AUBURN, Ala. – Hopefully Auburn hadn’t yet discarded the “J. Grimes” nameplate from outside the office of its offensive line coach.
J.B. Grimes becomes yet another defection from the previous Arkansas State regime, joining boss Gus Malzahn when hired Wednesday night to guide the “big uglies” for Auburn.
“J.B. is a tremendous coach who is one of the nation’s top teachers at the offensive line position,” Malzahn said. “He has an incredible resume coaching the position and has taught countless players at the NFL level. He played a vital role in our team’s success this past season and we’re fortunate to have him join our program at Auburn.”
J.B. Grimes, 57, replaces Jeff Grimes, who coached the Tigers’ offensive line the past four years under previous head coach Gene Chizik.
Jeff and J.B. are not related, but it is a small world after all: this isn’t the first time J.B. has joined a staff departed by Jeff.
At least one worked for legendary Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum over a six-year period. Jeff Grimes was an offensive graduate assistant for A&M from 1996-97, while J.B. Grimes served as the Aggies’ offensive line coach from 1998-02.
A coaching veteran with a career spanning five different decades, J.B. Grimes helped Malzahn and the Red Wolves’ offense set a school record with 481.8 total yards while ranking 16th nationally in fewest sacks allowed.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to coach at Auburn and join Coach Malzahn’s staff,” Grimes said. “I’ve known Gus for several years and have admired the things he’s done as a coach. We did some great things this past season at Arkansas State and I look forward to doing the same at Auburn.”
This is Grimes’ second stop in the SEC – he was at Mississippi State from 2004-08 – but he’s also logged time at Texas A&M, Arkansas and Missouri in the era before each school joined the conference.
“I’ve always admired Auburn football, having coached in the Southeastern Conference and even when I was younger watching Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley play,” Grimes said. “It’s a special place with great history, traditions and fans.”
Kansas, East Carolina, Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Monroe and Delta State have also employed Grimes over the past 30 years. He enjoyed a ten-year stretch with the Aggies and Hokies, participating in nine bowl games.
Grimes played offensive line at Henderson State, graduating in 1977 and eventually earning a Master’s degree in education from ULM in 1981.
Grimes grew up in Clarendon, Ark. He and his wife, Jennifer, have four children, sons Aaron and Nick and daughters Danielle and Lindsey.