AUBURN, Ala. (WRCB/AUBURN) -- Long-time defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner is leaving the University of Georgia to "come home" to his alma mater.
The former Auburn offensive lineman was hired by the Tigers and new head coach Gus Malzahn Thursday night after 15 seasons in Athens. He'll serve as both defensive line coach and assistant head coach on The Plains.
"Auburn has always been a very special place for me and my wife, Kimberly, who is also an Auburn graduate," Garner said in a statement. "I owe a lot to Auburn and the men who helped mold me to who I am today both professionally and personally.
"I'm very appreciative to Coach Malzahn for this opportunity and I feel very strongly that I can be an asset to the program. I have a lot of love for Auburn and I felt this was a great chance to help give back to a place that has given me so much. I look forward to helping get Auburn back to where it belongs."
Garner was an All-SEC player at Auburn in 1988 and later served as the Tigers' recruiting coordinator from 1990-95. He spent two years at Tennessee before joining Jim Donnan's staff at Georgia in 1988. He's been working as one of Mark Richt's top assistants for the past 12 years.
"Rodney is one of the top defensive line coaches in college football who has had great success in the Southeastern Conference," said Malzahn. "It is great to welcome an Auburn man back home."
During his 15 years at Georgia, he has been part of a staff that led UGA to 117 victories, two SEC championships, five SEC Eastern Division titles, seven bowl victories, and six top ten finishes in the final national polls including No. 2 in 2007 and No. 3 in 2002.
Garner participated in the inaugural Minority Coaches Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., in May, 2006. He was also selected one of 10 coaches from throughout the country to participate in the 2004 NCAA Expert Coaching Academy in Indianapolis and one of only 20 chosen for the NCAA's 2004 Advanced Coaching Academy in Orlando.