University of Virginia hires Tony Elliott as next head football coach

Elliott was previously the offensive coordinator at Clemson

UVA Athletics Logo on Football field (University of Virginia)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia has hired Tony Elliott as the Cavaliers next football coach.

Cavaliers athletic director Carla Williams announced the move Friday, no details of Elliott’s contract was released. Virginia will introduce the longtime Clemson offensive at a news conference next week.

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Elliott, 42, has been the Tigers’ sole offensive coordinator since 2019. He was co-offensive coordinator from Clemson’s 2014 bowl game until Jeff Scott, with whom he shared the role, left to become the head coach at South Florida.

A recipient of the prestigious Frank Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in college football in 2017, Elliott oversaw an offense led by future No. 1 overall NFL draft choice Trevor Lawrence at quarterback and All-American tailback Travis Etienne.

This past season has been less impressive as the Tigers transitioned to sophomore DJ Uiagelelei at quarterback. Clemson finished the regular season ranked 78th nationally in scoring, averaging 26.8 points. They also dropped out of the Top 25 and missed the College Football Playoff for the first time in seven seasons.

Bronco Mendenhall stunned the school on Dec. 2 by announcing he is stepping down after Virginia’s bowl game. In six seasons, Mendenhall has led the Cavaliers to four bowl games — they opted out after last season — and their first ACC championship berth in 2019. They lost 62-17 in that matchup against Elliott and eventual national champion Clemson.

The Tigers played for four national championships in the past six years, winning in 2016-17 and 2018-19. Each time they bested previously unbeaten Alabama.

Elliott was a walk-on who played four years at Clemson. Despite modest career numbers of 34 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns, he was voted a team captain his senior season while all winning All-ACC academic honors.