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February 7, 2011TUSCALOOSA _ A year after studying the Nick Saban way of coaching, Mike Groh is coming back to the University of Alabama to serve as his wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Sources tell BamaOnline that Alabama is expected to announce his hiring this week.
Groh, who spent last season at Charlie Strong's quarterbacks coach at Louisville, will replace Curt Cignetti, who was named the new head coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Before serving as a graduate assistant during Alabama's national championship season of 2009, Groh spent eight years as an assistant coach at Virginia, including three as the Cavaliers' offensive coordinator. When he was initially hired in 2001, he was the wide receivers coach before moving over to coach quarterbacks in 2003, and was also the recruiting coordinator in 2005.
Groh's father, Al, coached with Saban on the Cleveland Browns. Mike Groh was fired by his father after the 2008 season but was still paid his Virginia salary while helping the Crimson Tide win the 2009 national championship. Al Groh was fired as head coach after the 2009 season and replaced by Mike London.
As a player in 1994-95, Groh is the only quarterback in school history to lead the Cavaliers to nine wins and a bowl victory in consecutive seasons. As a co-captain in in 1995 he helped lead Virginia to a 9-4 record and a share of the ACC championship.
Groh returned to Virginia after spending the 2000 season as an offensive assistant/quality control coach for the New York Jets.
Other names linked to the opening included former Alabama graduate assistant Lance Taylor (an offensive assistant with the New York Jets, St. Louis Rams running backs coach Sylvester Croom, Kentucky wide receivers coach Tee Martin, former Clemson offensive coordinator Bill Napier, former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster and quality control assistant Derrick Crudup.
Martin was no longer a candidate after being promoted to "Passing Game Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach."
Croom may have been the most intriguing candidate due to his longstanding ties to the Capstone, although may have been positioning himself for a future opening. A standout player at Tuscaloosa High School, he because an All-American center for the Crimson Tide and for 11 years coached defensive players, both the inside (1977-81, 1984-86) and outside (1982-83) linebackers, on Paul W. "Bear" Bryant's staff.
In 2003 he was passed over for the Alabama head coaching job in favor of Mike Shula, and a year later was hired by Mississippi State, where he said: "I am the first African-American coach in the SEC, but there ain't but one color that matters here, and that color is maroon."
Croom has 19 years experience coaching in the National Football League, mostly running backs for Tampa Bay (1987-90), Indianapolis (1991), San Diego (1992-96), Green Bay (2001-03) and St. Louis (2009-10), and he was also Detroit's offensive coordinator (1997-200).
Taylor, a former Alabama walk-on receiver, was a GA in 2008 before spending a season coaching wide receivers at Appalachian State and moving on to the Jets.
"Really, honestly, it was amazing to watch Alabama and finally say we won the national championship again," Taylor told BamaOnline last spring. "I knew that we were building something special.
"Even though I had moved on, I had felt like I was part of helping build what they did last year. Of course it brings pride back and great memories of the Alabama of old and what people know Alabama as."
Crudup joined the Crimson Tide last season to serve as offensive quality control and helped out with the quarterbacks and wide receivers. The year before he was at Division II Stillman College, where he was the offensive coordinator and developed a relationship with the Alabama staff while helping out at camps.
The only other position needed to be filled is Associate Athletic Director for Football after Mike Vollmar stepped down to take the same position at Michigan. He's a native of Riverview, Mich., and graduated from Siena Heights in Adrian, Mich. Vollmar spent three seasons as assistant recruiting coordinator and in athletic administration under Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller at Michigan (1988-90), and his father James was a running back for the Wolverines (1956-58).
2010: Quarterback Coach Louisville
2006-2008: Offensive Coordinator, Quarterback Coach & Recruiting Coordinator Virginia
2005: Quarterback Coach & Recruiting Coordinator Virginia
2004: Quarterback Coach Virginia
2003: Quarterback Coach & Wide Receivers Coach Virginia
2001-2002: Wide Receivers Coach Virginia
2000: Assistant Coach New York Jets