Third football coach leaves as exodus continues for Florida State Seminoles

Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops accepted the head coaching position at Kentucky, and he will be taking defensive ends coach DJ Eliot with him. Eliot will be receiving a promotion to defensive coordinator in Lexington.

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops (left) shakes hands with Florida State Seminoles running backs coach Eddie Gran (right) prior to the start of their football game at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Sooners beat the Seminoles 23-13. (Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports)

Now, as coach Jimbo Fisher and the remainder of his staff prepares to take on Northern Illinois in the BCS Orange Bowl, sources are reporting that running backs coach and special teams guru Eddie Gran is all but gone from Tallahassee.

Gran is reportedly deciding whether or not to accept the head coaching position at Arkansas State or to join friend and longtime colleague Tommy Tuberville on his new staff at Cincinnati.

Either way, the man who led a resurgence in Florida State’s ground attack will be coaching somewhere else next season, making him the third coach in as many weeks to leave campus.

In 2011, the ‘Noles rushed for 1,400 yards. In 2012, the team totaled 2,644; that is obviously a massive difference and one that is very appealing to athletic departments looking to build a winning program on a strong running game.

That is, of course, every athletic department in the country.

Gran, who has spent his entire 26-year coaching career as an assistant, may have his first opportunity to accept a head coaching position. After rumors of Bobby Petrino coaching at Arkansas State ran rampant for a few days, the formerly disgraced coach of Arkansas accepted the same position with Western Kentucky. Thus, Gran has reportedly moved up to the top of the Red Wolves’ short list. This follows several years of finding himself in the hunt at several schools, only to fall short of receiving an actual offer to head up a program of his own.

Gran was considered a finalist for the FAU and Southern Miss openings, around this time last season. He has not, as of yet, been extended a formal offer by Arkansas State, but with Petrino off the table this only seems to be an inevitability.

His next option, heading to Cincinnati, would reunite Gran with Tuberville. The two spent 10 years together at Auburn. With Tuberville as the head coach for a decade, Gran coached the running backs and special teams. Tuberville was out at Auburn in 2010, and from there Gran spent a year at Tennessee before latching on at Florida State.

Tuberville himself spent a season at Texas Tech before shocking the Red Raiders’ brass and taking the Cincy job vacated by Butch Jones. Tuberville is currently putting together his new coaching staff, and he has reportedly reached out to Gran.

Why not?

Besides the massive improvement FSU enjoying in rushing yards, Gran also oversaw the development of placekicker Dustin Hopkins, college football’s all-time leading scorer. The Seminoles also scored three punt return touchdowns on the year.

Gran was paid $335,000 annually at Florida State. While Arkansas State may not be able to offer him too much more in terms of salary, Gran may finally have the opportunity to head up a college football program of his own.

After nearly three decades in in the shadow of other men, the chance to be a head coach may be worth far more than money as he leaves Florida State.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

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