Turnover is an expectation among staffs in the SEC. When coaches are great, other programs take notice and poach staffers. If there are any struggles, assistants can be out the door in an instant.
However, some coaches have managed to stick around for the long haul. A select few have even spanned multiple administrations at their home school, a rarity in 2016.
Here are the longest-tenured assistant at each SEC school.
Alabama: Burton Burns, running backs/associate HC (2007)
Nick Saban’s staff typically sees incredible turnover, with multiple former assistants getting hired as head coaches throughout college football. However, the one mainstay has been Burns. Over his tenure, Burns has produced two Heisman Trophy winners and recruited some of the top names in college football. Alabama’s running backs are in good hands as long as Burns is in town.
Arkansas: Barry Lunney Jr., tight ends (2013)
Bret Bielema’s staff has been continuously poached the last few seasons, but Lunney has been a consistent presence. Lunney is one of the top tight ends coaches in the nation, helping Hunter Henry turn into one of the best at his position in the country. Arkansas is a team that uses the tight end position most effectively, so Lunney’s handiwork will be well-recognized.
Auburn: Scott Fountain, tight ends/special teams (2009)
Fountain wasn’t a full assistant coach under Gene Chizik, but he was promoted to Gus Malzahn’s staff during the 2013 season. He has overseen a program that has experienced tremendous highs and devastating lows the past few seasons. However, being the special teams coach during the “Kick Six” against Alabama surely has to be one of his proudest accomplishments.
Florida: Mike Summers, offensive line (2014)
Summers is the only holdover from Will Muschamp’s staff at Florida. Every other assistant under head coach Jim McElwain was new last season. In his limited time on campus, Summers has helped develop several top offensive linemen, as well as an inexperienced group that mostly played better than expected last season. The Gators have tremendous talent coming into the program with their inroads in the state of Florida.
Georgia: Kevin Sherrer, Tracy Rocker (2014)
The Bulldogs were a very consistent program under Mark Richt, but the arrival of Kirby Smart this year has thrown everything off. Richt took a couple of his top assistants to Miami with him, but Smart kept a couple of assistants around. Both Rocker and Sherror only joined Richt in 2014, but had built key inroads with some top recruits. Smart’s tenure has gotten off to a quick start on the recruiting trail, and these two have helped keep the momentum going.
Kentucky: D.J Eliot, Vince Marrow, John Schlarman, Jimmy Brumbaugh (2013)
Four original members remain from Mark Stoops’ original staff at Kentucky, but each had unique paths to the program. Schlarman is a former All-SEC guard and graduate assistant at UK, while Eliot joined the Wildcats after a successful stint at Florida State. Brumbaugh was the defensive line coach at a community college in Mississippi. Marrow knew Stoops growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, before a successful NFL playing career.
LSU: Steve Ensminger, tight ends (2009)
Not only is Ensminger a longtime assistant – he is also a former starting quarterback for the Tigers. LSU tight ends have seen nice success during his time in Baton Rouge, La. Colin Jeter and DeSean Smith were both major parts of the LSU offense last season, especially as blocking pieces for Leonard Fournette. Previously, he was an assistant at Auburn from 2003 to 2008.
Mississippi State: John Hevesy, Greg Knox, Scott Sallach (2009)
Things have been pretty consistent while Dan Mullen has been at Mississippi State. Three coaches have been on Mullen’s staff during his entire tenure while in Starkville, Miss.: Hevesy, Knox and Sallach. Hevesy took over as co-offensive coordinator in 2014 after five years. In addition to running backs, Knox coordinates the special teams units. Sallach was a teammate of Mullen’s at Division III Ursinus College and coached in the Ivy League for almost a decade.
Missouri: Andy Hill, wide receivers/associate HC (1996)
The Tigers were the model of consistency under Gary Pinkel. To try and keep that going, Barry Odom held onto Hill, the longest-tenured coach in the SEC. Hill has coached wide receivers at Missouri since 1996, five years before Pinkel even arrived on campus. He was moved to quarterback the last couple years, but will return to coaching wideouts under Odom. During his tenure, Mizzou has produced some of the best receivers in program history, including Justin Gage and Jeremy Maclin.
Ole Miss: Derrick Nix, running backs (2008)
Few coaches remained with the program after Houston Nutt’s tenure, but Nix remained in Oxford. In his eight seasons at Ole Miss, Nix has produced several productive running backs, including Dexter McCluster and Brandon Bolden. Nix will need a strong season from his players in 2016 to balance out Chad Kelly’s arm.
South Carolina: Shawn Elliott, offensive line (2010)
New head coach Will Muschamp virtually wiped the deck clean in Columbia, S.C. Elliott was the lone assistant he brought back from former coach Steve Spurrier’s staff. Elliott has guided the program to strong success during his tenure, including two of the top offensive seasons in school history.
Tennessee: Steve Stripling/Don Mahoney/Tommy Thigpen/Willie Martinez (2013)
Butch Jones hired four different assistants when he took over who are still with the program. Stripling (defensive line) and Mahoney (offensive line) came with Jones from Cincinnati, while Thigpen (cornerbacks) and Martinez (safeties) both came to Tennessee after being let go when Gus Malzahn was hired at Auburn. Having consistency among coaches has helped the Volunteers continuously improve.
Texas A&M: Clarence McKinney, running backs (2012)
Coaching turnover has been a hallmark of Kevin Sumlin’s tenure at Texas A&M. However, McKinney has been a constant in an otherwise tumultuous staff. McKinney was a member of Sumlin’s first staff at the University of Houston in 2008 and has been with the coach ever since.
Vanderbilt: Gerry Gdowski, quarterbacks/recruiting coordinator
Most of Vanderbilt’s staff went to Penn State with former coach James Franklin, so Derek Mason was dealt a clean deck. Gdowski coached tight ends the last two seasons, but transitions to quarterbacks coach in 2016. He formerly coached signal-callers at the University of Ohio for nine years.