Alabama defense coordinator Pete Golding joins Ole Miss
Pete Golding is leaving his job as Alabama’s defense coordinator for the same position at Ole Miss, sources told ESPN on Friday.
Golding has been at Alabama since 2018 under Nick Saban and has served as the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator for the past four seasons. Golding will replace Chris Partridge as Ole Miss’ defense coordinator.
Sources told ESPN that Golding’s decision to leave Alabama was his own and that he was not evicted, but that he felt it was the best move for him and his family. An official announcement regarding Golding’s hiring at Ole Miss is expected shortly.
Golding, 38, joins Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss. Kiffin is entering his fourth season as the Rebels’ head coach and recently signed a new contract that will net him around $9 million annually, including retention bonuses.
Kiffin was one of the top candidates for the job as Auburn’s head coach in November, but chose to stay with Ole Miss. Similar to Golding, Kiffin also worked under Saban in Alabama.
Golding’s defense in Alabama finished last season tied, finishing ninth nationally and second in the SEC on defense scores (18.2 points per game). The Crimson Tide led the SEC and ranked fourth nationally in yards per allowed game (4.59). All four of Golding’s Alabama defenses ranked in the top 20 in goal defense nationally.
The Crimson Tide have not had a top-five defense since 2017, when they led the country in legal points (11.9) under Jeremy Pruitt en route to winning the national championship.
Golding, who has consistently been among the nation’s top recruiters in Alabama, will be Kiffin’s third alternate defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. Under Partridge, who replaced DJ Durkin, the Rebels ranked ninth in the SEC in defense scored (25.5 points per game) last season. The 2021 Ole Miss defense improved to 51st nationally from 117th in points allowed under Durkin, but Durkin left after the 2021 season to take the job of Texas A&M defense coordinator.
Ole Miss started last season 7-0 and finished 11th overall in the College Football Playoffs. But the Rebels have lost five of their last six games, giving up more than 40 points in three of those losses.
Golding is the second defensive staffer to leave Alabama this offseason. Deputy defense coordinator and safety trainer Charles Kelly left the company last month to join Deion Sanders in Colorado.
There is also a strong possibility that the Crimson Tide could have changes on the offensive side of the ball. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is one of the top targets for the New England Patriots offensive coordinator job, sources told ESPN, and may have other opportunities in the NFL as well.
O’Brien has been Alabama’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons.