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Former Auburn offensive line coach J.B. Grimes has been hired to return to coach the Tigers' offensive line, announced head coach Gus Malzahn Wednesday. Grimes, who coached at Auburn from 2013-15, helped the Tigers to the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championship and a BCS Championship berth. That season Auburn became the first program in SEC history to lead the nation in rushing. Grimes replaces Herb Hand who resigned to accept another position.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity to get back to the Plains," Grimes said. "I've always loved Auburn and have always loved the people at Auburn. They are my type of people. Auburn people love the game of football and know what it takes to win. I can't wait to get back and work with Coach Malzahn and the rest of the coaches and staff that I know and have worked with before. I hold them dear to my heart. I look forward to getting to work and doing my part to help Auburn win football games."
A coaching veteran of over 30 years, Grimes has coached in 18 bowl games and mentored over 50 players that have played in the National Football League. In his three years at Auburn, the Tigers offense averaged 261.7 yards rushing, 453.3 yards of total offense and 34.2 points per contest.
"It's great to have J.B. Grimes returning to the Auburn family," Malzahn said. "He played a big part in our success in 2013 when we won the SEC Championship and led the nation in rushing. J.B. is a tremendous coach and teacher, is familiar with our players and coaches, and is a great addition to our program."
Grimes spent the 2017 season at UConn where he helped coach an offense that was 50th nationally in total offense, 72 places higher than the previous season. Prior to coming to UConn, Grimes spent the 2016 season at the University of Cincinnati as the offensive line coach for the Bearcats.
The 2015 Auburn line helped the Tigers rank in the top five of the SEC in numerous offensive categories, including fewest sacks and rushing yards per game. Grimes coached Shon Coleman, who was a third-round NFL pick in the 2016 Draft.
In 2014, center Reese Dismukes won the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's top center and a consensus All-American. Braden Smith was a Freshman All-SEC selection that season.
The 2014 offensive line helped the Tigers lead the SEC in third-down conversion percentage (.525) and team passing efficiency (156.79) while the Tigers were second in team rushing (255.5), total offense (485.0) and yards per completion (14.35). Cameron Artis-Payne led the SEC in rushing at 123.7 yards per game and joined Tre Mason, Bo Jackson, Rudi Johnson and Cam Newton as the only rushers in Auburn history to post a 1,400-yard season.
Quarterback Nick Marshall posted a school QB record eight career 100-yard rushing games and finished second in Auburn career QB rushing at 1,863 yards. Nick Marshall was the fifth Auburn quarterback to throw 20 TDs in a season, joining Cam Newton (30/2010), Chris Todd (22/2009), Jason Campbell (20/2004) and Pat Sullivan (20/1971).
In 2013, Auburn had the second biggest turnaround in college football history in NCAA records at +8.0 games. Grimes coached second-team All-America left tackle Greg Robinson and Dismukes who was a Rimington Award finalist. Robinson was the No. 2 pick overall in the 2014 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.
Dismukes and Robinson were both first-team All-SEC selections while left guard Alex Kozan was named to the Coaches All-SEC Freshman team.
The offensive line paved the way for the Tigers to lead the nation in rushing with 328.3 yards per game. Running back Tre Mason was a Heisman Trophy finalist and named the SEC Player of the Year while Nick Marshall was an Associated Press honorable mention All-SEC selection. The line allowed only 1.29 sacks per game to rank 22nd nationally.
Prior to Auburn, Grimes spent the 2012 season at Arkansas State with Malzahn, coaching an offensive line unit that helped set a school record with 481.8 yards of total offense per game while ranking 16th nationally in fewest sacks allowed. Senior offensive lineman Zach McKnight earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors under Grimes' direction as the offense led the Sun Belt in rushing and ranked in the top 25 nationally in total offense, scoring offense and rushing offense.
Prior to his arrival at ASU, Grimes spent two seasons at Kansas (2010-11) and Mississippi State (2004-08) as the offensive line coach. Grimes' coaching career also includes stints at East Carolina, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Louisiana-Monroe and Delta State as an assistant coach over the last three decades.
In his first season at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs rushed for 1,744 yards, the most at the school in four years. Behind his offensive line, MSU produced three seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher. In his one season at East Carolina (2003), the Pirates' offensive line paved the way for its third straight 1,000-yard individual rusher. At Texas A&M (1998-2002), Grimes coached the offensive line under R.C. Slocum as the Aggies posted a 40-22 overall record while playing in four straight bowl games.
While at Virginia Tech (1993-97) coaching for Frank Beamer, Grimes helped the Hokies to back-to-back Big East Championships and five bowl games in five seasons.
Grimes also coached at Arkansas, serving as a graduate assistant in 1981-82 and as a full-time assistant coach in 1989-92, where he helped the Razorbacks to the Southwest Conference championship and a Cotton Bowl appearance in 1990. At Arkansas, Grimes worked for Lou Holtz, Ken Hatfield and Jack Crowe.
Grimes also coached at Louisiana-Monroe (1979-80; 1985-88), Delta State (1983) and Missouri (1984) after spending his first two seasons at the high school level in the state of Arkansas, at Nashville (1977) and Des Arc (1978). Louisiana-Monroe won the 1987 Division I-AA national championship.
As an offensive lineman at Henderson State, he helped his team to a 40-6 record in four seasons, including a berth in the 1974 NAIA Championship game. He earned a bachelor's degree in education from Henderson State in 1977 and a master's degree in education from Louisiana-Monroe in 1981.
Grimes grew up in Clarendon, Arkansas, and is married to the former Jennifer Graves, who received a degree in advertising and public relations from Arkansas. The couple has four children, sons Aaron and Nick and daughters Danielle and Lindsey.