The Virginia Tech Athletics Department and head football coach Frank Beamer Friday announced the hiring of Stacy Searels as the new offensive line coach. Searels will begin his duties with Tech immediately. Searels, who has coaching stops at BCS powerhouses Texas, Georgia and LSU, replaces Jeff Grimes, who resigned in January to accept a job at lsu.
Searels is the former offensive line coach at Texas, Georgia and LSU, and was an All-America offensive lineman as a player at Auburn. At Texas, he was promoted to assistant head coach for the Longhorns just prior to the 2012 Alamo Bowl.
In 2013, his final season in Austin, Searels’ line enabled the Longhorns to finish 36th in the country in rushing offense and 17th in sacks allowed per game. Trey Hopkins was named first-team All-Big 12 while Donald Hawkins secured a spot on the second team. In 2012, the offensive line, which was without a senior starter, allowed the opposition to post just 4.1 tackles for loss per game, which ranked tied for third in the country. Offensive guard Mason Walters and Hopkins, both all-league selections, led a unit that allowed just 1.2 sacks per contest, a mark that tied for the 23rd-lowest total in the FBS. The Texas offense also finished 23rd in the nation in scoring offense with 35.7 points per game.
During his first season at Texas, Searels helped the Longhorns rank 21st nationally and third in the Big 12 with 210.4 rushing yards per game. His unit paved the way for two 400-yard rushing games and six outings with 200 or more rushing yards. The 441 rushing yards against Kansas and 439 vs. Texas Tech were two of just six 400-yard rushing performances by Texas since 1980. Senior offensive guard David Snow earned first-team All-Big 12 honors and went on to sign a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills, while sophomore offensive guard Mason Walters was named to the second team. Offensive tackle Josh Cochran (first team) and center Dominic Espinosa (second team) both earned freshman All-America honors.
Searels joined the Longhorns after coaching the offensive line at Georgia for four seasons (2007-10). He added the duties of running game coordinator in 2009. During his time in Athens, the Bulldogs ranked in the top 25 in the nation in fewest sacks allowed three times, including ranking sixth and leading the SEC in 2009 with just 12.
In 2010, Georgia finished the season ranked 30th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 32.1 ppg. That included a seven-game stretch to end the regular season where the offensive line helped the team average 41.0 ppg. During that time, the Bulldogs scored no fewer than 31 points and topped the 40-point mark five times. Senior Clint Boling led the line and was named to the Pro Football Weekly All-America Team, along with being a first-team All-SEC selection.
Boling also earned first-team All-SEC honors in 2008 and 2009 under Searels. In 2009, Georgia completed an 8-5 season with a win over Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl. The Bulldogs averaged 161.0 rushing yards per game and ranked sixth in the nation in fewest sacks allowed.
In 2008, Searels took a line that was led by Boling, but also featured three freshman starters, and the unit ranked among the best in the nation in fewest sacks allowed, giving up just 17 (21st NCAA). The offense also ranked 22nd in total offense (426.0 ypg), 29th in scoring offense (31.5 ppg) and 16th in passing offense (277.7 ypg).
Even while blocking for a high-powered passing attack, the line helped running back Knowshon Moreno garner All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association and become a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, while averaging 107.7 rushing yards per game. Georgia finished the season 10-3 and ranked No. 13/10 after defeating Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl.
In his first season at Georgia, as in 2008, Searels was faced with starting three freshmen, one of whom was Boling, whom he helped tutor into Freshman All-America honors in 2007. He also guided center Fernando Velasco into becoming a second-team All-SEC selection. Behind that line, Moreno earned first-team All-SEC honors and the Bulldogs completed an 11-2 campaign that ended in a Sugar Bowl win over Hawaii and a final ranking of No. 2/3. The offense averaged 177.2 rushing yards per game, while ranking 34th in the nation in scoring offense (32.6 ppg) and 13th in fewest sacks allowed (15).
Searels arrived at Georgia in January 2007, after serving four years coaching the offensive line at lsu from 2003-06. During that time, the Tigers won a national championship (2003), a SEC Championship (2003), and two SEC West titles (2003 and 2005), while compiling a 44-8 record.
LSU’s offensive unit in 2006 finished first in the SEC in total offense (417.5 ypg/11th NCAA) and scoring offense (33.7 ppg/ninth NCAA), second in rushing offense (165.8/31st NCAA) and third in passing offense (251.7/18th NCAA) and fewest sacks allowed (19/24th NCAA). The Tigers closed that season ranked third in both polls with an 11-2 record.
Searels made a habit of producing All-America linemen for lsu. He coached two first-team All-Americans in Stephen Peterman and Rimington Award winner Ben Wilkerson and a second-team All-America selection in Andrew Whitworth. Five of his Tigers’ linemen earned spots on NFL rosters.
In addition, during that four-year stretch, LSU’s offensive line produced a pair of first-team Academic All-Americans in Rodney Reed and Rudy Niswanger. lsu had an offensive lineman named first-team Academic All-America in four straight years. Niswanger became one of the most decorated student-athletes in school history in 2005, winning the Draddy Trophy as college football’s top scholar-athlete, as well as being the inaugural recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy.
In Searels’ first season at LSU, the Tigers went 13-1 and won the 2003 national championship with a 21-14 win over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The offense finished the season ranked 19th in the nation in scoring offense (33.9 ppg), 27th in rushing offense (185.7 ypg), 31st in total offense (418.4 ypg) and 11th in pass efficiency (149.0).
Searels joined the staff at lsu after a two-year stint as offensive line coach at Cincinnati. While with the Bearcats, Cincinnati played in two bowl games, as well as winning the school’s first conference title since 1964 by capturing the 2002 Conference USA crown.
Prior to joining Cincinnati, Searels served as an assistant coach at Appalachian State from 1994-2000, helping the I-AA Mountaineers to five playoff appearances and a pair of Southern Conference titles. While at Appalachian State, Searels was presented with the NCAA Award of Valor, recognizing him for his act of courage following a head-on collision involving a van carrying members of the Mountaineers’ football team and support staff on Sept. 30, 2000.
Searels got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Auburn in 1992, working with a Tigers squad that posted a perfect 11-0 mark in 1993.
A three-year starter on the offensive line at Auburn, Searels earned first-team All-America honors from both the Associated Press and Football News as a senior in 1987. He blocked for Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson in 1985 and All-America Brent Fullwood in 1986. Searels was a first-team All-SEC selection as both a junior and senior, and he was honored with the team’s Ken Rice Award as the school’s best blocking lineman in 1987. He played in both the Japan Bowl and the Senior Bowl before becoming a fourth-round draft pick by the San Diego Chargers in 1988. He played two seasons with the Chargers before moving to the Miami Dolphins in 1990, where they made the playoffs that season. He ended his professional career in 1991 with the New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football.
A native of Trion, Ga., Searels graduated from Auburn with a degree in marketing and transportation in 1990. He added a master’s degree in higher education administration from Auburn in 1995.
Searels is married to the former Patricia Hale, and they have two daughters, Taylor and Savannah.