AUBURN - Rodney Garner is coming home to Auburn.
Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner
The official announcement came Thursday night that Garner has agreed to join the Auburn staff as assistant head coach, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator after spending 12 years on Mark Richt's staff at Georgia.
Former Auburn great Tracy Rocker, the defensive line coach on the 2010 national championship team, will apparently not join Malzahn's staff.
First-year head coach Gus Malzahn welcomed Garner to his first Auburn staff.
“We excited to announce Rodney Garner as our assistant head coach and defensive line coach,” Malzahn said. “Rodney is one of the top defensive line coaches in college football who has had great success in the Southeastern Conference. We’re excited to welcome an Auburn man back home.”
Garner is renowned as one of the top recruiters in college football. And he will return to where it all began.
Neither Garner nor Georgia head coach Mark Richt would comment after Georgia's Thursday practice for its Jan. 1 game against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
"I'm not discussing any personnel stuff right now," Richt said.
In 2009, Garner turned down an offer to return to Tennessee. After the 2005 season, he turned down an opportunity to join Les Miles staff at LSU. He interviewed for the Auburn head coaching job before Gene Chizik was hired in December 2008.
Garner will be the fifth coach added to Malzahn's staff, joining defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, offensive line coach J.B. Grimes and defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison.
An All-SEC Auburn offensive lineman on Auburn's 1988 SEC championship team, Garner returned to Auburn in 1990 as a strength and conditioning coach and became tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. It was at Auburn that his recruiting prowess began to show.
After leaving Auburn, Garner coached tight ends and offensive tackles at Tennessee in 1996 and 1997. He moved to Georgia in 1998 and has been there since.
In the past 12 seasons, Garner has coached four NFL first round draft choices -- Richard Seymour (Patriots) and Marcus Stroud (Jaguars), both Pro Bowl starters; Charles Grant (Saints); and Johnathan Sullivan (Saints). He has also coached DeAngelo Tyson (7th, Ravens, '12), Corvey Irvin (3rd, Panthers, '09), Kedric Golston (6th, Redskins, '06), Emarlos Leroy (6th, Jaguars, '99), and free agent linemen Ken Veal (Chargers, '04), Paul Snellings (Colts, 2000), and Brandon Miller (Colts, 2000).
Garner participated in the inaugural Minority Coaches Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., in May, 2006. He was also selected one of 10 coaches from throughout the country to participate in the 2004 NCAA Expert Coaching Academy in Indianapolis and one of only 20 chosen for the NCAA's 2004 Advanced Coaching Academy in Orlando.
Garner and his wife have six children - Bridgett (26), Brielle (14), Jaiden (10), Kai (9), and Sydney and Milan (8).