First-year head coach James Franklin's initial coaching staff at Vanderbilt appears to be near its competition. The Commodore head man announced the offensive staff two weeks ago and now looks to be on the verge of announcing the defensive staff with the recent hires of co-defensive coordinators Brent Pry and Bob Shoop.
Pry, 40, just completed his first year as the defensive coordinator at Georgia Southern University. Shoop, 44, just completed his fourth season as the defensive coordinator at William and Mary. Pry is expected to also coach linebackers while Shoop is expected to coach safeties.
Franklin is also believed to have secured the services of Vanderbilt defensive line coach Rick Logo and former University of Miami defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff. Both are expected to have similar titles for the Commodores in 2011. A formal announcement of the four is expected to come soon.
A 17-year coaching veteran, Pry guided the Eagles defense to an impressive turnaround in 2010. Considered undermanned heading into the year, Pry led a group that finished at or near the top in every statistical category in the Southern Conference, ranking first in scoring defense, rush defense, first down defense and red zone defense. The Eagles also finished 11th nationally in total defense, 11th in scoring and 11th in pass defense. The defensive improvements, which included nearly 70 yards less given up than in 2009 and over nine points less on the scoreboard, resulted in the Eagles climbing from 5-6 in 2009 to 10-5 in 2010 and a trip to the FCS National Championship playoff semifinals. For his work, Pry was recognized as a finalist for the footballscoop.com Coordinator of the Year award.
Prior to coming to Georgia Southern, Pry served three seasons under Tommy West at Memphis as a defensive assistant, mentoring the defensive line. The first two years of his tenure, Pry helped the Tigers produce a pair of bowl appearances in 2007 and 2008 and over saw a defensive unit that was considered one of Conference USA's best in 2008. The Tigers finished third in total defense in the league that season.
Pry served as the defensive coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette for five years from 2002-2006, and also mentored the Ragin' Cajun linebackers. During that time Louisiana-Lafayette posted it's first winning season in over a decade in 2005, earning a share of the Sun Belt Championship. The ULL defense led the Cajuns to another six wins in 2006, despite starting off the season at 0-2. The Cajuns ranked 11th in the nation in 2004, the same year that Pry was promoted to assistant head coach to Rickey Bustle. Six ULL players under Pry went on to play in the NFL including Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and Chicago Bears defensive back Charles Tillman.
Pry was an assistant coach at Western Carolina for four years, coaching the defensive line for two seasons (1998-1999) and then the defensive backs and special teams for two (2000-2001). In 1998, the Catamounts finished ninth in FCS in total defense. In 2001, Pry's secondary was ranked third nationally in pass defense, allowing just five touchdown passes while helping WCU to a 7-4 record.
He served as a graduate assistant to the defensive line at Virginia Tech from 1995-1998. While there, the Hokies ranked number one nationally against the run, fifth in scoring defense and 10th in total defense. The squad won two Big East championships and earned bids to the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and Gator Bowl.
Pry got his start in coaching as a defensive assistant at East Strousburg University for two years. It was while there that he first met James Franklin, who was the Warriors standout quarterback at the time.
Pry played under veteran NFL defensive coordinator and former head coach Jim Haslett while at Buffalo University in the early 1990's. The son of veteran college coach Jim Pry, Brent Pry played at Tennessee's Maryville College prior to transferring to Buffalo in 1989.
Shoop, a veteran coach of 21 years, stabilized a William and Mary defense that had seen four different coordinators in the five seasons prior to his arrival in 2007. Shoop steadily built the Tribe defense to one of the best in the competitive Colonial Athletic Association as well as one of the tops in all of FCS football. In 2009, the Tribe ranked second nationally in total defense, second in scoring defense and first in rush defense. Shoop's defense also ranked third in sacks, forced 27 turnovers and ranked third in red zone defense during a season that saw the Tribe post a 11-3 record and advance to the semifinals of the FCS National Championship playoffs before losing to eventual champion Villanova 14-13. The Tribe also beat ACC member Virginia during the season. Shoop was named the footballscoop.com Coordinator of the Year following the 2009 season.
The Tribe continued it's strong defensive performances in 2010, ranking fourth in the CAA in total defense and sixth nationally in scoring. The Tribe also captured a share of the Colonial title and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs before losing to Pry and Georgia Southern. This past season also featured a near win at North Carolina for the Tribe due to Shoop's defense.
Shoop spent the 2006 season at U-Mass as secondary coach under current Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown, helping the Minutemen to a 13-2 record and the FCS national championship game. Three of his U-Mass defensive backs earned all-conference honors as the Minutemen fielded one of the best secondaries in the nation.
