Wesley McGriff out as Ole Miss’ defensive coordinator

Posted on Nov 24 2018 - 6:00am by Justin Dial

Wesley McGriff will not return to the Ole Miss sideline next season, head coach Matt Luke announced on Friday. The decision to fire McGriff comes after a 35-3 loss to in-state rival Mississippi State on Thanksgiving, a game in which the Bulldogs racked up 309 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

McGriff has served as the Rebels’ defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, his second stint in Oxford after being a part of the Ole Miss coaching staff in 2012 as the co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach.

“I want to thank Wesley (McGriff) for his hard work and dedication to Ole Miss,” Luke said. “Despite the challenges his unit faced this season, we can be better on that side of the ball, and I determined new leadership is needed.”

Associate head coach and defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff speaks at a press conference ahead of the 2017 season. File photo by Marlee Crawford

The McGriff-led Rebel defense ranked No. 123 nationally (out of 129 teams) in total defense this season. The team gave up an average of 489.2 yards per game to opponents, which was good for last in the SEC. For comparison, Vanderbilt, the second-worst defense in the SEC, ranked No. 98 in total defense.

McGriff’s departure comes on the heels of a 5-7 season and a five-game losing streak that saw the Rebels allow 30+ points in all five contests. During the past two years under McGriff’s watch, Ole Miss has held its opponent to less than 20 points just once, and under 30 only eight times in 24 games.