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Troy University names Kentucky assistant Jon Sumrall as new head football coach

·3 min read

The University of Kentucky’s football coaching staff will look different next season.

Jon Sumrall, UK’s co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach, has been hired as the head coach at Troy University. He succeeds Chip Lindsey, a former offensive coordinator at Auburn who was fired in November before the Trojans’ final game.

Troy officially announced Sumrall’s hire via a video posted to social media Thursday night. An introductory press conference is scheduled for noon Monday.

“Jon Sumrall exceeded all the criteria we had when searching for a new leader for our football program,” Troy Athletic Director Brent Jones said in a news release. “He is a proven winner and a dynamic recruiter that will continue to build upon our championship legacy. In Jon, we have a leader who is energetic, intense and brings a level of passion that is unmatched. He fully understands our championship expectations and has a comprehensive plan to take Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference and the Group of Five.”

Sumrall, a Huntsville, Ala., native, spent the last three seasons at UK after a one-year stint coaching linebackers at Ole Miss.

This isn’t the first time an assistant under Mark Stoops has left to become the head coach at Troy; Neal Brown, after running the Wildcats’ offense for two seasons, was named head coach of the Trojans. He led them for four seasons (2015-2018) before taking the same role at West Virginia, where he is still coaching.

Sumrall, 39, was an assistant under Brown from 2015-2017. The Trojans in 2016 went 10-3, their first time winning double-digit games since becoming a Football Bowl Subdivision member in 2001. In 2017 they followed it up with an 11-2 finish and a Sun Belt Conference championship. Both seasons ended with bowl victories.

Sumrall played three seasons at UK, from 2002 to 2004, and led the Wildcats in tackles with 72 as a senior. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Rich Brooks in 2005 and 2006 before spending the next five seasons in various roles at San Diego. He coached three years at Tulane before joining Brown at Troy.

“Troy University and the Troy community left an indelible mark on our family,” Sumrall said in the release. “I am humbled and extremely grateful to Dr. (Jack) Hawkins, Brent Jones and the entire selection committee for their trust in me to lead this storied football program. Ginny and I fell in love with Troy and can’t wait to return home and reconnect with the tremendous fan base. Troy football has a proud tradition of success, and I look forward to leading this program back to a championship level.”

Throughout the 2021 season, Sumrall’s history with the school and past success on the recruiting trail have been cited as reasons why Troy would look to hire him if it were to make a change. Recruiting website 247Sports lists Sumrall as the lead recruiter for two of UK’s commits in the class of 2022 — receiver Jordan Anthony and defensive back DeCarlos Nicholason. Anthony is a three-star prospect out of Tylertown, Miss., while Nicholson is considered the No. 1 junior-college cornerback in the country. He played this season for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

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