COLUMBIA — Will Muschamp has shaken up his football staff.
South Carolina hired Thomas Brown to coach its running backs Wednesday while tight ends coach Pat Washington will not return in 2019. USC’s Board of Trustees approved Brown’s contract and an extension and raise for offensive line coach Eric Wolford.
Brown received a two-year contract worth $300,000 per year while Wolford’s deal was amended. He had a two-year contract worth $600,000 per year through December 2018 and will now make $700,000 per year through the 2021 season.
Former running backs coach Bobby Bentley will coach USC’s tight ends in 2019. Washington, athletics director Ray Tanner said, is pursuing other opportunities.
“It was important that we have a new running backs coach on board,” Tanner said. “The recruiting cycle kicks back in and he needs to be on the road, so there was some urgency necessary.”
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Brown said in a statement. “I have great respect for coach Muschamp — I’ve known him for a long time. Obviously, I’ve been around coach (Bryan) McClendon. We played together at Georgia and worked together for a year at Georgia, and always talked about having the opportunity to get back on the same side together. This is a great place and I’m looking forward to it.”
Brown played at Georgia and amassed 2,646 rushing yards from 2004-07. Injuries short-circuited his NFL career and he returned to Georgia to coach.
He worked at Chattanooga, Marshall, Wisconsin and for a second stint at Georgia before joining former Bulldogs coach Mark Richt at Miami. Brown served as running backs coach throughout his career but was also Richt’s offensive coordinator with the Hurricanes.
Brown will have several experienced backs to work with in his first season with the Gamecocks, as Rico Dowdle, Ty’Son Williams and Mon Denson all return. A.J. Turner will also return, but it’s likely he will switch to defense after repping at cornerback for the last two games of the season (and playing corner in the Belk Bowl). USC also returns redshirt freshmen Deshaun Fenwick and Lavonte Valentine.
Brown can earn incentives if the Gamecocks hit one of several criteria. His buyout should he leave before May 2020 is $40,000.
Wolford’s buyout begins at $150,000 if he were to leave in 2019 and decreases by $50,000 per year through the life of his contract.