Feb. 11, 2010
Jimmy Kiser, a veteran Vanderbilt coach best known for mentoring quarterback Jay Cutler to Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2005, has been elevated to offensive coordinator, Commodore Head Coach Bobby Johnson said Thursday.
The promotion of Kiser, who formerly served as the team's quarterback coach and co-passing game coordinator, is the key element in an reassignment of duties that affects four offensive coaches following the unit's disappointing performance last year.
"I'm excited about the opportunity, and excited about continuing to work with a group of great coaches," Kiser said. "All of us will be focused on the same goal, to make sure we are doing everything possible to get better as an offense and give our team the very best chance for victory."
Duties for Kiser, former coordinator Ted Cain, running backs coach Des Kitchings and wide receiver mentor Charlie Fisher are affected by Johnson's reassignment.
"After much examination of our staff dynamics," Johnson said. "I believe these changes will give us the best combination of leadership and responsibilities for our offensive staff.
The offensive staff reassignments include:
Promotion of Kiser as offensive coordinator. He will continue to mentor Commodore quarterbacks.
Kitchings, entering his third year on the staff, adds duties of running game coordinator to his role as running backs coach.
Fisher will become passing game coordinator after sharing those duties with Kiser for the last four years.
Cain continues as tight ends coach and becomes the Commodores' special teams coordinator.
The reassignments will not affect Robbie Caldwell, the team's Assistant Head Coach and offensive line coach.
The move by Johnson comes following a two-year lack of offensive production by the Commodores. While the team's defense ranked among the SEC's upper half and high nationally in 2008-09, the offense has lagged behind league teams in many statistical categories. The lack of production since the 2006 season can be traced to several elements, including unexpected departures in personnel, career-and season-ending injuries to top players, and inexperience at several key positions.
A coordinator at North Carolina State from 1997-99 and Memphis at 2001, Kiser's promotion comes a year after he took over responsibility for calling Vanderbilt offensive plays.
"I've been pleased with Jimmy's play calling. I now want to give him the responsibility to take charge of the process of determining what plays will be called in all situations. I also feel the quarterback needs to be comfortable with and capable of executing the call. In our offense, the quarterbacks coach would know that better than anyone," Johnson said.
The head coach also praised Cain's service to the Commodore program. "Coach Cain has worked extremely hard and will continue to be a valuable resource for our new offensive coordinator and as our new special teams coordinator," Johnson said.
No changes were made to the defensive staff where Johnson is looking to replace recently departed linebacker coach Warren Belin.