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Brent Key Named Georgia Tech Footballs 21st Head Coach Football Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

 


THE FLATS Brent Keya Georgia Tech alumnus and football letters winner, has been officially named the 21st head coach in the history of Tech football, president of the institute Dr. AS Angel Cabrera and athletic director J Batt announced Tuesday.

Key takes over the reins of the program after leading the Yellow Jackets to a 4-4 record in the last eight games of the 2022 season as interim head coach. The four wins include two victories over nationally ranked opponents, a 26-21 victory over No. 24 Pitt in his first game at the helm on October 1 and a 21–17 victory over No. 11 North Carolina on November 19. Jackets overcame a plethora of injuries, including top two quarterbacks, to finish 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference game after a 1-3 (0-1 ACC) start. Overall and conference win totals were Tech’s highest since 2018, as well as fourth in the ACC Coastal Division standings (the Jackets defeated all three teams that finished ahead of them in the division standings North Carolina, Pitt and Duke ).

VIDEO: J Batt introduces Brent Key as Georgia Tech Football’s 21st head coach

I am very excited that Brent Key will be our next football coach, said Cabrera. As an alum, he understands and cares deeply about this place and our extraordinary student-athletes. Not only is he incredibly competitive, but he will do everything he can to ensure that students grow as athletes, professionals and human beings. I would also like to thank AD J Batt for his dedication to our program and all the time and care he has invested over the past few weeks to evaluate our program, conduct a thorough national search and ensure we have found the right football head coach.

I am honored to officially name Brent Key the 21st head coach in Georgia Tech football history, Batt said. Since arriving on campus earlier this fall, I have observed firsthand Coach Keys’ leadership, passion, energy, and genuine concern for our student-athletes, our football program, and the institution, as well as how his players and staff responded to his leadership and the genuine concern they have for him. There was strong interest from across the country in becoming the next head coach at Georgia Tech, and we conducted an extensive national search. At the beginning and end of the search, it was clear that the best choice for Georgia Tech is Brent Key. Please join in congratulating Coach Key, his wife, Danielle, and his daughter, Harper.

Key, who graduated from Georgia Tech (management) in 2001, is the fifth Tech alumnus to serve as Yellow Jackets head coach, joining William Alexander (graduated 1912; head coach 1920-44), Bill Fulcher (1956; 1972-73) , Pepper Rodgers (1955; 1974-79) and Bill Curry (1965; 1980-86). Key played offensive line for the Jackets from 1997-2000.

I am so proud and grateful to be the head coach at my alma mater, Georgia Tech, Key said. I cannot thank President Cabrera, J, and everyone involved in the search enough for trusting me to lead our program. As I’ve said many times over the past two months, I love this team and I couldn’t be happier to be their head coach. We will work incredibly hard to make our fans, alumni and former players very proud of this program. Thank you to everyone who has supported our team over the past two months, and we thank you in advance for your continued support as we begin work towards next season. Go coats!

Prior to being named Georgia Techs interim head coach on September 26 of this season, Key was in his fourth season as Yellow Jackets assistant head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach. In his four seasons at his alma mater, the Georgia Tech-run game produced an all-American, three all-Atlantic coast conference honors and twice finished in the top half of the ACC in a rushing run. Key has also mentored a pair of all-ACC offensive linemen.

Despite battling a spate of injuries on the offensive front throughout the season, 2021 marked the second season in a row where Tech’s rushing attack into the top half of the ACC was under Keys guard, with tackle Devin Cochran honorable deserved mention for all ACC recognition going on to sign with the National Football Leagues Cincinnati Bengals.

In 2020, the Jackets ranked fourth in the ACC in fewest sacks allowed (2.3 per game) and fifth in the league in rushing (190.8 yards per game), all with a true freshman (Jordan Williams) who started 9-of-10 games on right approach.

Despite a host of injuries, the Jackets offensive line improved throughout the 2019 season as it made the monumental transition from an options-based schedule to a professional, staggered offense. During a three-game span at the end of the season, Tech faced teams nationally ranked first (Pitt), fourth (Miami), and eighth (Virginia) in sacks. Tech’s offensive front allowed only five total sacks in those three games, including none against eventual ACC Coastal Division champion Virginia. In total, the Jackets have not submitted a sack in two of their last four games.

Key returned to his alma mater after three seasons as Alabama offensive line coach (2016-18), where he led the Crimson Tide to two Southeastern Conference championships, three College Football Playoff championship games and the 2017 national title.

