Following the comings and goings of UVA’s assistant coaches
The 2021 season officially came to an end for the Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday, December 26, with the announcement that UVA would not be able to participate in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl. The end of the season also meant the end of Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure as head coach and the transition to the Tony Elliott era.
A change in head coach also means lots of changes in assistants. Below is a list—which we’ll update regularly—with the latest news on where former staff is going, and who may be coming to Charlottesville as new staff.
The new staff entered the new year with Falcons’ running backs coach Des Kitchings joining Elliott’s staff as offensive coordinator. Kitchings’ previous college experience includes stints as co-offensive coordinator at both Vanderbilt and NC State—where he also coached running backs—and as running backs coach at South Carolina. He is known as an extremely strong recruiter, having landed a number of NC State’s top recruits (mostly in-state prospects) during his time in Raleigh.
Both Hagans and Tujague were retained from the Mendenhall staff and have been officially announced by the athletics department. Their roles may shift under Elliott as he rounds out other staff choices.
John Brice of Football Scoop reported Wednesday afternoon that Lamb would join Elliott’s staff as quarterbacks coach; Pete Thamel confirmed as well. Most UVA fans know Gardner-Webb as the basketball team’s first round opponent en route to the 2019 NCAA Tournament title, but Lamb’s offense put up better than 30 points a game in 2021 for the gridiron Bulldogs.
Elliott rounded out his service academy trifecta by pulling Air Force’s defensive coordinator to Charlottesville, in a move announced officially by the University on Thursday. Rudzinski—an Air Force Academy graduate—has been in Colorado Springs his entire 14-year coaching career. His defense has been among the nation’s best in total yardage each of the past three seasons, and Rudzinski was the Falcons’ recruiting coordinator as well.
UVA Officially announced the hiring of Downing to coach the Defensive Line/Ends on Monday (1/5) afternoon. Downing has spent the last four years at Navy coaching the Defensive Ends and “Raider” position — a specialty position in Navy’s defense similar to a Jumbo OLB — and is a 2004 graduate of North Carolina Central University.
Originally reported by Pete Thamel of Yahoo, the University officially announced Slade’s hiring on Thursday. Slade needs no introduction to the UVA faithful: a star at Tabb in Newport News, Slade garnered consensus All-American honors in 1991 and 1992 as the quarterback-destroying nightmare machine for the early 1990s Cavaliers. Still the holder of the ACC career sack record, Slade was a second-round draft pick of the New England Patriots and played 9 seasons in the NFL. He coached Pace Academy—just outside Atlanta—for nine seasons including a 2015 state championship.
Also announced Thursday, Gaither comes to Charlottesville from Army where he returned after a season as the wide receivers coach at Western Michigan and two seasons as pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach at East Carolina. Gaither started his college coaching career as a defensive backs coach at Winston-Salem State; Elliott’s announcement confirmed Gaither would move to the defensive side of the ball but did not specify a position group.
Sintim was also announced as a retained staff member. Pete Thamel reported that Sintim would move to coaching linebackers with the addition of Downing (and Slade?) to coach defensive line.
After amending his Twitter header Friday evening, Cox made things more official with a tweet Saturday afternoon:
The BOLT family is nothing short of amazing! I will miss the players and relationships most! I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to come back home to Virginia! Ready to get to work, impacting the lives of young men! Look forward to meeting Wahoo Nation! ⚔️ #GoHoos
Cox coached the last two seasons at Air Force. He played defensive back at Maryland before an NFL career that saw him stand out as a special teams contributor, including being a finalist for 2006 AFC Special Teams Player of the Year.
The assistant strength-and-conditioning coach for Clemson’s football team—and the “get back” coach for longtime Clemson defensive coordinator Venables—has officially been announced as one of Elliott’s first hires.
Part of the UVA strength-and-conditioning team since 2016, assistant strength and conditioning coach Nate Pototschnick was retained along with the position coaches above and promoted to associate strength and conditioning coach.
The football program’s Twitter account announced Speros’ hiring as director of scouting.
Morris was the Assistant Director of Recruiting and Freshman Transition for the Tigers before being announced as Elliott’s director of recruiting in Charlottesville.
According to FOX’s Bruce Feldman, Howell will join Clark Lea’s staff at Vanderbilt in a return to coaching defensive backs under defensive coordinator Jesse Minter:
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae had reportedly left the UVA team before Christmas, with quarterbacks coach Jason Beck staying to call plays for the bowl game. Dino Babers and Syracuse officially announced the hires of Anae as OC and Beck as QBs coach on Dec. 30th.
Brumfield had been one of the Hoos’ strongest recruiters, especially building a pipeline to Charlottesville of players from Louisiana. The move was reported by 247 Sports.
The energetic running backs coach is reportedly off to join the Cougars, according to Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.
Joe Hoyt of the Dallas Morning News reported the strength coach would be joining the Mustangs.
The former UVA outside linebackers coach joins the Broncos, according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.