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Meet the 2013 Football Coaching Staff

Jan. 11, 2013

When head football coach Gus Malzahn returned to Auburn in December, one of the first items of business was assembling a staff of high-level, experienced coaches who have also had great success attracting quality student-athletes.

On the day of his hiring, Malzahn stated, "I'm going to take my time and I'm going to find the right fit. We are going to hire men of character who will be great examples for our players and then they're going to be great coaches and great recruiters. I'm going to take my time to try to get the best person where ever he is."

With the final hire made exactly one month after Malzahn's introductory press conference, the staff is a strong blend of veteran coaches along with rising stars.

Meet the 2013 Auburn Coaching Staff:

Gus Malzahn - Head Coach

  • 9-3 as Arkansas State head coach, Sun Belt champions 
  • Auburn offensive coordinator 2009-11 
  • Also served as offensive coordinator Tulsa and Arkansas 
  • 14 years as high school head coach in Arkansas •
  • Alma Mater: Henderson State, 1990

Rodney Garner - Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line

  • Spent past 12 seasons as Georgia defensive line and assistant head coach
  • Previously coached at Auburn (1990-95) and Tennessee
  • All-SEC offensive lineman as an Auburn player
  • Alma Mater: Auburn, 1990

Ellis Johnson - Defensive Coordinator

  • 32 years college coaching experience, 17 as a defensive coordinator
  • Head coach at Southern Miss, The Citadel, Gardner-Webb
  • Additional experience at Clemson, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina, Appalachian State
  • Alma Mater: The Citadel, 1975



Rhett Lashlee - Offensive Coordinator

  • 9 seasons coaching w/Malzahn; most recent Arkansas State offensive coordinator
  • Coaching experience at Samford, Auburn, Arkansas
  • Alma Mater: Arkansas, 2006

Rich Bisaccia - Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams/Running Backs

  • Special teams guru with 11 years NFL experience
  • Most recently San Diego Chargers special teams coordinator • Previously spent 9 seasons with Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • College experience at Ole Miss, Clemson, South Carolina, Wayne State
  • Alma Mater: Wayne State (Neb.)

Dameyune Craig - Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers

  • Spent last 3 seasons as Florida State quarterback coach and recruiting coordinator
  • 18-7 as Auburn QB from 1994-97 and still holds several AU passing records • Recognized among the nation's top recruiters
  • Also coached at South Alabama, Tuskegee, LSU, Miami Dolphins
  • Alma Mater: Auburn, 2002

J.B. Grimes - Assistant Coach/Offensive Line

  • College offensive line coach since 1979 - nearly 35 years
  • Most recently Arkansas State offensive line coach
  • Other coaching experience at Kansas, Mississippi State, East Carolina, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, ULM, Delta State
  • Alma Mater: Henderson State, 1977

Charlie Harbison - Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties

  • 18 years coaching experience in SEC/ACC at Clemson, Mississippi State, Alabama, LSU
  • Most recently 4 seasons as Clemson co-defensive coordinator
  • Recognized among the nation's top recruiters • Has worked 3 times with Ellis Johnson
  • Alma Mater: Gardner-Webb, 1995

Tim Horton - Assistant Coach/Tight Ends

  • Spent last 6 seasons as Arkansas running back coach and recruiting coordinator
  • Other coaching experience at Air Force, Kansas State, Appalachian State
  • Recognized among the nation's top recruiters
  • Alma Mater: Arkansas, 1990; all-SWC receiver

Melvin Smith - Assistant Coach/Cornerbacks

  • 31-year coaching veteran, 18 of those in the SEC
  • Most recently spent 7 seasons as secondary coach at Mississippi State
  • Other coaching experience at Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas A&M, Delta State
  • Alma Mater: MIllsaps, 1982

Ryan Russell - Strength and Conditioning

  • Previously Arkansas State director of athletic performance
  • Coaching experience at Auburn, Boise State, Louisville, Pitt
  • Certifications: CSCS, SCCC, SNC, USAW Level 1, FMS
  • Alma Mater: West Liberty State, 2003
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