In each of his three seasons at Alabama, the Keys offensive lines were finalists for the Joe Moore Award, given annually to the best offensive front in the nation, and was the only group in the nation to receive the honor all three seasons . He also coached four All-Americans (including two unanimous picks tackle Cam Robinson in 2016 and tackle Jonah Williams in 2018) and nine all-SEC selections (including seven first-teamers) during his time with the Tide. In addition to being unanimous All-Americans, Robinson won the 2016 Outland Trophy as the nation’s top lineman and Williams was a finalist for the award in 18. They also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (SEC’s top offensive lineman) in 16 and 18, respectively.

Seven linemen Key coached in his three seasons with Alabama went on to be selected in the National Football League Draft Jedrick Wills (No. 10 overall, Cleveland Browns, 2020), Williams (No. 11 overall, Cincinnati Bengals, 2019), Alex Leatherwood (No. 17 overall, Las Vegas Raiders, 2021), Robinson (No. 34 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2017), Ross Pierschbacher (fifth round, Washington Redskins, 2019), Bradley Bozeman (sixth round, Baltimore Ravens, 2018) and Deonte Brown (sixth round, Carolina Panthers, 2021).

Key was also praised for his work on the Alabama recruiting trail. He was named as the number 2 recruiter in the country by 247Sports for his work in bringing in the Crimson Tides 2019 class and the number 1 recruiter in the nation for his efforts with the 2020 class.

Prior to his three-year stint at Alabama, Key spent 11 seasons at UCF (2005-15). He started at UCF as a graduate assistant and worked his way up to assistant head coach (2012-2015) and offensive coordinator (2014-15). He also coached tight ends for three seasons (2006–08), offensive line for six seasons (2009–14), running backs for one season (2015), was special teams coordinator for one season (2008), and recruiting coordinator for six seasons. (2007, 2010-14) with the Knights. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Key was nominated for the Broyles Award, given to the best assistant coach in college football.

During Keys 11 seasons with UCF, the Knights won four conference championships (2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014), culminating in a 12-1 campaign in 2013, culminating in a 52-42 win over No. 6 Baylor. The Knights defeated two top-10 teams in 13 (Baylor and No. 8 Louisville) and the Keys offensive front, which did not allow a sack against Penn State, Louisville, UConn or Baylor, helped pave the way for UCF to average 441.5 yards and 34.6 points per game, both among the highest in program history. His offensive line also provided protection for American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year Blake Bortles.

In his six seasons as UCF’s offensive line coach, eight different linemen earned all-conference recognition a total of 16 times and four went on to play in the NFL, including 2011 third-round pick Jah Reid. He also coached an NFL draft pick to the narrow ending in Mike Merritt (2008).

During his time at UCF, Key coached under his Georgia Tech student-athlete head coach, George OLeary.

Key got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech in 2001-2002 and served as tight ends and running backs coach at Western Carolina in 2004.

Key was a four-year starter in his four seasons as a student-athlete at Georgia Tech (1997-2000). While making 44 consecutive starts at right guard, Key was part of a senior league that led Georgia Tech to four straight bowl appearances for the first time since 1953-56. As a sophomore in 1998, he helped lead Tech to a 10–2 record and a share of the ACC Championship. During his junior campaign in 1999, the Jackets ranked No. 1 nationally in total offense (509.0 ypg). He was voted team captain in 2000 and all-ACC as a senior. All in all, he was a key player in an offensive front that helped the Yellow Jackets rush the ACC three times.

A Clay, Ala native Key, 44, was an all-state performer at Hewitt-Trussville HS. He and his wife, Danielle, have a daughter, Harper.

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT BRENT KEY
I watched really closely this season when Brent took over and saw that things were going in the right direction. It was clear that the team reacted to the changes he made and played hard for him. Congratulations to Brent, I know he is doing an excellent job. President Cabrera and J made a great decision and I look forward to Brent’s success at Georgia Tech.
Former Georgia Tech and UCF head coach George OLeary

Brent has done a great job for us in Alabama and has been fantastic as interim head coach for Georgia Tech this year. I know he is excited to lead his alma mater, and he will do a great job as Yellow Jackets head coach. Brent is a very passionate coach who works tirelessly at his craft. His players love playing for him and he does a great job of putting them in situations where they can be successful. Brent has an amazing family and we are so happy for him to have this opportunity at Georgia Tech
Alabama head coach Nick Saban

Competitive Stimulation Initiative

In a united effort, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Tech Foundation, Georgia Tech athletics and the Alexander-Tharpe Fund have come together to accelerate student-athlete scholarship funding with the launch of the Competitive Drive Initiative. The initiative kicks off with the Accelerate GT Match program, where each new gift to the AT Funds Athletic Scholarship Fund made through December 31 will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Georgia Tech Foundation, up to $2.5 million . Should Accelerate GT meet its fundraising goal of $2.5 million, the matching gift would result in a $5 million impact for Georgia Tech athletics. For more information and to contribute online, visit opfund.org/accelerate.

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