Jen Smith on UK Football

Eddie Gran signs contract extension, says ‘sky’s the limit’ for Kentucky football

Kentucky was third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing during Eddie Gran’s first season as offensive coordinator.
Kentucky was third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing during Eddie Gran’s first season as offensive coordinator. Ken Weaver

When Eddie Gran arrived at Kentucky, he wasn’t sure there was the same love for football that there was for basketball.

After one season in Lexington, the UK offensive coordinator is convinced that’s not the case. And he’s looking forward to growing the football program for a long time.

“When I came here, I always thought it was ‘Kentucky basketball. Kentucky basketball,’” he told the Herald-Leader recently after putting the finishing touches on a new contract that will keep him on Coach Mark Stoops’ staff through 2020.

“There is a hunger and that fires me up. It really gets you excited as a coach. The sky’s the limit for this place. I think it’s a gold mine.”

Gran’s new contract was announced Wednesday morning by the university along with new deals for defensive coordinator Matt House, special teams/outside linebackers coach Dean Hood and defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc.

The contract pays Gran $825,000 (a $175,000 increase from last season’s salary) yearly through June 30, 2018. In the second year of his deal, Gran will make $850,000, and in the final season, it jumps to $875,000.

“With this new facility and where they’re going, it’s exciting,” said Gran, who helped lead UK to its first bowl game since 2010. “I love living here. I’ve only been here a year, but we have an opportunity here to get a three-year contract and I couldn’t be more excited. I love this place.”

Gran has become a force on the recruiting trail since coming to Kentucky, using his longstanding ties to south Florida to help the Wildcats land several talented prospects from that region.

In the 2017 class, Gran was UK’s lead recruiter on seven signees, a haul that was second only to Wildcats recruiting ace Vince Marrow. 247Sports named Gran the nation’s top recruiter for the 2017 cycle in the south Florida area.

Gran landed two more recruits from Florida for the class of 2018 on Tuesday, and the Cats appear well positioned to mine that region for more prospects in the future.

House, who was promoted to defensive coordinator recently, signed a deal that keeps him at Kentucky through 2020 and pays him $650,000 a season.

The new deal for Hood is for $350,000 a season and keeps him on staff through June 30, 2019. The former Eastern Kentucky head coach joined Stoops’ staff after spending last season at Charlotte.

LeBlanc, who took over the defensive line after the departure of Jimmy Brumbaugh to become the co-defensive coordinator at Maryland, will make $300,000 a season and is on staff through 2019 as well.

Amended contracts for other Kentucky coaches are likely to be announced soon.