published Friday, February 7th, 2014

Georgia football coach Mark Richt completes staff with Mike Ekeler

  • photo
    Georgia coach Mark Richt, left, and fans react after a young fan asked a tough question about Georgia's special teams on national signing day Wednesday in Athens, Ga.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Georgia football coach Mark Richt completed his coaching staff Thursday with the hiring of Mike Ekeler, who will work with the inside linebackers.

Ekeler spent last season as linebackers coach at Southern Cal, which led the Pac-12 in total defense and ranked 13th nationally (allowing 335.2 yards per game). He arrived at USC from Indiana, where he was linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator the previous two years.

"I was extremely impressed with his knowledge and energy during the interview process," Richt said in a release. "He was highly recommended by many coaches and administrators with whom I talked, and we're very excited that he'll be joining our staff."

Ekeler was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma during the 2003 and '04 seasons and a graduate assistant at LSU the three years after that, working those five seasons under defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. He has been a part of three teams that reached BCS championship games, with Oklahoma losing the 2003 and 2004 contests and LSU winning in 2007.

When Pelini left LSU after the '07 season to become Nebraska's head coach, Ekeler went with him as the linebackers coach for three seasons.

The responsibilities for Georgia's four new assistants are as follows: Jeremy Pruitt (defensive coordinator/secondary), Ekeler (inside linebackers), Kevin Sherrer (strongside linebacker and the nickel back) and Tracy Rocker (defensive line and weakside linebacker).

"I'm looking forward to supporting Coach Pruitt and our entire coaching staff in every way I can," Ekeler said. "Our family can't wait to move to Athens and get started."

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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