Updated: Is UF defensive coordinator Grantham gone? Reports say he’s staying

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UF defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, left, and head coach Dan Mullen watch players during practice at the Indoor Practice Facility on campus last year. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Part of Florida football coach Dan Mullen’s offseason could include a search for a new defensive coordinator.

Current defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had been in Cincinnati interviewing for the same position with the Bengals and is now considered the NFL team’s No. 1 target, according to Cincinnati Enquirer sources.

The paper said Grantham went in for a second round of interviews Wednesday morning with new head coach Zac Taylor and is expected to be offered the job.

But according to a report late Wednesday night by Harrison Tenzer at , Grantham has decided to remain at UF. The Sun’s Graham Hall also confirmed Grantham’s decision.

The Suns’ Pat Dooley tweeted Thursday morning: “Grantham staying with Florida in part because Gators extended him with a raise in January to $1.8 mill making him 5th highest paid DC in the country. They did that before the Bengals stuff came up. UF very pre-emptive with deal, knowing teams would come calling.”

Grantham has coached with four NFL teams in the past — Dallas, Cleveland, Houston and Indianapolis.

He was the defensive coordinator for the Browns in 2005-07. He was the defensive line coach for the Cowboys, Texans and Colts.

His Florida defense this past season gave up just 343.3 yards of total offense and 20.0 points a game. The Gators also totaled 37 sacks for losses of 217 yards in the 10-3 season.

Grantham is scheduled to make $1.5 million for the 2019 season and $1.6 million in 2020 at UF. He made $1.4 million this past season. That deal made him the highest paid assistant coach in school history and one of the highest paid assistants in the country.

Mullen had recently replaced two other departed defensive coaches with Torrian Gray at defensive backs and David Turner with the linemen. Turner replaced Sal Sunseri, who left the Gators to join Alabama’s staff, and Gray replaced Charlton Warren, who is now with Georgia.

55 COMMENTS

  1. In 28 years of coaching, the longest Grantham has been at one job was 5 years and that was 28 years ago when he first started coaching. He’s usually 3 to 4 years max at one job, so it’s not surprising at all to see him leave after a year. What would be surprising is him leaving for less money. There’s no way in hell the Bengals are going to pay him anywhere near what he’s making now. The only reason for doing this would be an overwhelming desire to coach in the NFL again. We’ve lost many a defensive coordinators before and not missed a beat, so I don’t see that changing here.

  2. Marquand Manuel might be a good replacement. He was dc under Quinn at Atlanta last year. He had a good defense the year before but took a hit this past year due to so many injuries they had. I think he would be a good recruiter and he is an ex Gator. Could also offer TRob but it would be hard to get him away from Muschamp unless the money was too good to turn down. He was also a good recruiter.

  3. I would love to see Charlie Strong come back. I just can’t imagine coaching in front of 20,000 fans can be that rewarding especially if you have the chance to get another championship ring at UF. My son was at UF and when got to know Charlie. What a great guy.

  4. Coach Mullen has enough credibility with me at this point that I can’t help but think this will end up being a positive. Every time there has been a “crisis”, the man has come through with flying colors. Recruiting, player development, replacing our assistant coaches, including one right before the Elam trip to Georgia. Blessings in disguise. Mullen liked the defensive scheme TG used and recruited accordingly. That’s what Coach Mullen wants and he will continue to get that with the next hire. Plus, this demonstrates how good Coach Mullen is at hiring assistants, so whey should we be worried? TG had to replace someone at some point too. And now we have a great connection at the NFL level for our players and recruits to consider.

  5. I lived in Cincinnati for over 30 years and am still a Bengal fan (go ahead and feel sorry for me). What I am hearing is that the job is Grantham’s if he wants it. I think there will always be assistants who want to find out what they can do in the pros and others who simply do not want to recruit. I wish him well in whatever decision he makes

  6. If Grantham does decide to leave I’m hoping Christian Robinson gets promoted from within for the benefits of continuity and the likelihood that we would not lose him for at least a few years because he would have to prove his worth before others become interested. Of course Mullin knows better then me if he is ready for that type of promotion or not. If not, then I’m sure Mullin would hire a very good coach. I hope Grantham stays mostly for the players to have continuity in their scheme, which I think would be there with a Christian Robinson promotion as well since he has been Under Granthams wing for years now. If Grantham is going to leave in a year or two anyway which is his track record then I would prefer to lose him now rather then later.

    • Sparky, yes there is inherent risk, but would much prefer to see plays like the last one of the Miss. St. game last year than a full season of Randy Shannon drop all 11 back and cover 15 yards deep. A middle ground would be nice, but I’ll take the risky blitz-happy approach any day over the Shannon passive approach.

    • It would seem to me that when you are making that kind of money, then a decision is not just about money. Yes, $1.5M to $2.0M is a 33% increase but $1.5M still buys a lot of stuff. To me the biggest reason why a coach might want to move to the NFL is recruiting. Some coaches love college recruiting….some hate it…and some just tolerate it. So the question I’d have is, would Grantham move back to the NFL, even for the same money and title, just to avoid recruiting? I guess the decision depends on what motivates Todd. Money, Recruiting, Professional Challenge, Talent, Atmosphere (I’d take Gainesville over Cincinnati, but I’m biased….but I do love me some Skyline Chili), etc. Maybe he wants to continue to be a part of what Dan Mullen is building in Hogtown 🙂

      • There’s kind’ve a tradeoff there with comparing recruiting in college to not having to in the NFL. You’re either going to be traveling the country looking for kids who are needing to be developed and willing to be coached and learn, or you trade that for having to deal with a bunch of highly paid egos who are less likely to listen and learn. Considering the amount of money Grantham would have to give up to deal with those egos, I think it was a probably a fairly easy decision.

        • Joe, you are right about the highly paid ego angle. On one hand… recruiting….on the other hand….egos of men who have less motivation now that they’re well paid. It all comes down to what’s important to the individual I guess. That would be a tough choice!

      • You are right and it’s probably a combination of factors. People are motivated by different things. Some by money, some by family, and some by passion for doing something among many other things. And for some, factors such as recruiting is a negative motivator. For the vast majority of people though, I believe that money is the biggest motivator unless they believe in storing up eternal treasures instead of worldly ones. Then money is less of a motivator. Of course, I don’t know what it’s like to make $1.5M a year so I may be out in left field. There is a well known story about Rockefeller who was the world’s richest man and first ever American billionaire. When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.”

        • It should be a little easier for him to convince recruits to want to play for him now. Everyone just watched an NFL team throw everything they had at him. How could you not want to be coached by him now? Good answer from Rockefeller that’s for sure.

        • I agree that money is the prime motivator for most (I’m one of the eternal treasures guys as opposed to worldly treasures 🙂 ). But I think, and I speak from experience, that the final analysis will usually show that when we chase money at the expense of other things that are more important, we either regret it or we find that we still aren’t satisfied.

  7. I always laugh when people throw out “it’s only a raise from 1.5 to 2 million”. That’s a raise of around $10,000 a week! .5 just sounds so much smaller. I think it’s good news that Grantham is apparently staying. Now let’s hope he makes people forget those busted 3rd down coverages.

    • I didn’t say it wasn’t a lot of money…or a big deal. But when you’re making $1.5M, you are not living paycheck to paycheck like 90% of the world and you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. So unless your primary or only focus is on money and the stuff money can buy then other factors are important too. There is a real difference between getting a $500K pay raise if you’re making $100K vs if you are making $1.5M. Not everyone chases every last nickel you can make.

  8. Very excited to see Grantham is coming back. I loved what he did in year one and expect big things in year two as he and the players all get settled into this system. Maybe when he does leave– and I think he would like to be a head coach someday– we can promote someone from within who knows the players and the system.

    In any case– three cheers for Grantham!

  9. DC for an NFL team compares favorably with DC for ANY Power 5 football program. You get to coach players year-round, you don’t have to recruit, and you don’t have to deal with silly teenage antics in and out of the locker room. However, the Gator’s DC job right now offers an opportunity to finish building something special, high pay and (apparently) more job security.

    I read somewhere yesterday that the Bengals job would go to TG with a PAY CUT and little or no buyout clause. So, TG would most likely have had to move his family AGAIN and sacrifice $$$ and job security for the benefit of coaching in the NFL again. I guess TG decided it just wasn’t worth it. Money talks and BS walks!

    Now, can anyone reading this post say that Jeromi Foley would have EVER agreed to pay ANY Gator DC $1.5 million a year??? A high salary is what the firm I worked at for nearly 40 years used to call “golden handcuffs.” If the rumor is true and TG remains with the Gators, ALL the credit goes to AD Scott Stricklin!

    Go Gators!!!

    • STL, respectfully, I usually agree with the insights and opinions that you post. However, I don’t think it is fair to assume Foley would never have paid these million$$ plus salaries to Coordinator positions, as the going rate on those salaries just began to rise (quickly) within the last couple of years, when Clemson was among the first with the $1m++ for their defensive coordinator, with Alabama, Texas A&M and Georgia jumping into that pool as well. Foley may not have led this escalation, but to say he would NEVER have acceded to at some point is an over reach in my opinion. Times have changed. Now, if you want to make the argument about facilities, then I would be right with you, as we certainly fell behind much of the SEC and other Power5 programs in that regard.

