Navy loses McMackin to Miami

February 10, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

Greg McMackin, whose energetic demeanor and aggressive style of football were a hit with Navy players when he arrived as defensive coordinator before last season, is departing after one year at the academy to become an assistant coach at Miami, Fla.

McMackin, who said he simply couldn't decline the offer to coach at one of the nation's best football programs, will be announced today as Miami's defensive backs coach. He was scheduled to fly this morning to Miami for a news conference.

"It's just one of those things in the coaching profession where you have a great opportunity to coach at one of the top teams in the country," McMackin said yesterday. "I'm really excited."

While McMackin was expressing excitement, Navy coach George Chaump was left to find yet another defensive coordinator, who will be the team's fifth in as many seasons.

"I'm sorry to see him go, but this is what he wants," Chaump said. "He looks at it as a professional advancement opportunity. I'm disappointed because I wanted some stability in our program. Any time you have a program that has a lot of disruption, you have a problem."

Chaump said that a replacement for McMackin probably would come from within the Navy staff.

"I'd rather move from within because four changes in four years is a lot for the kids to endure," Chaump said. "We're just going to hold still for a while. I know that I don't want to change from the current defensive system."

McMackin is well-known in the ranks of college football for getting the most out of his players by using an attacking, swarming style. His arrival was considered a coup for Navy. Before arriving at the academy, he was defensive coordinator at Utah for two years, bringing the Utes from last in the country in team defense to first in the Western Athletic Conference in several categories.

It took McMackin two seasons to turn that program around, and he saw some similarities between Utah and the Navy team that had its problems defensively during the past 1-10 season.

"We were just about the same as where we were after one year at Utah," McMackin said. "I really felt that we were getting ourselves in a positive position. We played a lot of younger players who were going to get better."

Because of that -- and his close relationship with his players -- McMackin said he has mixed feelings about leaving. But the opportunity to join Miami and coach Dennis Erickson, a close friend of McMackin's, played a big role in the decision. Erickson, who was an assistant coach along with McMackin at San Jose State, discussed the job with his longtime friend at a coach's convention in Atlanta last month. The two met last week and finalized the deal.

"With the way things were going at Navy, I would rather have had this opportunity two or three years from now," McMackin said. "But you don't get many of these and if you turn it down, you may not get another one.

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