Meet the Georgia Coaching Staff

Although miles apart and sporting different styles, Boise State and Georgia have several things in common. They are 2 of only 8 schools to finish in the top 15 teams in the nation in each of the last three seasons, they are both ranked in the top 20 this year, and their head coaches are nearly mirror images of each other.

Georgia Coaches:

Mark Richt- Head Coach

Mike Bobo- Quarterbacks

Neil Callaway- Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line

John Eason- Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers

Jon Fabris - Defensive Ends

Rodney Garner - Asst. Head Coach/Defensive. Line/Recruiting Coordinator

David Johnson- Tight Ends

Willie Martinez-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary

John Jancek- Linebackers

Kirby Smart- Running Backs Coach

Dave Van Halanger - Director, Strength and Conditioning

Jeff Beckles - Graduate Assistant

Rex Bradberry - Graduate Assistant - Strength/Cond

Josh Lee - Graduate Assistant - Football

Tyson Summers - Graduate Assistant - Secondary

Joe Tereshinski - Strength and Conditioning / Video Coordinator

Keith Gray- Associate Head Strength & Conditioning Coach

Steve Greer - Director, Football Operations

Joanna Mattox- Graduate Asst. / Athletic Trainer

Lenny Navitskis- Assistant Athletic Trainer

Harris Patel - Athletic Trainer

Travis Randolph- Graduate Asst. / Athletic Trainer

Clay Walker- Assistant Strength Coach

 

 

Richt, a graduate of Miami, was selected to be the Georgia football coach on December 26 of 2000. And what an after Christmas present he has been to the Bulldog program. Richt helped develop the Florida State passing game, serving as Offensive Coordinator for 7 years for the Seminoles and working with the quarterbacks for 14 years. Among the quarterbacks he developed at Florida State were Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke. Casey Weldon, who was runner-up for the Heisman, is another Richt pupil as is NFL quarterback Brad Johnson. Weldon had this to say about Richt, ''To me, he's the guy you want to be like,'' Weldon said. ''You want to be the dad he is. You want to be the husband he is. If you're a coach, you want to be the coach he is.''


Van Halanger had this to say, ''Mark's great quality is meekness,'' said Dave Van Halanger, Georgia's strength and conditioning coach who followed Richt to Athens from Florida State, of his close friend and jogging partner. ''He's very humble but has a very strong personality inside. He knows exactly what he wants, but he's not overbearing. Meek is not weak. Meek is strength. To me, meekness in Mark is great strength because he's approachable; he's humble enough to continue to learn. 'He knows that God's blessed him, he knows that people matter, he cares about people, he cares about the (players), and cares about how they feel. But he knows exactly what they need. He knows you can't give them candy all the time because it will rot their teeth out.''

In addition to his pressure-packed head coaching job, Richt also is on the Board of Directors for HERO for Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children affected by AIDS.

His beliefs and style have been a perfect fit at Georgia. In his first three seasons at UGA, Coach Richt led his team to two SEC Eastern Division titles, one SEC championship, and his 42-10 record is sixth best in the country since 2001. After Georgia's first SEC championship in 20 years in 2002, the Bulldogs defeated Florida State, 26-13, in the Nokia Sugar Bowl and finished the season ranked number three. Richt had the 'Dogs back in the title game again in '03, defeated Purdue in the Capital One Bowl, and had the 'Dogs in the top ten again with a final USA Today/ESPN Coaches ranking of 6th and a final AP ranking of 7th.

At the SEC Media Days, Richt had this to say about the Georgia players with legal problems, "I mean I hate it. I hate it when a guy misbehaves you know. I hate when my own child misbehaves, but, you know, the bottom line is, you know, we're are dealing with kids and we're dealing with human beings, and they are going to make mistakes, that's inevitable. To think your players or your children or your students as a whole across this country are not going to misbehave ever, then I think we're really thinking wrong. I think what's important is how are you are going to handle those situations. And my goal as a coach and as an educator is to help these guys understand what they did was wrong educate them, discipline them, love them, and then hopefully get them in position where they learn from these situations and become a very person for it. Not many people learn by what somebody tells them, or by observing someone else. Most people make mistakes on their own and learn from them, but you don't want to a lot of it to happen. And I hate it when it does happen. But I feel that we have done outstanding job of handling the discipline problems."

He has a strong reputation as an excellent recruiter; in fact, at the time of his hire, he was recruiting D.J. Shockley for Florida State. Shockley of course signed with Georgia and is tabbed as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback for the 2005 season.

Richt and his wife Katharyn have four children, including two that they adopted from the Ukraine. The couple, active for years in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, had talked before about adopting more children or becoming foster parents one day when they got older, said Katharyn. One of the factors that led to that decision was a Sunday school class discussion at Crossroads Baptist Church in Tallahassee. They had been talking about the ills of society that day and the question "Who's in charge of taking care of the poor and the elderly?" came up. The Richts felt like the church ought to do its share, and soon afterward they were in the Ukraine taking their two adopted children home.

Two of Richt's assistants left in the offseason. Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder is now coaching linebackers for Jacksonville of the National Football League and running backs coach Ken Rucker went to Texas to coach backs for the Longhorns. . Defensive Ends coach Jon Fabris had accepted a similar position at Oklahoma but on the night before he was set to assume his duties in Norman, he reversed course and decided to stay at Georgia.

