ATHENS — Jim Chaney, a former SEC offensive coordinator who spent this past season in the same job at Pittsburgh, has been hired to run Georgia’s offense.
The announcement was made official by Georgia on Saturday, along with confirmation that Sam Pittman, who worked with Chaney at two spots between 2012-14, will be the new offensive line coach.
“Jim and Sam are highly respected nationally as individual coaches, but together we have a tandem that has worked along side each other before in the SEC and been extremely productive and successful,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement.
Georgia’s school plane filed a flight plan to go to Pittsburgh on Saturday morning. The idea for Georgia would be for new head coach Kirby Smart to introduce Chaney — who coached Drew Brees in college — to five-star quarterback recruit Jacob Eason, who is in Athens this weekend.
Chaney, who will turn 54 in January, has had mixed success as an offensive coordinator, but he offers experience and a varied background in offensive systems. He has run pass-heavy offenses, but also the power-running attack at Arkansas.
He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh this year, where the Panthers ranked 76th in the nation in total offense, and ninth in the ACC at 381 yards per game.
Prior to that Chaney was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Arkansas from 2013-14, and at Tennessee from 2009-12. Under Chaney, the Razorbacks ranked 45th in total offense in 2014, but 106th the prior year.
Chaney was with the St. Louis Rams from 2006-08 as offensive line coach and then tight ends coach. And prior to that he was at Purdue from 1997-2005.
Chaney is a native of Missouri and attended Central Missouri State.
When Chaney was hired at Pittsburgh last year, Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi called him a “brilliant quarterbacks coach.” Narduzzi also said Chaney “has the expertise to run different offenses and tailor game plans to his personnel’s strengths.”
That would gel with what Smart said he wanted when asked about his offensive system last Monday. Smart said his philosophy boils down to “go get good players and get them the ball.”
“Now to say are you going to be spread or are you going to be pro? I don’t think you can pigeon hole yourself into that,” Smart said. “I like to think you’ve got to be both in both situations. You’ve got to utilize the talent you have on your team. What kind of players do you have on your team? What does it set up to be successful?”
Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi released a statement announcing the departure of Chaney, who will not coach with the Panthers in their bowl.
“On behalf of our entire program, I would like to thank Jim for his contributions to Pitt,” Narduzzi’s statement said. “His hard work was very important as we established our program in this first year. In addition to being an excellent football coach, he is a tremendous person and we wish him and his family the best.”