Alabama has hired Pete Golding as a defensive assistant, coach Nick Saban announced after practice on Friday. TideSports first reported that Golding was the leading candidate to join the staff on Wednesday.
Golding joins the staff from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he was cornerbacks coach and defensive coordinator for the last two seasons. He spent two years before that as an assistant at Southern Miss, where he coached safeties.
“We are pleased to have Pete and his family join our staff at Alabama,” Saban said in a news release. “Pete is an exciting young coach, who has an outstanding reputation as both a teacher and recruiter. He will be a great fit in our organization with his knowledge of the game and his ability to relate to student-athletes. We are thrilled to welcome Pete and his family to Alabama.”
UT-San Antonio was 6-5 this season and finished 2016 6-7 with a loss in the New Mexico Bowl. The Roadrunners gave up 17.0 points per game this season, eighth best in the country and the best mark among teams outside the five major conferences. Golding’s unit ranked seventh nationally in yards per game allowed per game (287.8), third nationally in passing yards allowed (158.3), 25th in rushing yards allowed (127.7) and 23rd nationally in yards per play (4.98).
The Roadrunners’ defense forced 22 turnovers this year and only allowed opponents to convert on 34.85 percent of third downs.
“I have always had an incredible admiration for The University of Alabama and the organization Coach Saban has built in Tuscaloosa,” Golding said in the release. “Words can’t express how excited I am to have the opportunity to work for Coach Saban – it just doesn’t get any better for a defensive coach. There is such a rich tradition of success around this program, and I look forward to contributing to that success moving forward.”
Golding was a four-year starter at safety at Division II Delta State from 2002-05. He began his coaching career there as a graduate assistant in 2006, then moved on to Division II Tusculum College in Tennessee. He was defensive backs coach there in 2007, then elevated to defensive coordinator for the 2008-09 seasons.
He returned to Delta State as defensive coordinator in 2010-11, helping the program win the Division II national title in 2010. He then moved on to FCS Southeastern Louisiana, where he was defensive coordinator from 2012-13 and won the Southland Conference in 2013. He broke into FBS coaching in Hattiesburg. Golding is a native of Hammond, La.
Golding won’t be able to participate in on-field activities until January 9, the day after the national championship game. He was hired as Alabama’s 10th on-field assistant, the new position made available when the NCAA expanded football coaching staffs from nine assistant coaches to 10.
That means Alabama will still have to hire one more assistant coach. The staff has a vacancy with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt leaving to become head coach at Tennessee.
“We’ll address the other staff issues when we get finished playing,” Saban said. “I don’t have time right now to do a search, get ready for this game, recruit, have an early signing date and try to hire coaches, too. There’s just not enough time in the day. When we get more information about staff issues, we’ll certainly pass them along to you. But right now we don’t have any more information relative to that.”
Pruitt was not at practice on Friday, but is expected to return in time for Monday’s practice, Saban said. The dead period in recruiting begins on Monday.