clock menu more-arrow no yes

Tracking Maryland football’s assistant coaching hires

New, 105 comments

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

Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

This story was initially published Dec. 12 and has been updated most recently on Jan. 16.

Maryland hired Mike Locksley as its head football coach on Dec. 4, and over a month later, his double duty between this gig and Alabama’s offensive coordinator job is officially over. There’s plenty still on his plate, but putting a staff in place is perhaps the most crucial part of the building process.

As of this update on Jan. 10, Maryland has reportedly made four hires. It has officially announced zero, although three are definitely employed at the university right now. Locksley has been vague when asked about staffing decisions—who he’s retaining, who he’s hiring, etc.—but we should see more momentum on this front soon. As these decisions are made, it’s worth keeping in mind the five characteristics Locksley said 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

Incumbent: Andy Buh

According to FootballScoop, Locksley offered this position to Tennessee’s Charles Kelly, but Kelly declined and will stay in Knoxville. He spent 2018 as the Volunteers’ special teams coordinator and linebackers coach, and was previously the defensive coordinator at Florida State from 2014-17 under Jimbo Fisher. He came to the Seminoles in 2013 and previously served on the Georgia Tech staff.

Until this week, there wasn’t a ton of buzz here, as Locksley’s long-rumored top choices were both NFL assistants in 2018. Jets defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, a Maryland and DeMatha alumnus who’s long been close with Locksley, and Raiders defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley are both considered to be on the rise, but neither would bring the defensive coordinator experience that Kelly would.

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. 17

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

Incumbent: Chris Beatty (also associate head coach)

Beatty long appeared as likely as any incumbent to stay, but it seems he’s on his way out too. No other names have been floated for this spot, and while Montgomery has only been confirmed as offensive coordinator, it’s possible he ends up coaching receivers as well. 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. 16

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 reportedly 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 brings 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

Incumbent: Jimmy Brumbaugh (also co-defensive coordinator)

Brumbaugh is off to Colorado, so this is officially a vacancy, although it’s a position where no frontrunners have emerged. Army’s Chad Wilt was Maryland’s defensive line coach from 2014-15 and has spent the last three seasons at West Point. He helped develop Yannick Ngakoue and Quentin Jefferson while in College Park. No reports have surfaced about Wilt and Locksley getting in contact.

Updated Dec. 27

Linebackers

REPORTED HIRE: JOHN PAPUCHIS (ALSO SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR) — DEC. 11

Incumbent: Matt Barnes (also special teams coordinator)

Initial reports of Papuchis’ hiring indicated that he’d serve in this role in addition to his special teams duties. It’s still possible that happens, but it looks like Locksley is at least leaving the door open for Maryland’s eventual defensive coordinator hire to double as linebackers coach.

Papuchis held this position at North Carolina before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017. He’s also coached defensive linemen and special teams and served as Nebraska’s national recruiting coordinator. While Barnes drew positive reviews at Maryland, his apparent replacement comes in with a much more extensive track record.

Updated Jan. 17

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

Safeties (10th spot)

Incumbent: Chuck Heater

Heater was hired in January as Maryland’s 10th on-field assistant; NCAA rules only allowed nine until 2018. The former Marshall and Temple defensive coordinator originally received some buzz as one of the few assistants Locksley was considering retaining, but that appears unlikely. That means Maryland can go in a lot of different directions with its 10th coach. The option exists to have both the offensive and defensive coordinators be only coordinators, with one assistant at each of the eight position group and Papuchis handling special teams. Some teams devote two coaches to the offensive or defensive lines (e.g. one for offensive tackles, one for interior linemen). This will be interesting to keep an eye on.

Updated Jan. 10