The University of Georgia has confirmed offensive line coach Matt Locke will be stepping down after working at the school for the past two seasons.
“Today, after a lot of prayer and conversations with my family, I have decided to step away from training and shift my focus to spending more time with my family,” Luke said. “I would like to thank Coach Smart, his wife Mary Beth, and the entire Georgia family for the past two amazing seasons. I also appreciate Coach Smart’s support in my decision today. He is an amazing coach and I will always cherish his friendship. It has been an honor of a lifetime to be able to win a National Championship with this machine and these players. And something I will never forget.
“Being able to play and compete for the SEC as a player and then continue my football career as a coach over the past 23 years has given me the opportunity to bring back the game that I love so much. To all the players I have had the opportunity to coach over the years, I want to thank you for your trust me and allowing me to be your coach and play a small role in your life.I will never forget the relationships and memories we made together.This is what makes this game so special and what I will miss most.Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank my wife Ashley, my sons Harrison and Cooper , as well as my entire family, for their love and support over the years. The opportunity for us to be together is even more exciting about this next chapter in our lives. Once again, thanks to Coach Smart, the coaches, players and staff at University of Georgia for making the past two years some of the best of my life. God bless.”
Related: Georgia offensive line coach Matt Locke to step down
Locke joined Georgia ahead of the 2020 season where he replaced Sam Pittman. Luke previously served as the head coach for the Ole Miss but was fired after the 2019 season. Georgia has shown that it will pay a premium to its offensive coach, with Luke set to earn $900,000 next season. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken is only set to achieve more during the 2022 season.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart also commented on Locke’s time in Athens.
“Matt Locke made the decision to stay away from football coaching,” Smart said. “He has been an invaluable part of our team and played a huge role in helping us win the National Championship. We appreciate everything he gave Georgia Football. Matt, Ashley and his children have been and will continue to be an important part of the Bulldog family and the Athens community. We are working on finding a coach who will continue to develop our youth and build We have a strong foundation with the offensive line.”
The Georgian attacking line suffered several injuries during the 2021 season, and Jamari Salier wasted time due to injury. The Bulldog still finished in the top 10 in the country in bags allowed and ran for 140 yards in the National Championship game on Alabama.
The Bulldogs will have to replace Salyer along with multi-year Justin Shaffer, as these two are suspended in the NFL. Georgia brought back Cedric Van Bran Granger, Warren McClendon and Warren Erickson. Luke’s replacement will also inherit talented young players such as Broderick Jones, Tate Rutledge and Amaryus Mims.