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Jun 23, 2017
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  Coaching Changes

Itís been less than a month into Auburnís football offseason, but the Tigers have had a number of new coaching hires, including new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.

Announcement of Steeleís hire came immediately after Auburnís 31-10 victory against Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl. Since, Wesley McGriff was hired as the secondary coach, Travis Williams has been hired to coach linebackers and Herb Hand has been hired to coach the offensive line.

Of the four hires, thereís no question the most popular was of Williams. The former Auburn linebacker (2001-05) was hired Jan. 7, the same day as McGriff. During his playing days, Williams won All-SEC honors and led the team in tackles in 2004 and finished second in tackles in 2005. He won the Pat Dye Leadership Award both years.

Williams returned to The Plains in 2009 as a graduate assistant and remained through part of the 2010 national championship season. He then rejoined the staff in 2014 as a defensive analyst.

The hire of McGriff also sent a shock amongst Auburn fans.

McGriff has spent the last three seasons as the New Orleans Saints secondary coach. His title with Auburn also includes co-defensive coordinator.

Despite the tag with the Saints, McGriff has also coached at Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Baylor and Miami. He was the co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Ole Miss in 2012 and defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt in 2011.

McGriffís hire was the first after Steele, who spent the 2015 season at LSU. His previous stops include Alabama, Tennessee, Clemson and in the NFL.

Most recently, Steeleís defense at LSU held Texas Techís wide-open offense to 19 points and 189 yards, despite the Red Raiders averaging 46.5 points and 588.1 yards per game. Steele has worked under head coaches with a plethora of success, including Nick Saban (Alabama), Les Miles (LSU), Bobby Bowden (Florida State) and Tom Osborne (Nebraska).

The lone coaching change on the offensive side of the ball came with Handís hire, which came Jan. 11. Hand joins Auburn from Penn State.

Handís addition to the staff rejoins him with Gus Malzahn for the first time since the two were co-offensive coordinators at Tulsa in 2007-08, when they led the nation in offense both years.

Malzahn called plays at Tulsa and Hand coached the line.

The four new hires come a season after Auburn struggled at times on both sides of the ball ó sometimes at the same time ó which has many fans wondering if a head coaching change is coming. Thereís no confirmation Malzahnís job is in any jeopardy.

Auburnís A-Day game is April 9 and the Tigers open the 2016 season against Clemson on Sept. 3.

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