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Georgia Tech defensive coordinator exits in third season
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Andy McCollum, who has been an assistant and head coach in college football for 33 years, enters his sixth season on the Georgia Tech staff.
Since arriving on the Flats, McCollum has worn a number of hats. After coaching the Yellow Jacket defensive line for 2.5 years, the Marietta, Ga., native switched to linebackers midway through the 2012 season. In addition, McCollum has served as Tech’s recruiting coordinator the last four years.
In his second full season coaching the linebackers, McCollum’s unit helped the Yellow Jackets’ opportunistic defense produce 29 takeaways as a team, including 18 interceptions. Tech’s defense also produced a school-record six defensive touchdowns during the Jackets’ 2014 Orange Bowl championship season. Two of those touchdowns came from second-team All-ACC linebacker Quayshawn Nealy.
In 2013, McCollum helped the Georgia Tech defense make remarkable strides. The Yellow Jackets improved their national ranking statistically in rushing defense, pass defense, total defense, scoring defense and third-down defense.
The linebacker trio of Brandon Watts, Quayshawn Nealy and Jabari Hunt-Days combined for 177 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss in 2013. McCollum tutored true freshman Paul Davis, who emerged as one of the ACC’s top rookie defenders. Linebackers Jeremiah Attaochu (2nd Round, 50th overall) and Watts (7th Round, 223rd overall) were drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft.
While coaching the defensive line, McCollum helped develop Jeremiah Attaochu, who last season broke Georgia Tech’s all-time career sacks record.
In 2012, McCollum’s defensive line helped the Yellow Jackets improve statistically in rushing defense, scoring defense and sacks. Under McCollum’s guidance, starters Izaan Cross and T.J. Barnes enjoyed outstanding senior seasons. Cross was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game and Barnes was selected to participate in the NFL Combine.
After Game 6, McCollum moved to coaching inside linebackers, where he saw Jabari Hunt-Days earn first team Freshman All-American honors and Nealy earn ACC’s Linebacker of the Week honors.
In his first season at Georgia Tech, McCollum helped install the 3-4 defense. Faced with the task of players learning a completely new system, McCollum helped mold the defensive line into a solid front.
McCollum came to the Flats after serving three seasons (2007-09) as linebackers coach at NC State, where he was a part of Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien’s initial coaching staff. NC State participated in the 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl. McCollum coached three Wolfpack linebackers who were drafted and went on to play in the NFL -- Nate Irving, Terrell Manning and Audie Cole.
Prior to his tenure at NC State, McCollum spent one season in the NFL as an advance scout for the Tennessee Titans in 2006.
McCollum served as head coach at Middle Tennessee for seven seasons (1999-2005), helping the Blue Raider program make the transition from a struggling I-AA squad to a successful I-A program that competed against BCS opponents 26 times during his tenure. Middle Tennessee set 84 school records with McCollum at the helm. In 2000, McCollum led the Blue Raiders to a 6-5 record, their first winning record as a I-A program, including back-to-back wins over Connecticut and South Florida by a combined score of 111-19.
His 2001 Middle Tennessee squad finished 8-3, won the Sun Belt Conference championship, and ranked fifth nationally in offense. In 2005, the Blue Raider defense ranked ninth nationally. In 2002, 2004 and 2005, he brought in what were considered the top recruiting classes in the Sun Belt Conference. McCollum was named Coach of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association in 2000 and 2001.
From 1994-98, McCollum worked at Baylor in a variety of roles. In 1995 and 1996 he served as associate head coach, defensive coordinator and coach of the special teams. In 1994, the Bears participated in the Alamo Bowl. In 1995, the Bear defense ranked fifth nationally in total defense, fifth in pass defense and ninth in scoring defense.
From 1989-92, McCollum worked as an assistant coach at UTEP. He coached the Miners’ wide receivers and special teams in 1989 before moving over to defense to coach the linebackers and special teams from 1990-93.
From 1981-88, McCollum was an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee State. In 1984 and 1985, the Blue Raiders advanced to the Division I-AA playoffs.
Before embarking on a coaching career, McCollum was a four-year starter (offensive guard and tight end) at Austin Peay State from 1977-80. He led the Governors in receptions in 1979 and was a starter on the 1977 Ohio Valley Conference championship team.
McCollum earned his undergraduate degree from Austin Peay State in 1981, and his master’s from Middle Tennessee State in 1983.
McCollum was born in Marietta, Ga., where he played football at Marietta High School. He was inducted into the Marietta High School Hall of Fame. McCollum is married to the former Debbie Wrather and has two children, Drew and Andrea.