The Tennessee coaching exodus continued Friday of this past week as defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza left the staff of Tennessee to join the staff at USC under coach Lane Kiffin.
Garza, who coached the Volunteer secondary under Kiffin in 2009, became the fourth assistant coach to follow Kiffin from Knoxville to Los Angeles.
The 40-year-old Garza is expected to continue his responsibilities with the USC defensive backfield. In his lone year at Tennessee, the Volunteers ranked 12th nationally in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense.
Garza brings 16 years of coaching experience to Kiffin’s staff (three more than Kiffin himself) and an extensive player’s résumé. After earning All-American and three-time All-State honors at Refugio High School in Texas, Garza started four years at the University of Texas playing in the defensive secondary.
Garza was named a Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year and a Freshman All-American for 1988, his first year with the Longhorns.
After his playing days ended, Garza worked as a graduate assistant with the Longhorns for three years before coaching defensive backs at Western Michigan and TCU.
Garza resigned from his position at TCU under the shadow of a DWI arrest, and joined the staff at North Dakota State, first as a defensive assistant. He then assumed the defensive coordinator position, which he held for three seasons before joining the staff at Tennessee.