Assistant coach Jay Graham cites 'mental health issues' for sudden resignation at Alabama

Cecil Hurt
Tidesports.com

Alabama tight ends coach Jay Graham said Wednesday that “mental health issues" and a need to seek professional help led to his sudden resignation from the football staff.  

"I am taking time away from football to seek professional help immediately, gain a better understanding of mental health and spend time with loved ones," Graham wrote on Twitter. "I hope to rebalance my life so that I am able to return to my passion of coaching and helping student-athletes achieve their dreams.

"While mental health issues are not new, they are often difficult to discuss, especially for coaches/athletes. I hope my voice inspires others that may be struggling to seek help. I would like to thank everyone for their support, grace and words of encouragement."

Earlier Wednesday,  UA in a school release said “Jay Graham has resigned his position effective immediately.”

There was no elaboration until Graham's tweet.

UA hired the 45-year-old Graham as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach on Feb. 1.

There was no announcement on Graham's  replacement  

Jay Graham is introduced as the new running backs coach during a press conference Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 at the University of Tennessee. Graham joins the Vols after three years as running backs coach at South Carolina. He was a Tennessee running back 1993-96. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Graham spent last season as Tennessee's running backs coach, a position he has also held at Texas A&M, South Carolina and Florida State. He spent five years at FSU from 2013-17, coaching running backs and coordinating special teams in four of those seasons.

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"Jay is well respected across the country for his knowledge of the game and his ability to recruit," Saban said at the time of Graham’s hiring. 

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt was dismissed on Jan. 18 in the wake of a report that indicated numerous potential Level 1 NCAA violations.

A Concord, North Carolina, native, Graham played running back at Tennessee from 1993-96, rushing for 2,609 yards during his career. That included 1,438 yards on 272 carries during his junior season.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or via Twitter @crcilhurt