Former FCS head coach joining Clemson's staff

Former FCS head coach joining Clemson's staff

Football

Former FCS head coach joining Clemson's staff

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Dabo Swinney is adding a former head coach to his coaching staff at Clemson.

John Grass will join the Tigers in an off-field role, Swinney announced this week. Grass spent the last eight seasons as the head coach at FCS member Jacksonville State.

He spent the last nine years with the Gamecocks’ program, the first as an assistant, before stepping down following JSU’s win over Abilene Christian last month. JSU pulled off a stunner early in the season with a long touchdown pass as time expired to beat Florida State.

Grass finished his JSU tenure with a 72-26 record. He led the Gamecocks to six Ohio Valley Conference championships.

While Swinney didn’t specify which side of the ball Grass will be involved with, he called Grass a “brilliant offensive guy.” Grass spent the 2013 as JSU’s offensive coordinator before taking over head coaching duties the following season for Bill Clark, who left to take the head coaching job at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Before his time at JSU, Grass spent more than two decades as a high school coach in Alabama. Swinney, of course, grew up in Pelham, Alabama, and played for Gene Stallings at the University of Alabama before beginning his coaching career.

“One of the best high school coaches ever in Alabama, and a coach I’ve known for a long, long time,” Swinney said. “And what a great job he did at Jacksonville State.

“This will be great for him. He’ll bring a lot to us, and I’m excited about that.”

The opportunity to hire Grass in an off-field role came as a result of some personnel losses in that capacity for Clemson in recent weeks. One of those was former Duke head coach Ted Roof, who spent one season at Clemson before leaving with Brent Venables to be Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator.

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