      • DanF, I appreciate where you come from. No doubt, my position on Jeromi Foley is purely speculative, with no real way to prove or disprove it. So, all we can do is discuss it and respectfully agree… or disagree.

        I’m an engineer by training, so logic lives strongly in me. Throughout his tenure as AD, Foley repeatedly and clearly demonstrated he was more interested in excellence across ALL sports at UF than in leading the football arms race. I gave him credit for that at the end of every school year he was AD, while grumbling at the price Gator football paid for championships in other sports, especially over the last 10 years. What he accomplished across ALL sports at UF was commendable and not easy at all.

        That said, there’s little doubt Foley was behind both Spurrier and Meyer quitting at the peak of their success. He made it clear to both of them, in turn, that he wouldn’t compete financially with the likes of Alabama and Clemson to keep the Gator football program at elite level at the expense of excellence in all other Gator sports. He was the AD, not FD.

        So, I believe Foley chose to retire when he did, even though he’s still relatively young, because he saw where the CFB arms race was headed and wanted no part of it. He would not have been able to sign off on the lavish football complex that’s now planned for construction where the old BB stadium sits, nor the ridiculous salaries being paid to hire and retain elite football coaches, their assistant coaches and support staff.

        Watch what happens to Nick Savage’s salary in the next year or two, whether the Gators retain or lose him. Foley would NOT have paid big $$$ to retain Savage, no matter how hard CDM lobbied for it. We’ll see how Stricklin handles that negotiation, since he made very clear his horror at the pathetic state of the Gator football S&C program when he took over as AD….. from Jeromi Foley!

        Go Gators!!!

        • Stl,your engineer background and use of logic serves your position on the Foley issue well. I read with interest the theory’ behind the departures of both Spurrier and Meyer. Since I have no facts to pit against it, I accept that there could be merit to your view on both that issue and the timing of Foley’s retirement. Either way, the football arms race in the SEC was already leaving the station and there will be no turning back. Just the new found revenue stream of the SEC Network alone commands that schools spend whatever it takes to stay ahead or risk falling so far behind they might as well get out. Thanks for your thoughts and opinions and I look forward to reading your posts going forward.

          • Dan, you’re spot on about more $$$ from TV contracts ratcheting up the SEC football arms race. According to 247, 5 of the top 10, and 11 of the top 25 2019 recruiting classes are in the SEC. Any SEC program standing still now will be road kill! Thankfully, Stricklin has the Gators running near the front of the pack. Turning away an NFL team to keep our DC here is just the latest proof.

            As to Foley’s financial priorities causing huge rifts with Spurrier and Meyer, allow me to point you to an archived report of Spurrier’s resignation back in 2002:

            https://www.questia.com/newspaper/1G1-81416036/spurrier-quits-12-years-long-enough-for-florida

            Steve Spurrier IS the quintessential Gator great. He STILL bleeds orange and blue. What level of anger and frustration must have driven him to resign the HBC position… via cell phone… from a golf course… without even notifying his players???

            Let that soak in a bit and then consider Meyer’s near mental breakdown when Saban confirmed his worst fears about not being able to keep up… on the field… in the 2009 SEC Championship game! How trapped in upcoming mediocrity must Meyer have felt at that moment. By 2010, he was just a zombie on the sidelines.

            Jeromi Foley is responsible for BOTH of those horrible events in Gator football history.

    • I agree. In this specific case, it seems Grantham’s family had a lot to do with his decision to stay, another plus for recruiting bc it tells them G’ville is also a great place to live. His son is still in high school and playing two sports.You hit the nail on the head with job security , though. Harder to fire a college assistant, even when he’s not doing so good, than an NFL team with an owner , especially in this day and age of media controlled corporate decisions. As for Foley, I don’t know what he would have done,but no question he was cheap. Now a lot of other teams in America might have had cheap AD’s too, but Foley was still cheap.
      Dude probably brought his lunch in a brown bag to work every day. If we heard a rumor about an assistant leaving under his watch, it was usually a done deal in less than 24 hours.

    • STL, Stricklin actually gave him an extension in January till 2022 raising his annual salary to $1.8 million, putting him in the top 5 of highest paid DC’s in college football. This was all done before the Bengals came calling, so they clearly knew this was coming. No way the Bengals could match that.

      • Hats off to Stricklin! Once again, he was ahead of the curve where it comes to competing for CFB excellence. Maybe, he saw what happened when the Seahawks came calling for Dan Quinn and decided to head other NFL teams off at the pass when it was Grantham’s turn.

  10. We were fine either way. Any coach we have can get a raise any time by leaving, including CDM. Might not be an upgrade, but it would be a raise. Except CDM, the replacement might be an upgrade for us as well, but I’d rather keep the ones we have rather than finding out for sure.

    Still, I like Grantham and look forward to the defense he will have the year after next and there after.