Georgia Tech football is taking in, picking up new defensive scheme
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Andy McCollum, a 35-year college football coaching veteran, is in his eighth season at Georgia Tech.
McCollum has worn a number of hats since arriving on The Flats in 2010. After coaching the Yellow Jackets’ defensive line for two-and-a-half years, the Marietta, Ga., native switched to linebackers midway through the 2012 season. He moved to Tech’s safeties and nickel backs in 2016. In addition to his on-field responsibilities, McCollum has served as Tech’s recruiting coordinator for six years.
In his eight seasons at Georgia Tech, he has coached three all-ACC honorees and two NFL draft picks. He has also coached the team’s top tackler each of the last three seasons.
Despite inheriting a group that did not return any full-time starters from the previous season, McCollum coached the Yellow Jackets’ leading and third-leading tacklers (safeties Corey Griffin and A.J. Gray, respectively) and nickel back Lawrence Austin, who tied for the team lead with three interceptions, in his first season as Tech’s safeties coach in 2016.
Other highlights during McCollum’s tenure at Georgia Tech include:
- linebacker P.J. Davis leading the team in tackles as a sophomore in 2014 (119) and a junior in 2015 (77);
- linebacker Quayshawn Nealy scoring two defensive touchdowns during Tech’s Orange
Bowl-championshipseason in 2014;
- the linebacking trio of Jabari Hunt-Days, Nealy and Brandon Watts combining for 177 tackles and 14 tackles for loss in 2013;
- Jeremiah Attaochu, who McCollum mentored on both the defensive line and at linebacker, setting a new school record for career sacks with 31.5 from 2010-13;
- Hunt-Days earning first-team freshman all-America in 2012;
- Attaochu (second round - San Diego Chargers) and Watts (seventh round - Minnesota Vikings) being selected in the 2014 NFL Draft;
- having four former pupils — Attaochu, Watts, DL T.J. Barnes (Kansas City Chiefs) and linebacker P.J. Davis (Jacksonville Jaguars) — currently on NFL rosters.
McCollum came to The Flats after serving for three seasons (2007-09) as linebackers coach at NC State, where he was a part of head coach Tom O’Brien’s initial coaching staff with the Wolfpack. At NC State, McCollum helped guide the Wolfpack to the 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl and coached three linebackers that were drafted and went on to play in the NFL — Nate Irving, Terrell Manning and Audie Cole.
Prior to joining the ACC at NC State, McCollum served as the head coach at Middle Tennessee for seven seasons (1999-2005), helping the Blue Raiders make the transition from a struggling NCAA Division I-AA squad to a successful NCAA 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 in only their second season as
A year later, he led Middle Tennessee to an 8-3 record and its first Sun Belt Conference championship. His Blue Raider squads ranked among the nation’s top 10 in both total offense (fifth in 2001) and total defense (ninth in 2005). McCollum also brought in the Sun Belt’s top recruiting classes in 2002, 2004 and 2005, setting up the Blue Raiders to make their first bowl appearance the year after his departure.
He was named Tennessee Coach of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association in both 2000 and 2001.
The first 18 years of his coaching career was comprised of assistant roles at Middle Tennessee (1981-88), UTEP (1989-93) and Baylor (1994-98). He served as associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Baylor for two seasons (1995-96). Highlights included Baylor ranking among the top 10 nationally in total defense (fifth), pass defense (fifth) and scoring defense (ninth) with McCollum at the helm in 1995 and Middle Tennessee making two NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearances with him on staff in 1984 and ‘85.
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. He coached offense (wide receivers - 1989), defense (linebackers - 1990-93) and special teams (1989-93) during his five-year stint at UTEP.
In his lone year away from college coaching, he served as an advance scout for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans in 2006.
Before embarking on his 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 as a junior in 1979 and was a freshman starter on APSU’s 1977 Ohio Valley Conference championship team.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State in 1981 and a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State in 1983.
McCollum was born in Marietta, Ga., where he played quarterback for coach Ray Broadaway at Marietta High School. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2012.
He is married to the former Debbie
|THE ANDY McCOLLUM FILE|
|Born||March 1, 1959|
|Family||wife Debbie; son Drew; daughter Andrea|
|Alma Mater||Austin Peay State, 1981|
|1977-80||Austin Peay State (offensive guard/tight end)|
|1981-88||Middle Tennessee||Assistant Coach|
|1995-96||Baylor||Associate Head Coach|
|1999-2005||Middle Tennessee||Head Coach|
|2006||Tennessee Titans||Advanced Scout|
|2010-11||Georgia Tech||Defensive Line / Recruiting Coordinator|
|2012||Georgia Tech||Defensive Line / LB / Recruiting Coordinator|
|2013-15||Georgia Tech||Linebackers / Recruiting Coordinator|
|2016-present||Georgia Tech||Safeties / Recruiting Coordinator|