FILE – Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning warms up before an NCAA G-Day spring game in Athens, Ga. On April 20, 2019. Oregon has hired Georgia’s defensive coordinator, Dan Lanning, as the next head coach, a person involved in the negotiations told The Associated Press on Saturday, December 11, 2021. (Joshua L. Jones / Athens Banner-Herald via AP, File)
Oregon hired Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning as head coach on Saturday, completing the search for Mario Cristobal’s replacement which took less than a week.
Cristobal was hired outside of Oregon by Miami on Monday. Five days later, the Ducks landed on Lanning, 35, who will be head coach for the first time after spending the past four years in Georgia, the previous three leading one of the best defenses in the country.
“We are set for success and I look forward to building on the solid foundation that currently exists at Eugene,” Lanning said in a statement. “Our goal is to win championships and develop our players on and off the pitch. “
Georgia’s No.3 (12-1) have the best defense in the country this season and will face No.2 Michigan in the college football playoffs at the Orange Bowl on December 31.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement that Lanning will stay with the team during their playoff run. Linebackers coach Glenn Schumann and special teams coordinator Will Muschamp will be Georgia’s defensive co-coordinators following Lanning’s departure.
“We are so happy for Dan and his family,” said Smart. “He and (his wife) Sauphia have been an important part of our Bulldog family for the past four years, and we thank them for all they have done for Georgia Football and the Athens community.
“Opportunities like this are a testament to a successful program. “
Cristobal returned to his alma mater and hometown after four full seasons at Eugene as a head coach. The Ducks have gone 35-13 under Cristobal, reaching the Pac-12 title game each of the past three seasons.
The Oregon No.15 (10-3) lost the Pac-12 title game to Utah last week and will face the Oklahoma No.14 at the Alamo Bowl on December 29.
Lanning will be the Ducks’ third head coach since Willie Taggart took the job after the 2016 season, and the fourth since Chip Kelly left for the NFL after the 2012 season.
Taggart replaced Mark Helfrich, but only lasted one season at Eugene before returning to his home state to coach Florida State.
Cristobal was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach to replace Taggart.
Now Oregon is stepping out of the program again, expanding across the country to hire a defensive coordinator as a head coach after decades of being led by coaches with offensive backgrounds, starting with Mike Bellotti in the 1990s to Chip Kelly in the 2000s.
“Dan is an exceptional and energetic football coach who will provide a world class experience for our football student-athletes,” said Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens. “He is a great recruiter and talent developer, and we will continue to compete for the Championships while providing an environment where our football student-athletes can develop to their full potential in the classroom, on the football field and as individuals. . “
Lanning is a Missouri native who played football at Division II William Jewell in Liberty.
He began his coaching career at a high school outside of Kansas City before moving from Pittsburgh to Arizona State as a graduate assistant. His first full-time job in Division I was with Arizona State and he spent a year with FCS Sam Houston State in 2014.
He made a stint as a graduate assistant in Alabama in 2015, then his career took off. He was hired by Memphis as a linebacker coach in 2016, and Smart brought him to Georgia in 2018.
He was promoted to defensive coordinator at Georgia in 2019. The Bulldogs have placed in the top 10 in yards per play allowed in each of the past three seasons.
More AP College Football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Sign up for the AP College Football newsletter: https: // apnews.com/cfbtop25