Brian Kelly on verge of signing ex-NFL line coach and sought after recruiter
By: Jason O'Mahony | Published Saturday, January 14, 2012, 11:15 AM | Updated Saturday, January 14, 2012, 11:15 AM
Hiestand served on the Chicago Bears 2006 Super Bowl staff
Rumors out of Knoxville that Brian Kelly is close to hiring Tennessee offensive line coach Harry Hiestand. (In fact, here’s a report that says it’s a done deal.) If the reports are true, Hiestand will almost immediately hit the recruiting trail, with his first order of business being committed recruits Taylor Decker, Mark Harrell and Ronnie Stanley.
At 53 years old, Hiestand has spent over 20 years in the coaching ranks, starting his career after an injury ended his playing career at East Stroudsburg University. He bounced around early in his career before working nearly exclusively as an offensive line coach with stops at Toledo, Cincinnati (where he coordinator the offense during an 8-3 campaign), then jumped to Missouri before spending a large chunk of time with Illinois.
During his time working under Ron Turner, Hiestand tutored 12 All-Big Ten offensive linemen. If you’re looking for an impressive stat, every senior starting lineman that Hiestand coached signed an NFL contract. Hiestand added assistant head coach to his title for his final five seasons with the Illini.
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Hiestand has also spent significant time in the NFL, moving north to Chicago as the offensive line coach with the Bears, joining Lovie Smith‘s staff in 2005. Those Bears squads won 24 regular season games in his first two seasons, going to the Super Bowl in 2006.
Nothing has been made official, but with the recruiting season in its final weeks, expect an offensive line coach to be named — and put on the road — quickly. Kelly still has one more opening on his staff to fill.