Eddie Gran returns to Kentucky Football
LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – University of Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops has announced that Eddie Gran, former UK assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and running backs coach, will return to the program as a special assistant to the head coach, an off-the-field role.
“I’m grateful to have somebody with the experience of Eddie Gran rejoining our program in a different capacity,” Stoops said. “Eddie has a wealth of experience in many different areas. He will be an asset to me and our program.”
Gran served as the Wildcats’ assistant head coach of the offense, offensive coordinator and running backs coach from 2016-2020.
In 2016-18, UK had more than 2,000 rushing yards and 2,000 passing yards, the first time in school history that was accomplished in three consecutive seasons. And despite losing his top three quarterbacks to injury in 2019, Gran did a remarkable job of revamping the offense with Lynn Bowden Jr., a receiver-turned-quarterback. The Cats set new single-season records in rushing yards (3,624), rushing TDs (36) and yards per rushing attempt (6.32). Bowden won the Paul Hornung Award for the nation’s most versatile player and was a first-team All-American and All-SEC selection. Bowden became just the 10th player in school history to reach 4,000 all-purpose yards in a career, finishing with 4,660 career all-purpose yards for No. 5 on UK’s career list.
“Why would I come back? It’s simple. I love Kentucky. I love working with Coach Stoops and I want to be a positive role model in these young men’s lives,” Gran said. “I am excited to have the opportunity to return to this program and help any way I can. This place is special and it’s where I want to work and finish out my career.”
In 2016, after an early season injury to quarterback Drew Barker forced UK to revamp its offense, Gran’s running backs combined for more than 3,000 rushing yards, with Stanley “Boom” Williams and Benny Snell Jr. becoming the first two players in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. Snell earned Freshman All-America and was twice named SEC Freshman of the Week. Williams, who averaged an impressive 6.8 yards per carry in 2016, signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent.
Under Gran’s leadership, Snell ended his illustrious three-year career with a school-record 3,873 rushing yards and 48 TDs in 39 games. He joined Herschel Walker as the only two players in SEC history to rush for at least 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of their first three seasons.
Snell continued his onslaught on the UK record books, breaking or tying 14 school records during his career. He became the Wildcats’ all-time leading rusher in the Citrus Bowl, breaking the UK career rushing record of 3,835 yards held by Sonny Collins from 1972-75.
Snell was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 122nd pick in the fourth round in 2019, while Bowden was the 80th pick in the third round by the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2020 NFL Draft. He currently plays for the Miami Dolphins.
Before coming to Kentucky in 2016, Gran had coaching stops at Cincinnati, Miami (Fla.), Ole Miss, Auburn, Tennessee and Florida State. He helped develop dynamic running backs at nearly every coaching stop during his decorated career, including former Auburn stars Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown, Rudi Johnson, Ben Tate, Brandon Jacobs, Heath Evans and Kenny Irons, and Ole Miss greats Deuce McAllister and John Avery. While at Tennessee, he guided Montario Hardesty to a 1,000-yard season.
Gran also boasts an impressive record on the recruiting trail, succeeding throughout his career in Florida. He helped Florida State obtain the nation’s top-ranked class in 2011 and was named by ESPN.com as one of the top 25 recruiters of the year in 2011, helping secure a bevy of talent that helped the Seminoles to the national championship in the 2013 season.
Gran’s coaching career began at his alma mater Cal Lutheran, where he played four seasons as a wide receiver. He spent 14 seasons as a running backs coach and special team coordinator in the Southeastern Conference, including 10 years at Auburn, followed by a stop at Tennessee.
Gran has four daughters, Bently, Dillan, Sydney and Lucy Grace.
He is deeply involved in the community for a cause that has changed his life and continues to impact others. The Sydney Gran Foundation is a charity designed to support children’s hospitals and other families whose children are facing serious illness. Sydney, the third of the Gran’s four daughters, was born with the rare disease called Holoprosnecephaly. She passed away just shy of her sixth birthday in 2005. Additional information is available at www.sydneygranfoundation.org.