A Yale graduate, Shoop served as the head coach at Columbia University from 2003-2005. While Shoop did not enjoy took much success at the Ivy League school, he did mentor over 20 all-league performers during his tenure and led the Lions to a 4-6 campaign in 2003, one of the best in the last two decades for Columbia.
Prior to Columbia, Shoop was a celebrated secondary coach at Boston College for four years. He played a major role in the Eagles' success under Tom O'Brien, including bowl victories in three of his four seasons. Shoop's secondary was a key factor in BC's 9-4 season in 2002, as the Eagles ranked 13th nationally in pass defense and 17th in pass efficiency defense.
He served one year as an assistant under Bob Sutton at Army in 1998, and was the defensive coordinator at Villanova during the Wildcats 12-1, Atlantic 10 championship season in 1997.
Shoop got his first defensive coordinator position at Yale in 1994 and coached the Bulldogs through the 1996 season until his former coach and mentor Carmen Cozza retired. He also coached at Virginia under legendary head coach George Welsh during the Cavs Sugar Bowl season in 1990.
A Pittsburgh native, Shoop's brother John is currently serving as the offensive coordinator at North Carolina and is a former graduate assistant at Vanderbilt under Gerry DiNardo.
Rick Logo has served four years as the defensive line coach at Vanderbilt, helping the Commodores produce respectable results in the competitive SEC as well as three captains at defensive tackle. He has also mentored four players that have gone on to play in the NFL or participate in NFL camps.
In 2007, the Commodore defense ranked 16th nationally in total yardage, 32nd in points per game and 32nd against the run. In 2008, the Commodores Music City Bowl championship year, Vanderbilt's defense ranked 30th in total yardage and 21st in scoring. It was one of only a handful of schools to registered 30 sacks and 20 interceptions that season as well.
Logo came to Nashville after a highly successful run as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Troy University. While with the Trojans, Logo mentored future NFL standouts Demarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora. In 2006, the Trojans captured a Sun Belt title while ranking 15th in most sacks. In 2004 and 2005, the Trojans ranked 16th and 24th nationally in total defense and first in the Sun Belt Conference.
A former third team All-American as a player at North Carolina State, Logo also worked as a defensive assistant at both Western Carolina and the University of Chattanooga prior to Troy.
Wesley McGriff spent four seasons at Miami as the Hurricanes defensive back coach. While there the 43-year old mentored a unit that finished among the tops in the ACC in pass defense and pass efficiency defense. In 2010, the Hurricanes ranked third nationally in pass defense and fifth in pass efficiency behind the play of All-American Brandon Harris. Other standouts such as Sam Shields, Kenny Phillips and Randy Phillips played under McGriff while at Miami.
McGriff was also recognized as a top recruiter while at Miami. In 2010, he pulled in over a handful of recruits for the Hurricane including four-star running backs Storm Johnson and Eduardo Clements. A recruiter in Florida, Texas and Georgia, McGriff also pulled in players like Brandon Harris, Kacy Rodgers, Tyrone Cornelius and Prince Kent.
Prior to coming to Coral Gables, McGriff served as a cornerback coach and recruiting coordinator at Baylor University for four years. McGriff's defensive backs ranked 13th in pass efficiency in 2005 and allowed just 14 touchdown passes, the fewest for the program since 1998. Three of McGriff's defensive backs at Baylor, including current Panther C.J. Wilson, have gone on to play in the NFL.
In his final year with the Bears, McGriff signed over 13 players in Baylor's 2006 class including future standout running back Jay Finley and defensive back Tim Atchison.
McGriff came to Baylor with Guy Morriss from Kentucky in 2003. In two seasons with the Wildcats, McGriff coached the running backs in 2001 and corners in 2002. Kentucky's secondary rose from dead last in the nation pass defense in 2001 to 72nd under McGriff in 2002.
McGriff spent the 2000 campaign as the secondary coach at Eastern Kentucky, where he mentored Yeremiah Bell, a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick and future Pro Bowler for the Miami Dolphins. The 2000 Colonels ranked fourth nationally in total defense, fifth in scoring defense and ninth in passing yardage allowed, while posting four shutouts during the season.
McGriff spent five seasons as a defensive coordinator at Kentucky State. During his time there he was the Division II Assistant Coach of the Year by the AFCA in 1998, and led the nation in total defense in 1995 and in pass defense in 1997.
A former linebacker at Savannah State, McGriff began his coaching career at his alma mater, first starting off as a graduate assistant in 1990 before moving up as a secondary coach and defensive coordinator in 1993 and 1994. He was also the team's interim head coach for three months in spring of 1993.
Vanderbilt is also expected to hire a defensive graduate assistant and defensive quality control coach.
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