|Garner's Coaching Career|
Former Auburn standout player and coach Rodney Garner, who helped the Tigers to the 2013 SEC Championship and a BCS Championship berth, now serves his alma mater as associate head coach and defensive line coach.
In 2013, Auburn had the second biggest turnaround in college football history at +8.0 games. Garner coached first team All-SEC defensive end Dee Ford, a first round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, No. 23 overall. Two more D-linemen -- Angelo Blackson (4th, Tennessee Titans) and Gabe Wright (4th, Detroit Lions) -- were selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.
An all-SEC player himself at Auburn in 1988 who previously coached on The Plains from 1990-95, Garner coaches the defensive line daily in practice. Garner spent 15 years at Georgia in a similar capacity.
A native of Leeds, Ala., Garner was named all-SEC and honorable mention All-America as a senior at Auburn in 1988, captaining the team that captured the SEC title. Garner served on the Auburn coaching staff from 1990-95 as recruiting coordinator, tight ends coach, and assistant strength and conditioning coach.
During his 15 seasons at Georgia, he was part of a staff that led UGA to 117 victories, two SEC Championships, five SEC Eastern Division titles, seven bowl victories and six Top 10 finishes in the final polls, including No. 2 in 2007 and No. 3 in 2002. He added the title of assistant head coach at Georgia in 2005 after serving as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator there since January, 1998.
The 2005 Georgia team finished eighth nationally in scoring defense (16.4 ppg). The 2003 Georgia defense finished second nationally in scoring defense (14.5 ppg), fourth in total defense (276.86 ypg), sixth in passing defense (174.50 ypg, 1st in the SEC); the 2002 Bulldog defense finished first in the SEC and fourth nationally in scoring defense (15.1 ppg), first in the SEC in red zone defense (58.8%) and second in the SEC in rushing defense (114.0 ypg). The 2002 Bulldogs finished 13-1, won the SEC and Nokia Sugar Bowl Championships and ranked third in the final national polls.
Garner participated in the inaugural Minority Coaches Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2006. He was also selected as one of 10 coaches to participate in the 2004 NCAA Expert Coaching Academy in Indianapolis and one of only 20 chosen for the NCAA's 2004 Advanced Coaching Academy in Orlando.
At Georgia, he coached five NFL first round draft choices -- Richard Seymour (Patriots) and Marcus Stroud (Jaguars), both Pro Bowl starters; David Pollack (Bengals); Charles Grant (Saints); and Johnathan Sullivan (Saints). He also coached draft picks DeAngelo Tyson (7th, Ravens, '12), Geno Atkins (4th, Bengals, '10), Corvey Irvin (3rd, Panthers, '09), Jarius Wynn (6th, Packers, '09), Kedric Golston (6th, Redskins, '06), Robert Geathers (4th, Bengals, '04), Emarlos Leroy (6th, Jaguars, '99), and free agents Ken Veal (Chargers, '04), Paul Snellings (Colts, 2000), Brandon Miller (Colts, 2000), Charles Johnson (Panthers, '07), Tyrone Robertson (Bills, 2000) and Demetric Evans (Cowboys, '01).
After his playing career at Auburn, Garner had a free agent tryout with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played with the Pittsburgh Gladiators arena football team in 1989. He began his coaching career at Auburn in 1990. Garner coached tight ends and offensive tackles at Tennessee in 1997 after coaching tight ends for the Volunteers in 1996.
Garner, whose cousin is Charles Barkley, was an outstanding player at Leeds High School. He is married to Kimberly Lawson Garner, a 1988 Auburn graduate in public relations. They have six children: Bridgett, Brielle, Jaiden, Kai, Sydney and Milan.