Georgia Tech has removed the interim tag and named Brent Key its permanent head football coach, the school announced on Tuesday. Key led the Yellow Jackets to a 4-4 record to finish out the 2022 season after replacing Geoff Collins, who was fired on Sept. 26.
"I am so proud and grateful to be the head coach at my alma mater, Georgia Tech," Key said in a statement. "I can't thank President Cabrera, J and everyone that had a hand in the search enough for the faith that they have in me to lead our program. Like I've said many times over the past two months, I love this team, and I couldn't be more excited to be their head coach. We will work unbelievably hard to make our fans, alumni and former players very proud of this program. Thank you to everyone who has supported our team over the past two months, and we thank you in advance for your continued support as we begin working towards next season. Go Jackets!"
Key's first game as coach of the Yellow Jackets was a 26-21 road win over then-No. 24 Pittsburgh, and he followed it up with a 23-20 overtime win over Duke. The signature game of his short career leading the Yellow Jackets, however, was a 21-17 road win over No. 13 North Carolina; the Tar Heels still had a very remote shot at making the College Football Playoff but Key and the Yellow Jackets dashed those hopes.
Key, 44, has been on Georgia Tech's staff as an associate head coach, offensive line coach and run game coordinator since Collins took over the program in 2019. He was a four-year starter at offensive guard at Georgia Tech from 1997-2000.
"I am very excited that Brent Key will be our next football coach," Georgia Tech president Dr. Angel Cabrera said. "As an alum, he understands and cares deeply about this place and our extraordinary student-athletes. He's not only incredibly competitive but will do everything he can to make sure students grow as athletes, professionals and human beings. I also want to thank A.D. J Batt for his dedication to our program and all the time and care he's invested in the past few weeks to evaluate our program, conduct a thorough national search, and make sure we found the right football head coach."
Key served as the offensive line coach at Alabama from 2016-18, which included a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2017. The majority of his coaching experience came at UCF, where he served in various on-field roles from 2005-15. He was the offensive coordinator of the Knights during his final two seasons with the program.
Georgia Tech fired Collins and athletic director Todd Stansbury after a 1-3 start that included losses to Clemson, Ole Miss and UCF. ESPN reports that new athletic director J Batt interviewed 10 to 12 candidates, including Tulane head coach Willie Fritz, but top candidates for the job were deterred by the school's reluctance to guarantee money in portions of the contract. Fritz, who was most recently considered the frontrunner for the job, told reporters on Tuesday that he expects to stay with the Green Wave.