Todd Grantham is one of the best defensive minds in college football. That fact is indisputable. So is the fact that Grantham hasn’t stayed in one place very long during his career.
Grantham has been a coach at the college or professional level for 28 years. He’s spent those 28 years with 10 different teams — six universities and four NFL franchises. It’s not that Grantham isn’t loyal but it’s the nature of the coaching profession. Coaches pick up and move all the time. They retire, head coaches are fired and new head coaches bring in their own guys, better opportunities present themselves and coaches leave. It’s just part of doing business.
“You’re always concerned when you have good coaches. I think Todd’s one of the best defensive coaches in America. A lot of people want him,” Dan Mullen said Tuesday afternoon. “I think a lot of our coaches people are coming after because, one, we have a good coaching staff. Two, we run a good program and I think a lot of people are interested in how we run the program or to get somebody from a program that has been as successful as ours has. There’s always that concern.”
Big business came calling this offseason, shortly after Florida’s bowl win over Michigan the rumblings started. Grantham last coached in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008-09. He had spent the last decade in the NFL before going to Georgia, Louisville and then uniting with Mullen in Mississippi State for a season prior to Florida. So when the Cincinnati Bengals called and asked to interview there seemed to be a real possibility that Grantham could chose to head back to the NFL.
That’s a part of it. One Andre Debose and the six different receiver coaches he had in six seasons in Gainesville knows all too well. One of Florida’s veteran defensive linemen knows it well also.
“You can’t worry over stuff like that. Coaching changes happen all the time. You get to the point now where I’m used to it,” Antonneous Clayton said. “I’ve had Coach (Chris) Rumph, Sal (Sunseri), (Todd) Grantham, Terrell (Williams) (David) Turner, I mean it’s not really anything new to me.”
Clayton has his hands full with an eight month old baby at home and he’s been through this before. He, like the rest of the team, saw the news on Twitter but he says he didn’t follow up on it minute-to-minute like most fans did. Not many players did, actually, for their own reasons. Adam Shuler says he never worried that Grantham would leave. He saw the news but dismissed it believing his coach would be back.
“Its’ the NFL but we have a chance to do something special here,” Shuler said. “I wasn’t really watching it that close. I seen it here and there but I thought that he was going to come back regardless, which he did.”
Grantham ultimately did decide to come back to Gainesville and he’s being handsomely compensated for staying with the Gators. Grantham signed a contract extension that will bump his salary up to $1.8 million annually.
“I think we try to make this a great place to work, have a great quality of life and you’re at one of the premier schools in America to coach at,” Mullen said of his program. “There’s a lot of draws for guys to want to stay here.”