Oregon has found its next coach.
Hours after Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reported the deal, Oregon made it official that Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning will be the Ducks’ next coach. Lanning replaces Mario Cristobal after he left to become the head coach at Miami, his alma mater.
"Dan is an outstanding, high-energy football coach who will provide a world-class experience for our football student-athletes," Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said in a statement. "He is a tremendous recruiter and developer of talent, and we will continue to compete for championships while providing an environment where our football student-athletes can develop to their fullest potential in the classroom, on the football field, and as people. We are grateful for the opportunity to have Dan as the leader of our football program, and we look forward to the positive impact he will have on our student-athletes."
Georgia said that Lanning would stay with the team to coach in the College Football Playoff and that former Florida and South Carolina coach Will Muschamp would take over as a co-defensive coordinator after Lanning's departure.
“We are so happy for Dan and his family," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement. "He and [wife] Sophia have been an important part of our Bulldog family for the last four years and we thank them for all they did for Georgia football and the Athens community. Opportunities like this are a testament to a successful program. While he will coach with us for the upcoming College Football Playoff, we will move forward with Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp as co-defensive coordinators. Dan and I are both looking forward to preparing for the CFP.”
Lanning, 35, has been Georgia’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. The Bulldogs entered the SEC championship game allowing seven points per game and hadn’t given up more than 17 points in a single game until Alabama scored 41 on the way to a 41-24 win and the top seed in the College Football Playoff.
Lanning is known as a fantastic recruiter as Georgia’s defense is stacked with NFL-level talent. He took over as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator after Mel Tucker left to take the head coaching job at Colorado.
Oregon’s hire of Lanning would make him the Ducks’ fifth coach since Mike Belotti’s retirement after the 2008 season and the fourth of those five to be promoted from an assistant coach position. Only Willie Taggart — who coached for just one season in Eugene before leaving for Florida State — was a sitting head coach when he was hired by Oregon, though Cristobal previously served as the head coach at Florida International.
Lanning takes over an Oregon team that has won 10 or more games in two of the last three seasons and won the Pac-12 title in 2019 and 2020. Oregon’s defense allowed over 25 points per game in 2021 but was also decimated with injuries. While leading tackler Noah Sewell will return in 2022, star DE Kayvon Thibodeaux is off to the NFL draft and top DB Verone McKinley III is likely to head to the NFL too.
Lanning’s hire at Oregon also means that yet another member of the 2015 Alabama coaching staff is now a head coach in college football. Lanning was a graduate assistant at Alabama in 2015 before coaching linebackers and serving as the recruiting coordinator at Memphis for two seasons.
With Lanning in charge of the Ducks, there are six Power Five head coaches who were assistants on that coaching staff. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin was the offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator Smart has been Lanning’s boss at Georgia, Cristobal was the offensive line coach, new Florida coach Billy Napier was the wide receivers coach and Michigan State coach Tucker was the defensive backs coach.
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Oregon has found its next coach.