By Sam Draut
On Friday morning, Bobby Petrino announced the final additions to complete his coaching staff for the University of Louisville football team.
Garrick McGee was brought in as the Assistant Head coach and Offensive Coordinator. McGee worked for Petrino for four seasons at Arkansas (2008-11) as the program’s Offensive Coordinator and quarterback’s coach. In his two seasons as offensive coordinator at Arkansas, the Razorbacks went 10-3 and 11-2, scoring 30 or more points in 19 of 36 games.
A former quarterback, McGee worked extensively with Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet, who had back to back seasons passing for over 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns.
“We have the same thoughts and beliefs on how we want to run the offense. So I have complete trust on what he does,” Petrino said.
McGee spent two seasons as the head coach at UAB, leaving for Louisville after a 5-19 record.
“I know the role of an assistant. I think I’m in a great position to be one of the best assistant coaches in the game, because of my experience as a head coach,” McGee said.
In 2011, McGee was one of the five finalist for the 2011 Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Chris Klenakis was announced as the Offense Line Coach and Running Game Coordinator. Last season, Klenakis coached at Iowa State, before previously spending three seasons at Arkansas. He worked with Bobby Petrino from 2010-11.
“Chris is an expert on teaching technique and the innovator of the Pistol offense. He is a tireless worker and a great recruiter,” Petrino said.
Former Louisville running back Kolby Smith was hired as the Running Backs Coach.
“Basically, at the running back position, you have to be smart, tough, and dependable. So that is what I’m look for out of the backs,” Smith said.
Smith played for Petrino from 2003-06, experiencing an Orange Bowl victory and two conference championships while rushing for over 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Smith connected with Petrino last season at WKU and was on staff as the running backs coach.
Lamar Thomas was brought in as the Wide Receivers Coach, after spending one season with Petrino at WKU.
Thomas played eight seasons in the NFL from 1993-2000 after finishing a prolific career at Miami (Fla.). Thomas won two national championships and holds the school record for most career receptions.
Todd Grantham was lured away from Georgia and hired as the Defensive Coordinator. He was given a five-year guaranteed contract worth $1 million per year.
“To be a part of Coach Petrino’s staff and what they do offensively, it was an opportunity I felt like I couldn’t pass up,” Grantham said.
Grantham spent four seasons at Georgia and in 2012 helped to lead the Bulldogs to a 12-2 record ending in a victory in the Capital One Bowl. The defense held five opponents to ten points or fewer and finished the year ranked 18th nationally in scoring defense.
Grantham is a proponent of the 3-4 defense, which will be transition for the players who ran the 4-3 defense with former Defensive Coordinator Vance Bedford.
Grantham will also coach inside linebackers and special teams.
Clint Hurtt is the lone hold over from Charlie Strong’s staff and will continue to work as the Defensive Line Coach.
Known as one of the top recruiters in the country, Hurtt has been on staff at Louisville since 2010. Hurtt helped guide the Cardinals to be one of the top pass rushing defense in the country, finishing first nationally in sacks.
L.D. Scott was hired as the Outside Linebackers Coach. Scott played defensive end at U of L from 2006-09 and finished with 20 tackles or more in his final three seasons.
Scott stayed connected with Petrino as a student assistant for two years at Arkansas and then worked as WKU’s defensive ends coach for two years.
“We are excited to get our hands in and get to work,” Scott said.
Terrell Buckley was brought in as the Cornerbacks Coach, he previously spent two seasons at the same position at Akron.
Buckley played fourteen years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl and hauling in 50 interceptions.
With the staff complete, the coaches will work feverously on recruiting leading up to National Signing Day on Wednesday February 5. And then, to Spring practices which could give a glimpse into the 2014 season.
“When he called, I asked if there was a chance to win a national championship, and if there is, I am interested, and he said ‘yes, this is the one’,” McGee said.