Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof has been hired by N.C. State as a co-defensive coordinator for the Wolfpack. Roof, whose job security at Tech had been in question since the end of the season, will begin in his new position in January, according to a news release from N.C. State sent out Friday.
Roof was hired by Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren to be the team’s 10th assistant coach. Beginning in January, NCAA rules will permit FBS staffs to expand to 10 assistants. Roof will also be given the title of associate head coach and will work with N.C. State’s nickel backs and safeties along with assistant Aaron Henry. N.C. State’s defensive coordinator is Dave Huxtable.
"I’m looking forward to joining the N.C. State staff and coaching for one of the most passionate fan bases in the country," Roof said in a statment. "I have tremendous respect for Dave Doeren and the strong staff he has assembled and am excited about working with a great coach like Dave Huxtable. I can't wait to get there and get started."
Roof’s hire at N.C. State eliminates the possibility of coach Paul Johnson being in the uncomfortable position to fire a member of the Tech hall of fame, with the oversight of athletic director Todd Stansbury, a former Tech teammate of Roof’s. Such a decision would also have been a financial hit on an athletic department that fights to break even annually. After receiving an extension earlier this year, Roof had two years remaining on his contract and would have been owed the full remaining value of $1.6 million had he been dismissed.
“I’d like to thank Ted for all that he has done for Georgia Tech and our football program,” Johnson said in a statement. “I wish him and Pam nothing but the very best. I hope to fill our defensive coordinator position soon.”
Roof’s departure completes a five-year term at his alma mater, where he starred as a linebacker 1982-85 and previously served as defensive coordinator 1999-2001. His unit had its successes, such as its 29 takeaways in the 2014 season, its top-15 finish this season in defensive third-down efficiency and the development of defensive tackle Adam Gotsis into a second-round draft pick. In league play this season, the Jackets were third in total defense (sixth in yards per play).
However, Tech’s defenses came up short in other ways. The Yellow Jackets were consistently at or near the bottom nationally in tackles for loss. Tackling was sometimes a problem. Tech particularly had difficulties this season stopping opponents on the final drives of the first and second halves, lapses that proved costly in losses to Tennessee, Miami and Virginia.
Going into his 11th season, Johnson now will be hiring his fourth defensive coordinator, following Dave Wommack, Al Groh and Roof. It would be difficult to categorize any of the three as on-field successes. By the measurement of the website Football Outsiders, Tech has never finished better than 62nd nationally in defensive efficiency in Johnson’s tenure.
On his staff, safeties coach Andy McCollum has the most experience and served as defensive coordinator at Baylor in 1995-96, as well as a seven-year term as head coach at Middle Tennessee State. Another possible candidate is FSU Florida State defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, who coached at Tech 2006-12 and was an effective recruiter before leaving for FSU. He has served as defensive coordinator for the past four seasons. After Jimbo Fisher’s departure for Texas A&M, Kelly is still on the FSU staff, but new coach Willie Taggart may hire his own defensive coordinator. Kelly reportedly interviewed with Colorado State for its coordinator opening earlier this month.
It’s possible that Roof’s son T.D., a linebacker who just completed his freshman season at Tech, will follow his father to Raleigh, N.C. The ACC previously had a rule that penalized a transfer to a school within the conference – on top of sitting out a year, scholarship athletes had to pay their own way for that year and also lose a year of eligibility – but it is no longer in place. T.D. Roof could sit out a year at N.C. State and have three years of eligibility remaining.
In Raleigh, Roof will also be closer to his other son, T.D.’s twin brother Mic, who just finished his freshman season as a quarterback at Charlotte.
Barring a meeting in the ACC championship game, Georgia Tech plays N.C. State next in 2019, at Bobby Dodd Stadium.