University of Pittsburgh head football coach Todd Graham announced the final appointment on his coaching staff today with the hiring of Randall McCray as safeties coach and special teams coordinator.
Entering his 21st year in the collegiate coaching ranks, McCray spent the 2010 season at Middle Tennessee State, where he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Prior to MTSU, he spent four years at Wisconsin (2006-09) and helped the Badgers to bowl berths each season.
"Randall McCray has an extensive and diverse background as a football coach," Graham said. "His experience and expertise will make him a great resource for our players and coaches alike. He is a tireless worker and recruiter whose players achieve a high level of success. I think Randall is an outstanding addition to our staff and will help us do things the Pitt way - with passion, character and integrity.
"With our coaching appointments now complete, we have turned our full-time attention to preparation for spring drills and the 2011 season," Graham continued. "While we've covered a lot of ground over the past month, we are still going to maintain a fast pace in the Pitt football offices in anticipation of hitting the practice field in another six weeks."
"My family and I are tremendously excited about joining an outstanding educational institution and historic football tradition like the University of Pittsburgh," McCray said. "Coach Todd Graham is a tremendous coach who values people and family, and we're appreciative of him giving us this special opportunity. I've had the privilege of working with both Coach Graham and Paul Randolph before and I'm excited to renew those ties. I'm looking forward to getting to know the young men in the program and building a championship future on and off the field at Pitt."
In his lone season at Middle Tennessee State, McCray helped the Blue Raiders earn a berth in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. His defense ranked 10th nationally in tackles for loss (7.38 TFLs/game) and 17th in quarterback sacks (2.62 sacks/game) while featuring the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year in end Jamari Lattimore. Among Sun Belt teams, MTSU yielded the lowest yards per rush and ranked second in pass efficiency defense.
At Wisconsin, McCray coached the defensive line (2006-07), outside linebackers (2008) and safeties (2009). He was the Badgers' recruiting coordinator his final two seasons in Madison.
Wisconsin went 38-14 during McCray's tenure, advancing to four consecutive bowl games. The 2006 Badgers featured one of the country's elite defenses en route to a 12-1 record and No. 5 ranking in the final USA Today coaches poll. Wisconsin limited opponents to just 12.1 points (second best nationally) and 253.1 yards (fifth best) per game that year. In 2009 the Badgers held every Big Ten opponent to less than 100 yards rushing, an unprecedented achievement in Wisconsin history.
Five of McCray's Wisconsin players were on NFL rosters this past season, including All-Big Ten defensive lineman Matt Shaughnessy, a member of the Oakland Raiders and 2009 Pro Football Writers' All-Rookie selection. Additionally, linebacker DeAndre Levy (Detroit Lions), defensive tackle Nick Hayden (Carolina Panthers), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (New Orleans Saints) and safety Chris Maragos (San Francisco 49ers) were in the professional ranks.
Prior to Wisconsin, McCray coached the defensive line and linebackers at Toledo from 2003-05. In his final season, McCray oversaw a defensive front that helped the Rockets to a 9-3 record, the Mid-American Conference West Division title and a 45-13 victory over UTEP in the GMAC Bowl. Toledo ranked 21st nationally in total defense that season (316.8 yards/game) and topped the MAC in four different defensive categories. McCray coached the linebackers at Toledo his initial two years, including the 2004 season when the Rockets captured the MAC championship with a 9-3 record.
McCray served as defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Illinois State from 2000-02. He was promoted to assistant head coach his final season with the Redbirds. McCray oversaw the development of All-America linebacker Boomer Grigsby, who was a finalist for the 2002 Buck Buchanan Award, annually presented to the top defensive player on the Football Championship Subdivision level. Grigsby went on to NFL stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins.
McCray has also coached two other All-America performers at linebacker, Galen Scott at Illinois State in 2000 and Ronnie Merritt at Murray State in 1998.
McCray handled inside linebackers at Murray State (1997-99) and became the Racers' defensive coordinator in 1999. His additional coaching appointments include defensive ends at Bethune-Cookman (1996), quality control at Clemson (1995), defensive line at Tennessee-Chattanooga (1993-94) and graduate assistant at South Carolina (1991-92).
A two-year letterman as an outside linebacker and running back at Appalachian State, McCray was a member of the Mountaineers' 1987 Southern Conference championship team, as well as two teams that advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
McCray earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Appalachian State in 1991 and a master's degree in higher education from South Carolina. A native of Monroe, N.C., McCray and his wife Michelle have a son, Matt, and a daughter, Mallory.
The complete listing of Todd Graham's assistant coaching staff:
Paul Randolph: executive associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator, defensive line
Calvin Magee: assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator, running backs
Mike Norvell: co-offensive coordinator, wide receivers, director of recruiting
Keith Patterson: defensive coordinator, linebackers
Tony Dews: tight ends
Todd Dodge: quarterbacks
Tony Gibson: cornerbacks, recruiting coordinator
Spencer Leftwich: offensive line
Randall McCray, safeties, special teams coordinator