Former MTSU Football Coach Coming Back to Tennessee to Coach

Feb 06, 2023 at 07:00 am by bryan

SEWANEE, Tenn. - The University of the South announced on Friday afternoon that former Middle Tennessee State University head coach and Georgia Tech defensive coach Andy McCollum has been named the 32nd head football coach at Sewanee. 

The department made the announcement as a part of a press conference in Convocation Hall. 

"In the long and storied tradition of Sewanee Athletics, our coaches have always been teachers and educators first, but they are also mentors, advisors, and leaders in our campus community," said Director of Athletics John Shackelford. "In Coach Andy McCollum, we have found a walking bear hug that embraces challenges as opportunities, and solves those problems by loving his students harder—with the care of a parent, the steady discipline of a school principal, and the wisdom that comes with a lifetime of experience. The student-athletes who will represent Sewanee on the field will know that the wind is at their back, because Hurricane Andy has landed on the mountain."

Coaching on the gridiron for over 40 years, McCollum has been a part of eight bowl games, two appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Championships and has seen more than a dozen players move on to play professionally. 

After playing at Austin Peay State University and serving two coaching stints at Middle Tennessee State University, McCollum was ready to make the move back to the mid-state. 

"The opportunity to return to the State of Tennessee to continue developing my long-standing relationships with high school football coaches throughout the area is coming home for me, and I could not get here fast enough," said McCollum. 

McCollum returns to the Volunteer State after serving as the chief of staff and senior defensive analyst for the University of Buffalo (N.Y.) for two seasons. The 2022 season saw the Bulls pick up a win in the Camellia Bowl. 

Prior to his time in New York, he was on staff at Western Carolina University (N.C.) during the 2020 season as the program's defensive coordinator. 

Before his stint with the Catamounts, he was a part of the Georgia Tech football program for 10 seasons, splitting time between the defensive line, linebackers, and the secondary. Tech's 2015 defense ranked sixth nationally in fewest first downs allowed and first in the nation in defensive improvement on third down, while the 2018 squad ranked fourth overall in total defense in the ACC.

During his tenure with the Ramblin' Wreck, his teams made it to six bowl games and won two Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coastal Division Championships. Winning the Sun Bowl in 2012 and the TaxSlayer Bowl in 2016, the program's signature bowl win came in 2014.

Recording a division title and an 11-3 record, the Yellow Jackets knocked off the Bulldogs of Mississippi State to win the Orange Bowl. Georgia Tech finished the season ranked No. 6 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls. 

He also saw two NFL draft picks while at Tech and coached three All-ACC honorees. 

Leading the recruiting efforts for the Yellow Jackets from 2009-17, he had two top-10 classes in the conference and a national top-25 ranking in 2018, according to Rivals. One of his top recruits is two-time Super Bowl champion Shaq Mason, a 2015 fourth-round draft pick of the New England Patriots where he is currently starting at offensive guard. While at Tech, Mason earned First Team All-ACC honors in 2013 and 2014, as well as a first-team All-America selection in 2014.

Prior to his time in Atlanta, McCollum was a linebackers coach for North Carolina State University, where he coached four players who were later drafted into the NFL. 

After spending the fall of 2006 with the Tennessee Titans as an advance scout and defensive assistant, McCollum led the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State for seven seasons from 1999 to 2005. Posting a 34-45 record overall, he successfully led the program from an FCS (I-AA) program to a Football Bowl Division (I-A) program. Playing as an independent in 1999 and 2000, McCollum's 2001 squad, in its first season in the Sun Belt, recorded an 8-3 record and were co-champions of the league. 

Posting four straight seasons of top recruiting classes in the Sun Belt, he was named the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2001. 

The first 18 years of his coaching career included serving assistant roles at Middle Tennessee (1981-88), Texas El Paso (1989-93) and Baylor (Texas) (1994-98). Amid that run was a three-month stint under Phillip Fulmer at the University of Tennessee in the spring of 1995.

While at Baylor, McCollum was a part of a team that went to the Alamo Bowl in 1994. While with the Bears, he wore multiple hats on the defensive side, which led to being named the associate head football coach and defensive and special teams Coordinator in 1995 and 1996. 

During his time as an assistant at MTSU, he worked under Boots Donnelly and was a part of two FCS appearances. In 1984, the Blue Raiders were a semifinalist at the championship, and in 1985, they finished as a quarterfinalist. 

Playing at Marietta High School, McCollum was a three-year starter under center and was the Cobb County Player of the Year in 1976. Named to the Marietta High School Hall of Fame in 2010, he was named the North Georgia Athlete of the Year in 1977. 

His college playing days saw him at Austin Peay, where he was an offensive guard his freshman year. From 1978 to 1980, he switched to receiver and tight end. 

McCollum graduated from Austin Peay State University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science. In 1983, he earned a Masters of Science from Middle Tennessee State University. 

"I am looking forward to representing the University of the South as the head football coach with tremendous energy and enthusiasm in the opportunities the Sewanee culture provides for the student-athlete and the campus community," said McCollum. "Sewanee has an excellent reputation for its tremendous educational, cultural, and environmental opportunities. I, and my energetic staff, look forward to expanding the Sewanee football reputation with pride and winning." 

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