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‘I love this community.’ Eddie Gran explains why he turned down Georgia to stay at Kentucky.

For a time in the immediate aftermath of Kentucky’s Citrus Bowl victory to cap its first 10-win season in more than 40 years, it looked like the Wildcats might be losing their offensive coordinator.

Eddie Gran, who had just wrapped up his third season in charge of the Kentucky offense, was rumored to be in contention for the offensive coordinator job at Georgia, which played for a national title a year ago and just missed the College Football Playoff this past season.

There was plenty of confusion over the Bulldogs’ pursuit of Gran in early January.

There were reports that Georgia had actually offered Gran the job. There were reports that Georgia had not offered the job. And there were even reports that the Bulldogs wanted Gran as an offensive position coach, not offensive coordinator — a move that would’ve been a head-scratching demotion for the longtime assistant coach.

On the second day of UK’s spring practice, Gran was asked about the seriousness of the discussions he had with Georgia over its offensive coordinator position.

“Serious in the point that they offered the job,” he said Tuesday. “It came down to: I love this community. I love this administration — Dr. (Eli) Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart — the guy that I work for is fantastic. And I’ve become a part of this community, and I love it. I think we’re doing some things that are special, and those (were) all a part of the decision-making when I decided to stay.”

A few days after the reports of the Georgia job offer, Gran agreed to a new contract that will pay him an average of $900,000 over the next three seasons at Kentucky.

So, that’s that.

Gran is back in Lexington, and he’s already looking forward to his fourth season with the Wildcats, a campaign that will feature Year 2 of Terry Wilson at quarterback, the return of a seasoned offensive line, and some question marks at the skill positions, especially with the loss of running back Benny Snell.

Along with Gran, the Cats’ entire offensive staff will return — no casualties from the off-season coaching carousel that often leads to departures and new faces. UK’s offensive coordinator noted that there was little staff turnover in his 10 seasons as an Auburn assistant, and that continuity led to a familiarity that led to winning football.

“I think it’s huge,” Gran said. “I think it’s huge in recruiting, for the relationships that you build. And just for everybody being on the same page, you can go faster. And if you have to add, you can add without it being so strenuous on everybody. You’re not teaching somebody a new offense. And we can go pretty quick.”


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Ben Roberts covers UK basketball, football and other sports for the Lexington Herald-Leader and has specialized in UK basketball recruiting for the past several years. He also maintains the Next Cats recruiting blog, which features the latest news on the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts.
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