February 25, 2013

Saints Hire Wesley McGriff as Defensive Backs Coach

The Saints have hired Wesley McGriff to replace Ken Flajole as defensive backs coach, the last major opening on the Saints' coaching staff.

McGriff has been hired away from the University of Mississippi, where he spent the last season as defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator. Prior, he was the secondary coach at Vanderbilt University, and prior to that three seasons at the University of Miami in the same role.  While there, McGriff was on the coaching staff that produced Saints TE Jimmy Graham.

McGriff has been coaching and recruiting at the collegiate level since 1990 at Kansas State, Baylor, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky State and Savannah State prior.  McGriff started at outside linebacker at Savannah State in the late 1980s.

Like most coaches hired externally by Sean Payton since 2006, McGriff has no prior pro coaching experience, only collegiate.  McGriff is also a retired second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserves.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze tweeted a congratulations to McGriff tonight: "Congrats to @coachcrimedawg on his new job with the Saints. They are getting a good coach and man. Thanks for your work at Ole Miss"

McGriff replied, "Special Thanks to the Players at Ole Miss. You guys are very special. I will Miss you all #HottyToddy #wintheday .... Thanks for Giving me a great Opportunity!!! Rebel Nation you are awesome I will miss you all!! I love you always Ole Miss ... Thanks coach. You are so awesome!!! It was hard decision to leave a GREAT man, FRIEND AND Football coach. I love you!!!"

Ole Miss does not have any rated members of its secondary in the 2013 NFL Draft, though defensive tackle DT Gilbert Pena, 6'2, 334, a nose tackle in the Rebels' 4-2-5 defensive scheme, has a late draftable grade.  At Vanderbilt, McGriff coached CB Trey Wilson, who has a late draftable grade as well this April.  Wilson, a native of Shreveport, has scored four touchdowns on interception returns in his career.

Flajole was fired along with 2012 Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after the season.

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