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Tracking Maryland football’s assistant coaching hires

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A look at Mike Locksley's reported and potential staff additions.

Mike Locksley Maryland football press conference Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

This story was initially published Dec. 12 and has been updated most recently on Feb. 3.

Editor’s note: Comments shut off for this article after 30 days, but we’ll continue to update the tracker. We’ve got a more up-to-date thread in the FanPosts here.

Maryland hired Mike Locksley as its head football coach on Dec. 4, and nearly two months later, his on-field staff is reportedly complete.

As of this update, Maryland has officially announced six hires while four more have been reported. At the start of the process, Locksley was vague when asked about staffing decisions, but did list five characteristics he looks for in his assistant coaches.

“They gotta be great communicators, they gotta be good scheme guys, great recruiters, great evaluators of talent, and then first and foremost, they’ve gotta be great mentors,” he said.

Here’s a position-by-position rundown of how Maryland’s staff is shaping up. We’ll keep updating this post as new hires are reported or announced, or as frontrunners emerge for specific spots.

***Jan. 15 update: All of Maryland’s incumbent assistants have been taken off the school’s football coaches page***

Offensive coordinator

OFFICIAL HIRE: SCOTTIE MONTGOMERY (ALSO QUARTERBACKS COACH) — JAN. 16

Incumbent: Matt Canada (also quarterbacks coach)

Reported hire who then bolted for Michigan: Josh Gattis — Jan. 10

This saga appears to be complete, and Montgomery brings a strong pedigree to Maryland. He was let go as East Carolina head coach after the Pirates went 9-26 in three seasons, but his assistant coaching track record is a strong one. He’s coached wide receivers both at Duke and with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was successful as Duke’s OC under an offensive-minded head coach in David Cutcliffe.

Gattis had been connected to this position since before Locksley was hired. He was Locksley’s reported first choice throughout the process, and it helped that he was passed over for both the Alabama OC position and the Appalachian State head coaching job. But Michigan swooped in at the last minute. Jim Harbaugh called Gattis at 10 a.m. on Jan. 10 and he was the Wolverines’ offensive coordinator that afternoon.

Former USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin long appeared to be Locksley’s second choice, but Montgomery is the man instead.

Updated Jan. 17

Defensive coordinator

REPORTED HIRE: JON HOKE — JAN. 24

Incumbent: Andy Buh

Hoke brings over 35 years of coaching experience at the college and professional levels, but he hasn’t been a sole defensive coordinator since 2001 at Florida under Steve Spurrier. He last coached in college in 2015, as Spurrier’s co-DC and defensive backs coach at South Carolina. Hoke was most recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive backs coach.

According to FootballScoop, Locksley offered this position to Tennessee’s Charles Kelly, but Kelly declined and planned to stay in Knoxville before ending up on Alabama’s staff. Locklsey’s long-reported top choices for the position were also NFL defensive backs coaches—Derrick Ansley of the Raiders and Dennard Wilson of the Jets—but after a lengthy search, it’s apparently Hoke’s job.

Buh, who was never keeping this job, is headed to Rutgers.

Updated Jan. 17

Special teams coordinator

OFFICIAL HIRE: JOHN PAPUCHIS — DEC. 11

Incumbent: Matt Barnes (also linebackers coach)

Papuchis, who served as North Carolina’s defensive coordinator in 2017 and 2018, was previously Nebraska’s special teams coordinator from 2008-11. In 2010, he was named a finalist for FootballScoop’s Special Teams Coordinator of the Year honor. Huskers kicker Alex Henery graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer. Barnes, who added special teams to his Maryland duties in 2018, is heading to Ohio State.

Updated Jan. 24

Quarterbacks

OFFICIAL HIRE: SCOTTIE MONTGOMERY (ALSO OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR) — JAN. 16

Incumbent: Matt Canada (also offensive coordinator)

While initial reports of Montgomery’s hiring did not include quarterback coaching duties, he’s been officially announced with this as part of his title. Montgomery’s positional coaching experience lies almost exclusively at wide receiver, so this is a somewhat surprising move, even though this is where offensive coordinators most frequently double up (both Canada and Walt Bell did so at Maryland). Montgomery will be tasked with helping develop Tyrrell Pigrome, Kasim Hill and company.

Updated Jan. 16

Running backs

OFFICIAL HIRE: ELIJAH BROOKS — DEC. 12

Incumbent: Jafar Williams

Brooks has appeared in rumors for college coaching jobs before, but with Locksley on board, he was comfortable the jump. The 34-year-old Brooks has been DeMatha’s head coach since 2011, winning four WCAC titles. At Maryland, he’ll be reunited with Anthony McFarland and Lorenzo Harrison III in the backfield.