Secondary coach Willie Martinez was promoted to defensive coordinator this year. Martinez coached at Central Michigan and was a teammate of Richt's at Miami. In his last year at Central Michigan, Martinez' Chippewas led the nation in pass defense, allowing just 149 yards per game. He was also was defensive coordinator at Grand Valley State University, Central Florida and Eastern Michigan in 1997. Martinez' responsibility last year was the secondary, where his unit placed 16th in the country in passing defense, allowing just 182 yards through the air. Overall, the Georgia defense was 8th nationally in total defense, allowing under 289 yards per game and 9th in the nation in scoring defense at 16.5 points per contest.

Georgia then hired Central Michigan defensive coordinator John Jancek as linebackers coach and LSU defensive backs coach Kirby Smart as running backs coach.

Neil Callaway is a former offensive coordinator for Alabama who also played for Coach Bear Bryant at the school. Although Callaway is the Offensive Coordinator, it is Richt who calls the offensive plays. He is also in charge of the Bulldog offensive line, having coached in that capacity for Pat Dye from 1978-92. He was on Dye's staff at Wyoming (1979-80) and East Carolina (1978) before following him to Auburn in 1981. From 1993-96, Callaway was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Houston. Last season, Georgia ranked 30th in the country in passing offense at 248 yards per game and 31st in total offense at 404.5 ypg and 45th in scoring offense at nearly 28 points per contest.

Mike Bobo, a star quarterback from 1995-1997 at Georgia and owner of two Bulldog passing records, returned to Athens after coaching at Jacksonville State. In 1997, Bobo led the Dawgs to a 10-2 record. That year, he hit 65% of his passes and had a passing efficiency rating of 155.8.

John Eason, receivers coach for the Bulldogs, served as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at South Carolina from 1995-98 following 12 years as wide receivers coach at FSU from 1981-94. During his tenure at FSU, the Seminoles won one national championship (1993) and won eight bowl games--two Orange, two Fiesta, one Cotton, one Sugar, one Blockbuster, and one All-American. In his 12 seasons, Eason coached seven wide receivers who received All-America recognition including three first team selections -- Lawrence Dawsey, Tamrick Vanover, and Kez McCorvey.

Fabris was a defensive and special teams coach for the Browns. He also has experience at South Carolina (1999), Kansas State (1997-98), Notre Dame (1995), Iowa State (1987-94) and Washington State (1982-86). While at South Carolina, the Gamecock defense was ranked 20th nationally. Fabris played defensive back for Mississippi in his playing days.

Rodney Garner, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, was hired in 1998 after serving as an assistant for Tennessee. The 2003 Bulldog defense finished 2nd nationally in Scoring Defense (14.5 points per game), 4th in Total Defense (276.86 yards per game and 6th in Passing Defense (174.50 ypg, 1st in the SEC). The 2002 UGA defense was 4th in the nation in scoring defense. Garner was selected one of 10 coaches from throughout the country to participate in the 2004 NCAA Expert Coaching Academy in Indianapolis and one of only 20 chosen for the NCAA's 2004 Advanced Coaching Academy in Orlando. Under his direction, four Georgia players have gone on to become 1st round NFL draft picks: Richard Seymour (Patriots) and Marcus Stroud (Jaguars), both 2004 Pro Bowl starters, along with Charles Grant (Saints), and Johnathan Sullivan (Saints). Garner's defensive line helped the Bulldogs rank 15th in the country last year in stopping the run, allowing 106.9 yards on the ground. Garner played at Auburn.

Tight ends coach David Johnson was an assistant coach at Marshall University from 1997-2000 prior to coming to Athens and was part of Richt's original staff. Johnson had served in various capacities at Marshall including recruiting coordinator, tight ends coach, and offensive tackles coach. Prior to his stint at Marshall, Johnson served ten years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania including seven as offensive coordinator, offensive line, and strength and conditioning coach and three years (1987-89) as offensive line, tight ends, and strength and conditioning duties

Tight ends at Georgia have included All-SEC TE Randy McMichael, currently with the Miami Dolphins, Ben Watson, 2004 first round draft choice of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots; and first team All-SEC TE Leonard Pope. Johnson graduated from West Virginia.

Linebackers coach John Jancek was defensive coordinator at Central Michigan and served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Grand Valley State University, the 2002 NCAA Division II national champion. Jancek turned Grand Valley into one of the top defensive units in Division II football during his four- years there. Grand Valley opponents scored only 16.5 points per game in 2002 while posting a 14-0 record. Opponents managed just 279.9 yards per game in total offense and turned the ball over 36 times. Jancek also worked at Wayne State and Central Florida.

Kirby Smart was a secondary coach for Nick Saban at LSU last season. Smart, an All-SEC defensive back at Georgia, coached defensive backs at Florida State where he received his master's degree before heading to LSU. He spent the 2001 season as the defensive coordinator at Valdosta State and 2000 season as the defensive backs coach for the Blazers. Smart's 2001 defense at Valdosta State ranked second in the nation in scoring defense as the Blazers posted a perfect 11-0 mark during the regular season.

Dave Van Halanger followed Richt from Florida State to Georgia and is a 27-year veteran coach of strength and conditioning. In a 1998 article, Sports Illustrated featured Van Halanger as one of three top strength coaches. According to officials at Florida State, the average athlete gains 20-25 pounds, increases his bench press by 100 pounds and his squat by 200 pounds in his time in Van Halanger's program. Van Halanger was an offensive lineman in college at West Virginia.

This is an experienced and successful group of coaches, led by the likable Richt. Make no mistake about it though, Richt and his staff are tough and expect their players to toe the line. Under their leadership, Georgia is one of only eight schools in the country to finish in the top 15 in the nation in each of the past three seasons. They bring a Georgia team that is ranked 14th in the preseason by the nation's coaches into the September 3rd game against Boise State.

 

 

 


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