Rodney Garner to Auburn: 'Richt is the main reason that I've stayed'

Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Richt lost a friend and excellent coach to Auburn when Rodney Garner decided it was time to move on.

The Georgia Bulldogs lost a big part of their coaching staff to the Auburn Tigers on Friday when Rodney Garner leaving the school was made official.

Garner has been with Georgia for quite some time - since 1998, to be exact - and served as the defensive line coach this season. Moving to Auburn, he will keep that role along with being the assistant head coach.

The move is effective immediately, meaning Garner will not help coach the Bulldogs in their Capital One bowl game, something that is surely disappointing to players and fans alike.

Garner says he has had plenty of chances to coach elsewhere over the past 15 years, but stayed at Georgia for many reasons, including head coach Mark Richt. Per dogbytesonline.com:

"I’ve had several opportunities to leave here for various places. Mark Richt is the main reason that I’ve stayed here as long as I have. I’m eternally grateful to coach (Jim) Donnan for giving me the opportunity to come here. I have tremendous respect for Jim. Me and him texted last night. I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for him. I really appreciate him and the kind of man he was bringing me here. I appreciate coach Richt giving me the opportunity to stay."

Before leaving the program, Garner talked to his defense, giving them a little insight into exactly what was going on. Per dogbytesonline.com:

"I did address the defense. Coach Grantham gave me an opportunity to do that. I spoke to them. It was tough. It was tough. It’s never an easy time. Leaving this staff, I was telling coach Richt it was the best staff I’ve ever been on. Everybody got along well. Everybody likes each other. Nobody has any agendas. It’s been an awesome experience. So it was a tough, tough decision. It sort of snowballed a little bit faster than what I wanted it to."

Garner leaves behind perhaps the best defense he's had in Georgia, with the likes of Jarvis Jones, Bacarri Rambo and others adorning the unit.

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