The Southeastern Conference is considered by many as the elite conference in college football, and it is not everyday you see a coach make a lateral move to a team outside of the SEC. However unlikely such a move might seem, that is exactly what has happened today. LSU’s offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has accepted the same position at Maryland, and according to sources the deal is for three years, and $500,000 per year. Crowton, an alumnus of Brigham Young University, has a history of working with Randy Edsall, as both coached at Boston College under Tom Coughlin. He becomes the third coach on the current staff to have worked with Edsall previously, and the third with head coaching experience.
In 2007, his first season as LSU’s offensive coordinator, the Tigers dominated on offense averaging 38.6 points per game, and it marked only the sixth time in school history LSU had a 1,000 yard rusher, and a 2,000 yard passer. The 2007 team set ten school records on offense and the Tigers won the National Championship, but every year since 2007 has been a different story. While LSU continues to win games in arguably the toughest conference in America, Crowton’s offenses have been anything but spectacular. In 2009 and 2010, LSU finished eleventh, out of twelve, in the SEC on offense. Only Vanderbilt, a perennial last place team, was worse. Although his offenses have backslid the last few years, Crowton was expected to return to LSU this past season. It was only when LSU head coach Les Miles entertained going to Michigan, that Crowton began listening to other opportunities.
Crowton has had other stops as an offensive coordinator at Oregon, Louisiana Tech, Georgia Tech, and the Chicago Bears. Twice a college head coach, he led BYU for four years, and Louisiana Tech for three seasons, and has a career head coaching record of 47-36. His 2001 BYU team averaged 543 yards per game, and finished the season 12-2. While at Louisiana Tech, he coached first round NFL draft pick wide receiver Troy Edwards, and his quarterback Tim Rattay finished tenth in the Heisman Trophy voting. During his two year stretch in the Pac-10, his 2005 Oregon team ranked eighteenth nationally in total offense.
Though he has his share of detractors, many in college football consider Crowton as a brilliant offensive mind. Terrapin fans were expecting Randy Edsall to make a splash when he hired an offensive coordinator, and that is exactly what he has done here. Despite Crowton’s last few seasons at LSU, and the knocks against his track record as a recruiter, he must be considered a big-name hire for the Terps. A coordinator from a top SEC team making a lateral move to come to College Park, and with him a resume that includes a National Championship, experience coaching in the Pac-10 and SEC, seven years of head coaching experience, experience as an NFL coordinator, and seven quarterbacks drafted by NFL teams.