Liam Coen, McVay’s OC in Los Angeles, was announced Tuesday as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Kentucky.
And Coen may not be the only Rams assistant on the way out. Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, McVay told his staff that he's not sure if he'll return to the Rams next season and wouldn't stand in the way if his assistants explored other opportunities. It wasn't clear at the time of the report if anybody else was taking McVay up on his offer.
For Coen, it will mark his second stint as Kentucky’s OC. Coen coached the Wildcats’ offense in 2021 following a three-year run as an assistant for McVay with the Rams.
First, Coen was an assistant receivers coach for two seasons for the Rams before serving as assistant QBs coach in 2020. Coen used that experience to get the coordinator job at Kentucky, where he helped the Wildcats take significant strides.
In the year before Coen’s arrival, Kentucky had one of the worst offenses in the SEC. With Coen calling plays, Kentucky scored 10.5 more points per game with Will Levis emerging as a first-round talent at quarterback as the Wildcats went 10-3 and won the Citrus Bowl.
Ahead of the 2022 season, McVay brought Coen back to the Rams, this time as offensive coordinator. On the heels of a Super Bowl victory, the Rams struggled on offense this season as they dealt with an array of injuries to high-profile players like Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp.
The Rams finished the season with a 5-12 record and McVay has yet to commit to a return to the team for the 2023 season. McVay has reportedly been wrestling with the decision, much like he did after the Rams’ Super Bowl run last year. McVay, 36, has a 60-38 record in six seasons as the Rams’ head coach. With McVay’s status up in the air, Coen decided to jump back to the SEC.
“Ashley and I are thrilled to be back in Lexington,” Coen said. “I want to thank Coach Mark Stoops and [athletic director] Mitch Barnhart for the amazing opportunity. I also want to thank Coach McVay for his mentorship and guidance and the Rams organization for their support throughout this process.”
Kentucky went 7-6 this season and finished dead last in the SEC in yards per play. After the regular season, UK head coach Mark Stoops fired offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, opening the door for Coen’s return.
And with Levis off to the NFL, the Wildcats landed a commitment from longtime NC State quarterback Devin Leary. Leary started parts of four seasons at NC State and has thrown for 6,807 yards and 62 touchdowns in his college career. He went down with a season-ending injury midway through the 2022 campaign and ultimately decided to transfer.
With Leary and Coen in the fold, Stoops is hoping to revitalize the Kentucky offense in 2023.