Returning to Florida was an easy decision for Grantham
GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Todd Grantham was a wanted man this offseason.
According to GT sources, Alabama tried to lure away the defensive coordinator, while Grantham also flirted with the idea of returning with the NFL.
A little over a week after National Signing Day, Dan Mullen secured his biggest win of the offseason, keeping Grantham on his staff.
The Cincinnati Bengals pursued Grantham heavily even interviewing the Florida assistant. In the end, Grantham just could not step away from Florida and what they are trying to build.
It was not a hard decision to stay.
"I’ve got a really good job, I work for an excellent university," Grantham told reporters on Thursday. "I like the administration. When you look at [Athletic Director] Scott [Stricklin] and what he’s tried to develop from a family atmosphere. You look at Coach Mullen. He and I, we mirror a lot as far as our beliefs and what you need to do from a football standpoint to be successful. So, I’ve got really good bosses.
"I love our players. I really enjoy developing them, being around them. There’s a lot of things that you kind of look forward to," added the Gators coach. "I certainly look forward to the challenge of the SEC schedule. Looking to continue to develop and get us back to where Gator Nation should be. I want to be a part of that.
"I like it here. My family likes it here. You’ve always got to factor in everything. When you do that, it was a pretty easy decision.”
Grantham's family has really grown to love the Gainesville community.
“It was a factor. There was a lot of things that went into it," Grantham said about his reasons to stay. "First of all, like I said, I’ve got a great place here to work. I love the players here, they’ve really taken to our system. From a family standpoint, the community has been great to my family. My kids like it here. It’s a really great place to raise kids and I think it’s the best fit for me and my future.”
Grantham's defense only yielded 20 points per game in 2018, which ranked 20th nationally.
Mullen and the Florida administration knew they needed to step up to make sure the defensive coordinator did not move on to other opportunities.
"You’re always concerned when you have good coaches," Mullen said. "I think Todd’s one of the best defensive coaches in America. A lot of people want him.
"There’s always that concern. For me I think we try to make this a great place to work, have a great quality of life and you’re at one of the premier schools in America to coach at," added Mullen. "There’s a lot of draws for guys to want to stay here.”
Florida made sure there was a financial incentive as well.
Before the Bengals even requested to interview Grantham, the University gave Grantham a $300,000 raise, which puts his salary at $1.8 million. He is now the fifth highest paid assistant in the country.
His contract, however, does have an out. He would not owe Florida if he leaves for an NFL coaching position.
“I don’t think you ever say never," Grantham said about living for an NFL job in the future. "I’m the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida right now. I enjoy coaching, I enjoy teaching, I enjoy ball. Over the last little bit, the college game and the program have meshed to where it’s very similar in a lot of ways. In some ways the college game may be a little bit harder, to be honest with you, because of tempo and formations. There’s more tempo and formations in college.
"In pro ball, it’s a little bit more about personnel as far as matchups and things like that. So, there’s a little bit of difference there," he added. "But over the course of the last couple of years it’s really meshed to they’re kind of similar. So, to be honest with you, I’m just looking forward to being the coordinator here and getting us back to winning the way we should.”
Another incentive to stay? This could be very well be a special season for the Florida defense.
"We’ve just gotta understand that this year’s team is this year’s team and we have to continue to work," said Grantham. "But I’m certainly excited about their attitude, their enthusiasm, and the way they continue to progress.”