Don’t expect this run to end anytime soon.
Rhett Lashlee, Auburn Tigers Offensive Coordinator
The Auburn Tigers are entering a new era of football this season with Gus Malzahn taking over the program after the departure of Gene Chizik. With Malzahn came offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, a Malzahn protégé.
Lashlee first coached with Malzahn at the high school level in Springdale, Arkansas. He then followed Malzahn to Auburn, Arkansas and Arkansas State as a graduate assistant and offensive coordinator.
During 2011 he served as the offensive coordinator for Samford—the only year as a coach he has not been with Malzahn.
He is entering his eighth year as a coach, and seventh with Malzahn.
Steve Spurrier Jr., South Carolina Co-Offensive Coordinator
Steve Spurrier Jr. is, well, Steve Spurrier Jr. Need I say more?
He has a loyalty to his father that most coaches don’t have, and has been the co-offensive coordinator on his dad’s staff since 2012.
Spurrier Jr. started at Florida and spent five seasons during the 1990s there. He then went to Oklahoma, made a few stops in the NFL and returned to the Spurrier staff when it landed at South Carolina.
Riding coattails isn’t Spurrier Jr.’s style, but being a part of a winning staff and keeping the right loyalties is. He has a winning resume, and will continue to be a premier coordinator well beyond the tenure of his father.
Mike Bobo, Georgia Offensive Coordinator
Mike Bobo is the hometown hero for the Georgia Bulldogs.
He played quarterback for the Bulldogs from 1994-97, and started his career as a coach for Georgia the next year.
From 1998-99 he was a graduate assistant and the coached quarterbacks at Jacksonville State for a season. In 2001 he returned to Georgia under Mark Richt, and has remained with the program ever since.
At this point there is no doubt that Bobo will be at Georgia as long as he has the opportunity. It is a winning program and home for him for the past 20 years. Bobo is one of the most loyal coaches in the game for his ties to not only a coach, but also a school.
Del Miller, Kansas State Co-Offensive Coordinator
Del Miller has made four different stops in his coaching career since 1977. He was hired as an original member of Bill Snyder’s first staff at Kansas State in 1988, and coached with Snyder until 1995 when he took the head coaching position at Southwest Missouri State.
He left there in 1998 and returned to the college game in 2000 coaching offense for Oklahoma State. In 2001 he returned to Kansas State but departed for three seasons during the mid-2000s.
In 2009 he returned to the Wildcats and now serves as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
17 years of his career has been with Kansas State.
Dana Dimel, Kansas State Co-Offensive Coordinator
Dana Dimel brings head coaching experience and love of school to the Kansas State sideline on Saturdays. Dimel is the co-offensive coordinator for the Wildcats, and has held the position since 2009.
He is now in his 15th season with the program, and has helped an offensive resurgence for the Wildcats in the past few seasons.
Dimel has been the head coach of Houston and Wyoming, but the majority of his career has been dedicated to Kansas State.
Eddie Gran, Cincinnati Offensive Coordinator
Eddie Gran has been in college coaching for 27 years, 15 of which have been spent with Tommy Tuberville.
Gran helped coach Ole Miss and Auburn running backs during the Tuberville years, and then took trips to Tennessee and Florida State. When Tuberville was hired by Cincinnati this past winter, he promptly hired Gran on as offensive coordinator.
Prior to working at Ole Miss, Gran had stops at Miami, Cincinnati and Idaho State among other schools.
Known as a recruiting guru, Gran was a solid promotion for Tuberville and puts together two coaches that have spent nearly two decades together.
Ed Orgeron, USC Assistant Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive
Ed Orgeron is a coach that has a wealth of experience with a number of schools and staffs, but his time at USC is what he is most well known for.
Currently serving in a number of roles on Lane Kiffin’s staff, Orgeron has coached for the Trojans for a total of 11 years. He also has a close tie to Kiffin, coaching on the current USC staff and coaching for him at Tennessee from 2008-09.
He bounced into the NFL as a defensive line coach in 2008, but the majority of his time has been in college.
Orgeron is a strong recruiter, and one of the most notable names in the Kiffin staff.
Mark D’Onofrio, Miami (Fl.) Defensive Coordinator
Mark D’Onofrio is currently serving as the defensive coordinator under Al Golden at Miami (Fl.).
D’Onofrio has served with Golden since 2005 when they were on staff together at Virginia. D’Onofrio coached linebackers under Golden.
Golden moved to Temple, and D’Onofrio followed him. He was the Temple defensive coordinator from 2006-10, then can with Golden to Miami (Fl.).
He has spent eight years with Golden and looks to continue his climb with his head coach up the college football ladder. D’Onofrio will likely depart the Golden staff eventually, but to date he is one of the most loyal assistants in the game.
Kirby Smart, Alabama Defensive Coordinator
Kirby Smart has been with Nick Saban since 2004 when he coached defensive backs at LSU.
In 2006 he rejoined Saban after a year at Georgia on Saban’s staff in Miami. He spent the season at the NFL level, and then followed Saban to Alabama where he has been since the 2007 season.
Smart is on the short list for a number of top jobs, but has yet to be hired away from the Saban staff. As one of the highest paid assistants in the game, it will be tough for just any program to pull him away.
Smart has developed as a top coach under Saban, and until another job pulls him away as a head guy, he will stay on Saban’s staff.
Bud Foster, Virginia Tech Defensive Coordinator
Bud Foster is the most loyal assistant coach currently roaming a sideline in college football.
Foster has been at Virginia Tech since 1987, and he has been coaching under Frank Beamer since 1981. His first job was under Beamer as a graduate assistant at Murray State.
He followed Beamer to Virginia Tech in 1987, and has been there ever since. He has coached some of the most impressive special teams and defensive units in the country over the past three decades.
Foster is considered the head coach in waiting at Virginia Tech, but he may retire with Beamer if this run continues.