KU tabs Grimes as new offensive coordinator

photo by: AP Photo/Dave Martin

Jeff Grimes is pictured during his tenure at Auburn on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011. Grimes, who most recently served as the offensive coordinator at Baylor, is expected to fill the same role for Kansas.

Updated 4:25 p.m. Dec. 7:

Former Baylor and BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes will assume the role of assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for the Kansas football team, KU Athletics officially announced Thursday afternoon.

Grimes replaces Andy Kotelnicki, who left for the offensive coordinator job at Penn State last week after three seasons at KU. Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger was first to report Grimes’ hiring Thursday morning.

“Jeff is a coach with a lot of experience and is a great relationship-builder, football mind and a high-quality person,” head coach Lance Leipold said in a press release. “He will be a great fit with our staff and offensive philosophy and is an exciting addition.”

After Baylor finished 3-9 with the nation’s No. 70 total offense and No. 95 scoring offense, Grimes was fired on Nov. 26. He had experienced plenty of success in previous years, however, including a 2021 season in which he directed one of the nation’s top rushing offenses, oversaw a conference championship and received a nomination for the Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

“I’ve admired Kansas football over these last few years and it has been impossible to ignore the momentum behind the program,” Grimes said in the release. “That momentum doesn’t happen without strong alignment among tremendous people committed to a common goal. I get fired up just thinking about the opportunity to coach these talented players and I can’t wait to get started. Rock Chalk!”

Grimes calls his scheme a “Reliable Violent Offense,” or “RVO,” and told Dave Campbell’s Texas Football in 2021, “We’re an attacking, multiple formation offense that runs a few plays a lot of ways with as much misdirection as anyone in the country.”

If that description is any indication, he shouldn’t be too dramatic of a departure from Kotelnicki, who is noted nationwide for the array of motions and wide-ranging alignments he throws at opposing defenses. Grimes also coached tight ends at Baylor, the same position group as Kotelnicki, so slots into Leipold’s staff well in that respect.

Grimes previously served as the offensive coordinator at BYU for three years beginning in 2018, a tenure in which he coached Zach Wilson to the memorable 2020 season that made him a top pick in the NFL Draft (one of three draft picks from that potent offense, along with lineman Brady Christensen and receiver Dax Milne).

That was his first coordinator job after 23 previous seasons of coaching in the college ranks, primarily as an offensive line coach at schools such as Boise State, Arizona State, BYU (in his first stint), Colorado, Auburn, Virginia Tech and LSU. The Deseret News had previously reported on Monday that Grimes might be a candidate for an assistant role on BYU’s staff next season. Multiple outlets had also considered Grimes a candidate to become head coach at UTEP, where he played college football.

Instead, he will now become a rare new addition to Leipold’s staff, which has typically been marked by continuity and did not lose a single position coach from 2021 to 2022.

Jim Zebrowski, the KU quarterbacks coach who was recently elevated to co-offensive coordinator, would seem the likely play-caller for the Jayhawks in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Dec. 26. Leipold had previously declined to comment on the offensive coordinator job during a press conference related to the bowl game on Sunday.


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