Sources: Kentucky is hiring South Carolina offensive line coach Eric Wolford as its offensive line coach.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) December 17, 2020
Expected be announced in the near future, possibly as soon as tomorrow.
The 49-year-old Wolford has been with the Gamecocks since 2017. He previously was the assistant offensive line coach for the 49ers (2015-16), as well as the head coach at Youngstown State (2010-14). He has other previous stints as the offensive line coach for Arizona, Illinois, North Texas, Houston and South Florida.
The Kentucky Wildcats made the biggest hire of the off season by naming Liam Coen as the new offensive coordinator. His wealth of experience and innovative mind will be a nice change of pace for the Wildcats.
However, there is another position on the offensive side of the ball that next to be filled, and it sounds like Mark Stoops has already made his choice.
“I have a guy in mind right now that’s in the middle of transition at another school that would be a fantastic fit here,” Stoops said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It’s the right fit for us, and the right fit for me.”
However, hiring a coach with another job is never an easy process. There are contracts to consider, buyouts to negotiate, and potential post season games to contend with. While it seems certain that Stoops has his man, it seems like the process has been delayed by red tape.
“We’ve just got to wait, you know, contractually. Some people drag their heels just to save money, but it’ll happen,” Stoops said. “We’ll make that happen no problem here in the future. I’ve already got a guy in mind.”
One person that fits that mold currently is South Carolina offensive line coach Eric Wolford. South Carolina just hired a new head coach, and they are currently deciding which assistants and might stay and who new coach Shane Beamer may want to bring in with him. With all of that happening at South Carolina, hiring a coach away from them might be on the back burner of their priorities.
However, it appears Wolford is certainly the guy Stoops has in mind. Wolford has served as an offensive line coach as several major programs, has spent time in the NFL, and has some head coaching experience.
As far as the fit with Mark Stoops personally, it just so happens that Wolford also grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. That connection could make all the difference in this particular hiring process.