Georgia Bulldogs paid up to get Bryan McClendon back on coaching staff

Credit: Tony Walsh/UGAAA

Credit: Tony Walsh/UGAAA

ATHENS — How badly did Georgia want Bryan McClendon on its football staff?

Enough to pay Miami more than $800,000 to get him here.

That revelation was exposed in McClendon’s contract, which was turned over by UGA this week, seven months after initially being requested by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Georgia coach Kirby Smart hired McClendon from Miami as wide receivers coach and passing-game coordinator Jan. 30. McClendon’s appointment came two weeks after Cortez Hankton’s departure for LSU became official.

Adding intrigue to the whole deal was the fact that McClendon had been on the job at Miami less than a month. McClendon had followed coach Mario Cristobal to Miami from Oregon, where McClendon had served as co-offensive coordinator.

It was learned in February that McClendon was hired for an annual salary of $705,000. But a clause on Page 6 of McClendon’s 22-page contract reveals that the Georgia Athletic Association paid McClendon a “one-time supplement of $844,989.03 … on or about March 31, 2022.”

While there is no explanation of what the payment is for, people familiar with the situation confirmed to the AJC that it went toward the buyout of McClendon’s contract with the Hurricanes.

Smart’s desire to acquire the 38-year-old McClendon is understandable. Not only is he a Georgia football letterman – and uncle to senior offensive tackle Warren McClendon – as an elite recruiter, Bryan McClendon carries the titles of interim head coach and offensive coordinator on his resume.

At Georgia, he now is part of an increasingly impressive offensive brain trust. The staff of offensive coordinator Todd Monken, a former college head coach and NFL coordinator, includes at least five other coaches with head coach and/or coordinating experience in analysts Mike Bobo and Buster Faulkner and assistant coaches Dell McGee, Stacy Searels and McClendon.

They add “tremendous value in terms of being a sounding board for us,” Monken said last week.

McClendon inherited a big job for the Bulldogs. After losing junior George Pickens (NFL draft) and sophomore Jermaine Burton (transfer to Alabama), Georgia seeks to create depth and add explosiveness to a young wide receiver corps that returns leading receivers Ladd McConkey and A.D. Mitchell. While the Bulldogs obviously flourished on offense in winning the national championship last season, they have struggled to land the highest-rated receiver prospects the past couple of seasons.

McClendon appears to have the chops to get that done. The Atlanta native was named the nation’s top recruiting assistant by 247Sports during his last stint with the Bulldogs (2007-15). Since then he has stepped up his X-and-0 game, serving as offensive coordinator at South Carolina (2018-19) and fulfilling coordinator duties in his past four coaching stops. McClendon also served as Georgia’s interim head coach after Mark Richt was dismissed in December 2015.