Muschamp officially hired by UGA, big raises for 3 assistants

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp during the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs Nov. 4, 2017, in Athens. (Bob Andres / bob.andres@ajc.com)
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South Carolina coach Will Muschamp during the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs Nov. 4, 2017, in Athens. (Bob Andres / bob.andres@ajc.com)

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

ATHENS -- At long last, Will Muschamp’s hiring at Georgia is official.

The former South Carolina coach has been working at the Bulldogs’ football complex daily for a couple of weeks. But coach Kirby Smart and Muschamp would not confirm anything other than to say that the long-time SEC coach was visiting his son Jackson and “talking ball.”

But Smart confirmed in a video conference call with reporters Wednesday that Muschamp has been retained as a “defensive analyst.” A short time later, UGA responded to a previous AJC open-records request seeking new salary actions and reported that Muschamp will earn $300,000 this year as a “quality control coach.”

“As of last week, we were able to get things complete with Will,” Smart said. “He’ll be joining our staff in an off-the-field role as an analyst. He’s already made a lot of strides in terms of helping me, helping our staff. He’ll be able to help coach the coaches.

“He’ll be working with the defensive side of the ball, but it’s very, very valuable to have somebody who’s been a head coach at two places in our conference. He knows the ins and outs of our conference. So he’ll be able to help our staff, our coaches in a lot of ways. I’m excited to have him join us.”

Muschamp was first spotted at Georgia’s football facility during late-December bowl practices for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Muschamp was fired by South Carolina on Nov. 15 after five years as its head coach. On Dec. 31, he received a $12.9 million lump-sum settlement for the balance of his contract, which would have paid him through 2023.

UGA revealed several other salary actions in its open-records response Wednesday. It included a $450,000 raise for defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and $150,000-a-year raises for assistant coaches Todd Hartley (tight ends) and Dell McGee (run-game coordinator). Lanning now will rank among the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the SEC, at $1.7 million per year. McGee will make $800,000 and Hartley $450,000.

Georgia also reported that new defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae will make $500,000 annually.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month that Muschamp had been granted a parking spot and unlimited access to the Butts-Mehre building, which has been secured for staff and athletes only since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Muschamp and his wife, Carol, have purchased an Oconee County residence, just outside of Athens, and enrolled their son Whit at Athens Academy. Muschamp’s oldest son, Jackson, is a redshirt freshman and preferred walk-on quarterback entering his second year with the Bulldogs.

“His family has been his focus here recently,” Smart said of Muschamp, with whom he has been friends since enrolling at UGA as a freshman defensive back in 1994. “I know he’s felt like he’s moved his family all over the country. This is an opportunity to give back to them and be with them and be able to watch his son play.”

Smart did not rule out Muschamp eventually joining his staff as a full-time, on-field assistant.

“I would say any time you’re an aspiring coach you want the opportunity to go coach on the grass,” Smart said. “I know he’s not through with his coaching days. I know that’s important to him, to be able to get out there and have relationships and develop a position group and coach.”

Muschamp has had head coaching jobs at South Carolina and Florida and been a defensive coordinator at Auburn and Texas. His greatest value for Georgia at present might be his assistance in preparing for the 2021 season opener against Clemson in Charlotte. As the Gamecocks’ head coach, Muschamp has had to prepare for the Tigers each of the past five years. And while South Carolina didn’t have much success against Dabo Swinney’s team, Muschamp is going to be more familiar than most coaches with his personnel and schemes.