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Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning to be the next head coach at Oregon

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Georgia's preparations for the College Football Playoff semifinals will come against the backdrop of its defensive coordinator on the move.

Dan Lanning will be leaving to become head coach at Oregon, the Eugene Register-Guard reported Saturday along with others. Oregon confirmed the hire Saturday night.

Twice in his three seasons running the Bulldogs defense, Lanning was a finalist for the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant. He oversaw a unit that led the nation in scoring defense (9.5 points per game) and was second in total defense (254.4) for a team that reached the playoffs this season.

“We are so happy for Dan and his family," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement Saturday evening. "He and Sauphia have been an important part of our Bulldog family for the last four years, and we thank them for all they did for Georgia Football and the Athens community. Opportunities like this are a testament to a successful program."

The news of Lanning heading to Oregon was first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday.

Lanning, 35, will become the youngest power five head coach in the nation.

Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning will be the next head coach at Oregon.
Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning will be the next head coach at Oregon.

Georgia plays in the national semifinals in the Orange Bowl against Michigan on Dec. 31, with the winner playing Alabama or Cincinnati in the national championship game on Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.

Lanning will stay with the Bulldogs until the season ends, Smart said.

"While he will coach with us for the upcoming College Football Playoff, we will move forward with Glenn Schumann and Will Muschamp as co-defensive coordinators," Smart said. "Dan and I are both looking forward to preparing for the CFP.”

Oregon opens the 2022 season against Georgia in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Lanning’s total pay in 2021 was $1.7 million, tied for seventh highest among assistants nationally.

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Lanning becomes the second defensive coordinator under coach Kirby Smart to land a Power Five head coaching job. Mel Tucker left after the 2018 season for Colorado and then moved to Michigan State after one season.

Lanning is the fourth former assistant under Smart to become a head coach — all at Power Five schools. Besides Tucker, Sam Pittman is at Arkansas and Shane Beamer is at South Carolina.

Smart was asked in November about advice he’d give to Lanning, who was connected to coordinator openings at Texas and Florida State in recent seasons, about other opportunities.

“I don't get into the advice because I think that's an independent decision,” Smart said. “If they asked me my opinion, I'll certainly will tell him what I think because I think that there's certain really good jobs out there and the number one thing is can you get good players and can you win your conference, and those opportunities will present themselves if you just be where your feet are. I tell him to worry about that and the rest to take care of itself.”

Lanning is from Missouri, but spent two seasons in the Pac-12 at Arizona State in 2012 and 2013 as a graduate assistant. He also coached at Sam Houston State, was on the support staff at Alabama in 2015 and then spent two seasons at Memphis before coming to Georgia.

“The grass is certainly not always greener,” Lanning said in August. “And I learned that from watching Coach Smart for several years. Being where you’re at, and being successful where you’re at, those opportunities will come."

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Georgia DC Dan Lanning leaving for Oregon job following playoff