Gamecocks open the 2017 season against the Wolfpack in Charlotte.
The Gamecocks allowed 13 fewer sacks in 2017 than they did in ‘16.
Wolford comes to South Carolina after having spent the past two seasons in the NFL as the San Francisco 49ers assistant offensive line coach.
Prior to his stint with the 49ers, Wolford logged 19 seasons as a coach at the collegiate level, including five (2010-14) as the head coach at Youngstown State, an FCS school in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. After a 3-8 mark in his first season, the Penguins compiled a 28-18 mark over his final four campaigns, were ranked in the top-10 three times, and broke 32 school records during his tenure. Highlights included a 2012 win over Pitt - the first win over a BCS team in school history, and a 2011 win over top-ranked North Dakota State, while overseeing the squad's highest GPA on record for four-consecutive seasons.
Wolford served as South Carolina's run game coordinator and offensive line coach in 2009 after a two-year stint at Illinois where he held a similar post. Under Wolford's tutelage, the Illini, which played in the 2008 Rose Bowl game, led the Big Ten in rushing (2007) and passing (2008), while topping the 5,000-yard mark in total offense for just the third and fourth times in school history. Wolford was considered a Rivals Top-20 National Recruiter in 2008.
Prior to his stint in Champaign, Wolford spent the previous three seasons (2004-06) with the Arizona Wildcats as the offensive line coach. During that time, UA led the league in fewest sacks allowed in 2004 and was second in 2005. In addition to his strong coaching skills, Wolford was an integral part of Arizona's back-to-back top-25 recruiting classes.
Wolford spent the 2003 season at North Texas, where his offensive line paved the way for tailback Patrick Cobbs. He rushed for a league-record 1,690 yards, earning the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year Award. Cobbs averaged 152 yards and 11.5 points per game, leading the NCAA. The offensive line blocked for a rushing average of 177.5 yards per game, which ranked 35th nationally, allowed only 18 sacks during the season and posted an 88 percent efficiency rating in the redzone. Wolford also helped lead UNT to its third-consecutive bid to the New Orleans Bowl.
Before joining North Texas, Wolford enjoyed three-year stints at both Houston and South Florida. While at Houston, he coached a number of positions, spanning offense, defense and special teams. In 2002, Houston enjoyed a dramatic turnaround, going from a winless season to five victories. The team also ended on a high note, defeating nationally-ranked Louisville in the finale. During that time, Wolford coached five all-conference players.
Wolford had the unique experience of coaching in the first three seasons of the South Florida football program, helping to lead the Bulls to two winning seasons in three years. In year two of the building process, the offense put up over 400 yards per game, including 191.5 rushing yards per contest. Running back Dyral McMillan became the school's first 1,000-yard rusher that year.
Wolford began his coaching career at his alma mater, Kansas State, where he served as a graduate assistant and worked with the offensive line under the direction of John Latina. From there, he spent two seasons as the offensive line and strength coach at Emporia State.
Wolford was a four-year starter at Kansas State under Bill Snyder, and his teams laid the groundwork for the program's emergence on the national stage. During his senior year, the Wildcats won the school's first bowl game in the 1993 Copper Bowl. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1994 in social sciences with a focus on monetary policy and banking. After college, Wolford signed a free agent contract with Buddy Ryan's Arizona Cardinals.
Born April 5, 1971, Wolford and his wife, Dr. Melinda Wolford, have a son, Stone, and a daughter, Marlee. Eric and Melinda started a non-profit organization, inspired by their son, called the No Stone Unturned Foundation. The Foundation raises money for research and to assist families of children with neurological differences.
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