The New Orleans Saints have hired Wesley McGriff as the team’s secondary coach, Head Coach Sean Payton announced Monday.
McGriff comes to the Saints after serving as co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks at the University of Mississippi in 2012.
McGriff, a 22-year coaching veteran in the college ranks, helped the Rebels improve from a 2-10 campaign in 2011 to a 7-6 record in 2012 including a 38-17 victory over Pittsburgh in the 2013 BBVA Compass Bowl and three more Southeastern Conference victories than the previous season.
Under McGriff’s direction in the regular season, Mississippi finished second in the SEC and in the top 15 in the NCAA in tackles for a loss per game (7.7) and sacks per game (2.8). LB Denzel Nkemdiche was named to the Football Writers Association of America All-America Team. DT Isaac Gross earned SEC All-Freshman honor from league coaches and was named to the Freshman All-America first team by CollegeFootballNews.com.
The Tifton, Ga. native has a proven track record for developing defensive backs on the collegiate level including New York Giants S Kenny Phillips, Green Bay Packers DB Sam Shields, Houston Texans CB Brandon Harris and New York Jets DB Yeremiah Bell.
Prior to joining the Rebels, McGriff spent one year at Vanderbilt where he served as defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator and helped the program to its fifth bowl appearance. His secondary produced 12 interceptions, three returns for touchdowns, and more than 20 pass breakups. He spent four years at the University of Miami coaching defensive backs before moving to the Commodores, where he tutored Harris, Phillips and Shields. The 2010 Hurricanes defensive unit finished ranked second in the nation in pass defense. He served as recruiting coordinator/defensive backs at Baylor from 2003-06 and enjoyed his first major college stint at the University of Kentucky from 2001-02.
As the secondary coach at Eastern Kentucky in 2000, McGriff tutored Bell, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2003 in the sixth round. He also previously held the role of defensive coordinator at Kentucky State and at his alma mater, Savannah State.
McGriff played outside linebacker at Savannah State for three seasons and was named 1989 conference Male Academic Athlete of the Year. He received his bachelor’s degree while graduating cum laude from Savannah State in 1990 and earned a master’s in public administration from Georgia Southern in 1993.