Eddie Gran returning to Kentucky football as a ‘special assistant’ to Mark Stoops

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The decision to fire Eddie Gran was a hard one for Mark Stoops to make last December. So when the opportunity presented itself to bring the former offensive coordinator back into the Kentucky football program, it stands to reason it was an easy call to make.

UK on Friday announced the addition of Gran to the football program’s staff as a “special assistant to the head coach.” Gran, who spent the last five seasons leading the Wildcats’ offense, won’t have on-field coaching responsibilities in his new role.

“Why would I come back? It’s simple. I love Kentucky,” Gran, 56, said in a news release. “I love working with Coach Stoops and I want to be a positive role model in these young men’s lives. I am excited to have the opportunity to return to this program and help any way I can. This place is special and it’s where I want to work and finish out my career.”

Stoops hired Gran, along with former quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw, away from Cincinnati ahead of the 2016 season, which would be the first of Stoops’ tenure in which UK qualified for a bowl trip. Kentucky won its third straight bowl last season, in its fifth straight appearance, but Gran and Hinshaw were relieved of their duties ahead of that game. Liam Coen was hired as UK’s offensive coordinator in mid-December but Vince Marrow coordinated the offense in the Wildcats’ most recent bowl.

Based on his previous contract, Gran was owed $2.35 million through June 2022 unless he found a coaching position elsewhere. In a February interview with the Herald-Leader, Gran expressed a desire to continue coaching but acknowledged difficulty in finding a job.

“You really find out who your friends are in this profession when you can get a call back, and, when you don’t get calls back,” Gran said then. “I’ve got my core guys and we keep in touch. So that’s kind of how it happens. It’s really who you know, and you get lucky and somebody gets a job. And, gosh, if you don’t know him, you’re really almost crud out of luck. But if there’s a relationship there, then you have a chance.”

Gran’s offenses at Kentucky produced some of the best rushing performances in school history — the Wildcats in back-to-back games in 2019 broke the single-game rushing record, and set a season record for rushing (3,624 yards) and rushing touchdowns (36) that same year — but yielded diminishing returns in the passing game, finishing at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference in each of his final three seasons. He and Stoops, who first crossed paths a decade ago when the two were both first-time coordinators on Florida State’s staff, have both described his departure from the program as a mutual decision.

“I’m grateful to have somebody with the experience of Eddie Gran rejoining our program in a different capacity,” Stoops said in the news release. “Eddie has a wealth of experience in many different areas. He will be an asset to me and our program.”

Hinshaw, who was owed $750,000 through June 2022 at the time of his firing, is now a quality control assistant at Central Florida.

The John Clay Podcast: Josh Moore talks with Eddie Gran

Kentucky football predictions: Cats will create, avoid turnovers against Chattanooga

The John Clay Podcast: Kentucky-Chattanooga football preview

Mark Stoops weighs in on discussion of Kentucky as one of college football’s top jobs

How Kentucky and Chattanooga match up — with a game prediction

Besides a win, what can Kentucky gain from a game against FCS opponent Chattanooga?

Warning: You won’t find Saturday’s Kentucky-Chattanooga football game on TV

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting