PROVO — While newly hired BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes has never held that position at the collegiate level before, he brings a wealth and breadth of experience that he’s gained at some of the nation’s top programs.
During his 25-year coaching career, Grimes has spent years at various Power 5 schools, including Louisiana State, Auburn and Virginia Tech.
Meanwhile, he also served for three years as the Cougars’ offensive line coach, so he understands the unique circumstances at BYU.
News of Grimes’ hiring came to light Wednesday night and BYU made it official Thursday morning.
“I’m pleased to announce Jeff Grimes as the offensive coordinator at BYU,” coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement. “Jeff has great leadership ability and outstanding experience mentoring young men at the highest levels of college football. He has vast experience working with exceptional coaches and programs during his career, including here at BYU, and we welcome his return to Provo to oversee our offense.”
Grimes, who has been LSU’s offensive line coach and run game coordinator since 2014, will remain with the Tigers through LSU’s Citrus Bowl matchup with Notre Dame on Jan. 1.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to work, once again, at BYU. It is a special place, filled with extraordinary people and a rich football tradition,” Grimes, 49, said in a statement. “I want to say thank you to President (Kevin) Worthen, Vice President (Matt) Richardson, (athletic director) Tom Holmoe and coach Sitake for having faith in me and granting me this opportunity.
“I recognize that with this position comes a great deal of responsibility to all of Cougar Nation. I not only welcome this, but consider it a privilege,” he continued. “My family and I are looking forward to returning to Utah and are ripe with anticipation for many great Saturdays in the fall in LaVell Edwards Stadium.”
Grimes has worked on staffs with coaches like Ed Orgeron and Les Miles (LSU), Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech), Gene Chizik and Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Dan Hawkins (Colorado), Dirk Koetter (Arizona State), R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M) and Ken Hatfield (Rice).
When Grimes was at BYU from 2004-06, he served under head coaches Gary Crowton and Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Robert Anae.
During his playing career at UTEP from 1987-90, former BYU offensive lineman, and current Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach, Andy Reid was part of the Miners’ staff.
Among Grimes’ accomplishments — he coached Auburn’s offensive line during the Tigers’ 2010 BCS national championship season.
During that 2010 championship campaign, Auburn set school records for total yards (6,989) and points (577). The Tigers also finished No. 5 in the country in rushing yards per game (284.8) and led the SEC in scoring (41.2).
While at LSU, three of Grimes’ players were picked in the NFL draft and he coached nine players who received All-SEC recognition and three All-Americans. Behind Grimes’ offensive line, Leonard Fournette rushed for 1,853 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2015.
Grimes replaces Ty Detmer, who was relieved of his offensive coordinator duties two days after BYU’s season-ending win at Hawaii. The Cougars posted a 4-9 record last season and were among the bottom-10 in the nation in several statistical categories.
In his first tour of duty at BYU, Grimes helped the Cougars rank No. 5 in total offense (465.5 yards per game) and scoring (36.8 points per game). The Cougars also ranked and No. 13 in total offense (462.4 ypg) and No. 24 in scoring (33 ppg) in 2005.
During those years, running back Curtis Brown had 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2005 and 2006. Grimes coached offensive linemen like Scott Young, Dallas Reynolds, Lance Reynolds, Jr., Travis Bright and Ray Feinga, all of whom saw time with NFL teams.
Former BYU quarterback John Beck spent three seasons with Grimes on the Cougar coaching staff. He said Grimes is a great fit at BYU.
“For someone like him who had worked his way to an LSU, one of the biggest SEC schools, to leave there to come be the offensive coordinator at BYU, that tells me it was always in his plans to be an offensive coordinator,” Beck said. “He’s somebody that’s coming with an offense that he probably has taken bits and pieces of from everywhere he’s been. Now it’s his time to run what he’s always wanted to run. You don’t leave an LSU — he’s probably going to be paid less money. I would say for the last handful of years, his plan was to become an offensive coordinator somewhere. His input was always extremely valuable in the way he saw the run game. One of the things he did so well was the way he communicated on the sidelines with the players. Not every coach has the ability to communicate well. That’s one of the things I could feel on the sideline.”
While Grimes is not a member of the LDS Church, he understands what it’s like to coach at the LDS school.
When BYU announced that Detmer was being relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, the school also indicated that the new offensive coordinator would be making decisions about who will be on the offensive staff next season.
In its announcement Thursday, BYU stated that one of Grimes’ first responsibilities will be completing his staff, adding that “those announcements will be made once finalized.”
Last fall, Grimes saw BYU’s offense firsthand when LSU blanked the Cougars, 27-0. BYU’s offense never crossed the 50-yard line in that game.
Grimes, a native of Garland, Texas, and his wife, Sheri, have four children, daughters Bailey and Jada and sons Garrison and Greydon.