Tony Elliott and the Virginia Cavaliers coaching staff enter the 2023 season facing a unique challenge. Both on and off the field, they’ll navigate uncharted waters. Here, we look at how they’ll work with the players on the field to help elevate their games.
Virginia Cavaliers Coaching Staff 2023
Head Coach, Tony Elliott
Tony Elliott waited for the right opportunity to become a head coach, and he took it when Virginia came calling. He’s endured a unique time with the Cavaliers so far, but he’s proved to be the right guy for the job.
Before assembling a coaching staff for the Cavaliers, Elliott ran some of the most explosive offenses in the country for the Clemson Tigers. He helped lead them to multiple national championship game appearances, including two titles. Before Clemson, he also worked at Furman and South Carolina State with their wide receivers.
Offensive Coordinator, Des Kitchings
After working with the Atlanta Falcons as a running backs coach, Des Kitchings returns to the collegiate level to call plays for Elliott. Before going to the professional level, he helped produce multiple 1,000 yard players at South Carolina and NC State.
With the Gamecocks, he helped Kevin Harris rush for 1,000 yards, the first South Carolina running back to eclipse the mark since 2013. At NC State, he produced three straight 1,000-yard rushers. Virginia has the depth to continue that tradition, and the coaching staff feels in good hands with Kitchings calling plays.
Defensive Coordinator, John Rudzinski
Entering his second season with the Cavaliers coaching staff, John Rudzinski already made an impact on this program. His pass defense finished 3rd in the ACC, and elevated a number of players to new heights.
Before coming to Charlottesville, Rudzinski spent 14 years at Air Force (his alma mater), with the final four seasons serving as the defensive coordinator. In his final season there, the Falcons finished 10-3.
Special Teams Coordinator, Keith Gaither
After spending multiple years with Army as the wide receivers coach, Gaither came to the Virginia coaching staff to run special teams. He helped Daniel Sparks lead the ACC in punting average in just his first year with the program.
While Army isn’t known for their wide receivers, Gaither helped Isiah Alston have a breakout year. He also spent time at Western Michigan and ECU, where his impact at those schools was more noticeable. Gaither will also coach the running backs for the Cavaliers.
Quarterback Coach, Taylor Lamb
Former Appalachian State great Taylor Lamb enters his second year as the quarterbacks coach for the Virginia Cavaliers coaching staff. His knowledge of the game helped him plenty in coaching, where he started as a graduate assistant with South Carolina in 2018 and 2019 before coaching the quarterbacks at Gardner-Webb in 2020 and 2021.
Wide Receiver Coach, Adam Mims
Entering his first year as a position coach with Virginia, Adam Mims takes over the wide receivers for the Cavaliers coaching staff. He previously spent three years with UT-Chattanooga, Tennessee Tech, and Presbyterian before coming to Charlottesville.
Offensive Line Coach, Terry Heffernan
Heffernan joined the Cavaliers coaching staff this year, bringing both collegiate and professional experience with him. He spent the past two season as the offensive line coach for Stanford. Before that, he coached for the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions in the NFL and coached at Eastern Kentucky, Wayne State, Louisville, and Michigan.
Defensive Tackles Coach, Kevin Downing
An underrated part of the Cavaliers coaching staff, Kevin Downing helped current Virginia defensive tackle Aaron Faumui break out last year. Virginia showed great improvement in limited explosive plays thanks to the play up front.
Defensive Ends Coach, Chris Slade
All eyes are on Chico Bennett Jr. and Kameron Butler thanks to Chris Slade. He helped the defensive ends improve their production last year, recording 12.0 tackles for loss and 10.0 sacks between the two of them. Slade is a former Cavalier who is a 2-time All-American for the Cavaliers who also played 9 years in the NFL and also won a Super Bowl.
Linebacker Coach, Clint Sintim
Sintim switched from the defensive line to linebackers last year, and he helped former Virginia star Nick Jackson post his 3rd consecutive 100-tackle season. He’s a former Cavalier who came back to his alma mater after coaching at Delaware and Richmond.
Defensive Back Coach, Curome Cox
Curome Cox also serves as the passing game coordinator for the defense and defensive coordinator John Rudzinski. Cox coached defensive backs at Air Force, UConn, and Coastal Carolina before coming to Virginia.