Who is Mike MacIntyre?

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Rebels have finally found their new defensive coordinator. Ole Miss hired former Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre over the weekend to lead the defense. MacIntyre will take over for Wesley McGriff at defensive coordinator, now leading a unit that ranked 120th in the country this past season in total defense. This all leads to one simple question: who is Mike MacIntyre?

MacIntyre is the son of a coach and a former college safety at Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. He began his coaching career in 1990 as a graduate assistant at Georgia before bouncing around a variety of defensive assistant jobs the 1990s. He landed at Ole Miss for the first time in 1999, where he coached wide receivers for two years and defensive backs for two more years under David Cutcliffe. Current Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke was a graduate assistant the Ole Miss squad in 1999.

Following time at Ole Miss, MacIntyre went to the NFL for five seasons, coaching defensive backs for the Cowboys and Jets. He would rejoin Cutcliffe at Duke in 2008, where he served as the defensive coordinator for two years. Matt Luke was Duke’s co-offensive coordinator at the time. MacIntyre’s time at Duke was enough to land him his first head coaching job, coaching San Diego State for three years.

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His first power-five head coaching job was at Colorado. MacIntyre’s run with the Buffalo’s was up and down, but he coached the team for six years before his firing in November. In 2016, MacIntyre led the Buffalos to a 10-4 record, winning the Pac-12 South for the first time in program history in route to winning the Walter Camp Coach of the year Award.

The team struggled the past two seasons, after the 2016 highs. Finishing 5-7 in 2017 and 5-6 in 2018 was enough to eventually get MacIntyre fired from Colorado. Despite the struggles, the defense played well – a good sign for things to come in Oxford. This past season, despite a 5-7 record and dropping their final seven games, MacIntyre’s defense allowed only 27.3 points per game and ranked 47th nationally in Football Outsiders’ FEI defensive efficiency ratings.

As mentioned, he’ll be taking over one of the worst defensive units in the SEC. Ole Miss’ defense surrendered 36.2 points per game in 2018, last in the SEC. They were the 106th best team in the nation, defensively, by FEI efficiency. After a disappointing season for the Rebels, the whole staff is feeling pressure, as noted by the firing of McGriff and Luke’s passionate message at his end of season press conference. They’re hoping the hiring of MacIntyre can help turn around the league’s worst unit, making them at least competitive in the Southeastern Conference.