Jan. 9, 2013
THE FLATS – Ted Roof, defensive coordinator at Penn State in 2012 and at Auburn when the Tigers won a BCS national championship following the 2010 season, will return to Georgia Tech to serve as defensive coordinator for his alma mater.
Roof’s hiring cannot become official until the Institute has completed a background check, which likely will not occur until next week.
“I’ve known Ted for a long time and I’m excited that he has decided to come back to Georgia Tech,” head coach Paul Johnson said. “He’s one of the most respected football coaches in the nation.”
Roof has strong ties to Georgia Tech. He was a four-year letterwinner as a linebacker under head coach Bill Curry from 1982-85. As a senior, Roof was co-captain and a first team All-ACC selection on a team that finished 9-2-1 and defeated Michigan State in the All-American Bowl. Roof is in the Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame.
Roof returned to Georgia Tech in 1998 to serve as linebackers coach under head coach George O’Leary. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1999 and held that position for three years. The Yellow Jackets shared an ACC title in ’98 and played in a bowl game all four years during Roof’s tenure.
A native of Lawrenceville (Ga.), Roof attended Central Gwinnett High School.
This past season, Roof served as defensive coordinator under another former Georgia Tech assistant coach, Bill O’Brien. The Nittany Lions exceeded all expectations by posting an 8-4 record. Roof’s defense ranked second in the Big Ten Conference in scoring defense (19.1 ppg), first in sacks (34), first in red-zone defense and third in turnover margin.
Nationally, Penn State ranked tied for first in red-zone defense, 15th in sacks, 16th in scoring defense, 23rd in rushing defense, 28th in pass efficiency defense and 29th in total defense.
Two of the Big Ten’s top six tacklers were Nittany Lions – Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti. Hodges was named first team all-conference and Mauti was named the Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year.
In 2010 at Auburn, Roof’s defense ranked ninth nationally in rushing defense and 16th in tackles for loss. In the BCS Championship game, the Tigers (14-0) held Oregon to 19 points – 28 points below the Ducks’ season average.
Prior to coaching at Auburn, Roof spent the 2008 season as defensive coordinator at Minnesota. In just one season under Roof, the Gophers made significant improvements on defense, allowing 160 fewer passing yards and 135 fewer total yards per game compared to the previous season. Minnesota improved from 1-11 to 7-6 in 2008, capped by an appearance in the Insight Bowl.
From 2004 to 2007, Roof served as head coach at Duke after working as the Blue Devils’ defensive coordinator in 2002 and 2003. He was promoted to interim head coach midway through the 2003 season after head coach Carl Franks was fired.
In 2001, the year before Roof arrived in Durham, Duke ranked 113th nationally (out of 115) in rushing defense. In Roof’s first season at Duke in 2002, the Blue Devils ranked first in the ACC in that category.
Roof’s coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Alabama in 1987 and 1988. After one year as linebackers coach at West Georgia, he moved to Duke to coach linebackers from 1990 to 1993. Other coaching stops included 1994-96 (linebackers) at Massachusetts and 1997 (defensive coordinator) at Western Carolina before returning to Tech in 1998.
Roof will inherit a Georgia Tech defense that returns eight starters from a unit that struggled early in 2012 before making great strides the second half of the season. The Yellow Jackets closed the season by shutting out Florida State in the second half of the ACC Championship game and holding Southern California to just seven points in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.