Key came back to his alma mater after three seasons as offensive line coach at Alabama (2016-18), where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to two Southeastern Conference championships, three College Football Playoff championship games and the 2017 national title.
In each of his three seasons at Alabama, Key’s offensive lines were finalists for the Joe Moore Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top offensive front, and was the only group in the nation to receive the honor all three seasons. He also coached four All-Americans (including two unanimous picks – tackle Cam Robinson in 2016 and tackle Jonah Williams in 2018) and nine all-SEC selections (including seven first-teamers) during his time with the Tide. In addition to being unanimous All-Americans, Robinson won the 2016 Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman and Williams was a finalist for the award in ’18. They also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (SEC’s top offensive lineman) in ‘16 and ‘18, respectively.
Seven linemen that Key coached in his three seasons at Alabama went on to be selected in the National Football League Draft — Jedrick Wills (No. 10 overall, Cleveland Browns, 2020), Williams (No. 11 overall, Cincinnati Bengals, 2019), Alex Leatherwood (No. 17 overall, Las Vegas Raiders, 2021), Robinson (No. 34 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2017), Ross Pierschbacher (fifth round, Washington Redskins, 2019), Bradley Bozeman (sixth round, Baltimore Ravens, 2018) and Deonte Brown (sixth round, Carolina Panthers, 2021).
Key was also lauded for his work on the recruiting trail at Alabama. He was tabbed as the nation’s No. 2 recruiter by 247Sports for his work in landing the Crimson Tide’s 2019 class and the No. 1 recruiter in the nation for his efforts with the 2020 class.
Prior to his three-year stint at Alabama, Key spent 11 seasons at UCF (2005-15). He started at UCF as a graduate assistant and worked his way up to assistant head coach (2012-15) and offensive coordinator (2014-15). He also coached tight ends for three seasons (2006-08), offensive line for six seasons (2009-14), running backs for one season (2015), was special teams coordinator for one season (2008) and recruiting coordinator for six seasons (2007, 2010-14) with the Knights. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Key was nominated for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in college football.
During Key’s 11 seasons at UCF, the Knights won four conference championships (2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014), highlighted by a 12-1 campaign in 2013, which culminated with a 52-42 win over No. 6 Baylor. The Knights beat two top-10 teams in ’13 (Baylor and No. 8 Louisville) and Key’s offensive front, which did not allow a sack against Penn State, Louisville, UConn or Baylor, helped pave the way for UCF to average 441.5 yards and 34.6 points per game, both among the highest marks in program history. His offensive line also provided protection for American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year Blake Bortles.
In his six seasons as UCF’s offensive line coach, eight different linemen earned all-conference recognition a total of 16 times and four went on to play in the NFL, including 2011 third-round draft pick Jah Reid. He also coached an NFL draft pick at tight end in Mike Merritt (2008).
During his time at UCF, Key coached under his head coach as a student-athlete at Georgia Tech, George O’Leary.
Key got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech in 2001-02 and served as tight ends and running backs coach at Western Carolina in 2004.
Key was a four-year starter in his four seasons as a student-athlete at Georgia Tech (1997-2000). While making 44-straight starts at right guard, Key was a part of a senior class that led Georgia Tech to four-straight bowl appearances for the first time since 1953-56. As a sophomore in 1998, he helped lead Tech to a 10-2 record and a share of the ACC championship. During his junior campaign in 1999, the Jackets ranked No. 1 nationally in total offense (509.0 ypg). He was voted a team captain and all-ACC as a senior in 2000. In all, he was a key cog in an offensive front that helped the Yellow Jackets lead the ACC in rushing three times.
A Clay, Ala. native, Key, 44, was an all-state performer at Hewitt-Trussville H.S. He and his wife, Danielle, have a daughter, Harper.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT BRENT KEY
“I watched very closely this season as Brent took over and saw things move in the right direction. It was clear that the team responded to the changes he made and played hard for him. Congratulations to Brent – I know he’ll do an outstanding job. President Cabrera and J made a great decision, and I look forward to watching the success Brent will have at Georgia Tech.”
– Former Georgia Tech and UCF head coach George O’Leary
“Brent did a great job for us at Alabama and was fantastic as the interim head coach for Georgia Tech this year. I know he is excited to lead his alma mater, and he will do an excellent job as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach. Brent is a very passionate coach who works tirelessly at his craft. His players love to play for him, and he does a great job of putting them in situations to be successful. Brent has a wonderful family, and we are so very happy for him to have this opportunity at Georgia Tech”
– Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Competitive Drive Initiative
In a unified endeavor, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Tech Foundation, Georgia Tech athletics and the Alexander-Tharpe Fund have come together to accelerate funding for student-athlete scholarships with the launch of the Competitive Drive Initiative. The initiative kicks off with the Accelerate GT Match Program, where any new gift to the A-T Fund’s Athletic Scholarship Fund made through Dec. 31 will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Georgia Tech Foundation, up to $2.5 million. Should Accelerate GT reach its $2.5 million fundraising goal, the matching gift would result in a $5 million impact for Georgia Tech athletics. To learn more and to contribute online, visit atfund.org/accelerate.
This content was originally published here.