Updated Jan. 17

Wide receivers

REPORTED HIRE: JOKER PHILLIPS — JAN. 21

Incumbent: Chris Beatty (also associate head coach)

Phillips brings over three decades of coaching experience, both in college and the NFL. He comes over from Cincinnati, where he was receivers coach for the last two seasons. Phillips spent 19 total years at Kentucky, his alma mater, across two stints and was the Wildcats’ head coach from 2010-12. It’s unclear if he’ll bring his photoshopped graphics back for recruiting purposes.

Beatty long appeared as likely as any incumbent to stay, but he’s headed to Pitt. Beatty was an original Durkin hire at Maryland, and with him on staff, the Terps were better than ever at recruiting the state of Virginia, particularly in the Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach area traditionally dominated by Virginia Tech.

Updated Jan. 24

Tight ends

OFFICIAL HIRE: MIKE MILLER — JAN. 16

Incumbent: Dave Bucar

Reported hire who, a month later, is now staying at Alabama: Butch Jones — Dec. 10 (departure reported Jan. 16)

Despite this being Maryland’s first reported assistant coach hire of the cycle, Locksley said himself at an Orange Bowl press conference that Jones hadn’t officially signed a contract to join the Maryland staff. And now, with Alabama losing almost its entire offensive staff, Nick Saban is keeping Jones on board.

Instead, Locksley is bringing in Miller, who was a graduate assistant at Alabama the last two seasons. Miller, a former UAB quarterback, started his coaching career at Clemson as a student assistant after UAB’s program was (briefly) shut down. This will be his first on-field position.

Updated Jan. 17

Offensive line

OFFICIAL HIRE: JOHN REAGAN — JAN. 16

Incumbent: Bryan Stinespring

Reagan, who was Penn’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in 2018, is officially on board and has already been spotted on the recruiting trail with Montgomery already. He, like Phillips and Hoke, decades of coaching experience to the Terps, with most of it coming on the offensive line.

Stinespring and Beatty appeared to be the last two potential retainees from Durkin’s staff, but it looks right now like neither is returning. There were rumors that Maryland could poach Greg Studrawa from the same position at Ohio State—he held it at Maryland previously—but those died down before Reagan emerged as the frontrunner.

Updated Jan. 17

Defensive line

REPORTED HIRE: DELBERT COWSETTE — JAN. 29

Incumbent: Jimmy Brumbaugh (also co-defensive coordinator)

Cowsette played at Maryland from 1996-99 and had a brief professional career in the NFL and Arena League. He was most recently in the same position at Albany, which struggled in 2018 but was strong defensively earlier in his tenure. Now he’s reunited with Locksley, who was on Maryland’s staff during Cowsette’s college career. Brumbaugh is off to Colorado.

Updated Feb. 3

Linebackers

REPORTED HIRE: BRIAN WILLIAMS — FEB. 3

Incumbent: Matt Barnes (also special teams coordinator)

Only announced as special teams coordinator: John Papuchis — Dec. 11

This was the final spot filled, but it seems to be a strong hire. Williams comes from UAB, where the Blazers returned from a program shutdown to win Conference USA. His two seasons in Birmingham are his only on-field coaching stint, but he’s held off-field roles at Georgia and Florida State in recent years.

Initial reports of Papuchis’ hiring indicated that he’d serve in this role in addition to his special teams duties. He held this position at North Carolina before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017. Instead, it looks like he’ll be focusing solely on special teams.

Updated Feb. 3

Defensive backs

OFFICIAL HIRE: CORY ROBINSON — DEC. 11

Incumbent: Azaar Abdul-Rahim

Abdul-Rahim has been hired by Walt Bell as UMass’ defensive coordinator. The D.C. native was Maryland’s top recruiting assistant since he joined the staff, but it’s probable that Locksley, whose recruiting chops in the DMV exceed even Abdul-Rahim’s, preferred Robinson for his Baltimore connections. Before joining the college ranks, Robinson co-founded the Charm City-based Next Level Nation academy. With St. Frances Academy and other area high schools continuing to produce blue-chip talent, Robinson could be a huge boost to the Terps’ Baltimore presence.

Updated Jan. 17

So in simple list view, here are the 10 assistants.

* Not officially announced

OC/QBs: Scottie Montgomery
RBs: Elijah Brooks
WRs: Joker Phillips*
TEs: Mike Miller
OL: John Reagan

DC: Jon Hoke*
DL: Delbert Cowsette*
LBs: Brian Williams*
DBs: Cory Robinson

STC: John Papuchis