Ex-Alabama player surprised by Pete Golding’s move, Ole Miss alums ‘excited’

It’s been a few weeks since Pete Golding left Alabama to take the job of defense coordinator at Ole Miss. Not much has been said about a five-year assistant leaving for the same job at another school in SEC West.

Some former Crimson Tide and Ole Miss players who played in this Saturday’s Senior Bowl offered perspective in Mobile this week.

“Surprise,” said former Alabama defenseman DJ Dale of his initial reaction. “I was expecting Pete to be around for a while, so I was quite surprised when I heard the news.”

Golding had one year left on his contract with Alabama, a point he raised in late December when asked about his future at Tuscaloosa. Before the Sugar Bowl, Golding said he did “absolutely” planning to return to Alabama for the 2023 season.

Defensive end Byron Young, like Dale, spent his entire Alabama career playing as a coordinator under Golding.

“You know, it came as a surprise to me,” Young said. “I didn’t know about it and I hadn’t heard at any other point that he was gone. That was his decision and Coach Saban’s decision, I think we’re going to part ways so I hope the best for each party.”

Golding joined Tuscaloosa in 2018 as a co-defensive coordinator before holding the job solo for the next four seasons.

He’s now moving to Oxford to work under another former Alabama coordinator, Lane Kiffin, who led the offensive from 2014-2016. Nick Broeker, a three-year starting offensive lineman at Ole Miss, was thrilled with the hire.

“I think the guys are pretty excited,” Broeker said. “He’s a really good coach, he’s got a really good track record and he’s obviously had success in Alabama. He’s also a good recruiter, so I think having a guy like Pete Golding on the side will be really good for the program.”

Former Ole Miss receiver Jonathan Mingo shared this view.

“I feel like that’s a good take for Ole Miss,” he said. “To have a high-caliber defensive coordinator like Pete Golding is very good.”

On the other hand, ex-Alabama defenseman DeMarcco Hellams admitted he didn’t follow the coaching merry-go-round too closely as he prepared for his pro career.

“I support Coach Pete and his decision,” Hellams said. “Coach Pete has been a good coach for us, a guy who has been really, really good in his relationship with us, so I wish him the best of luck.”

It’s been a few weeks since Golding moved, and Alabama has yet to hire a replacement. When asked who should be next, Byron Young’s response indicated that he was alert in his four years at Tuscaloosa.

“You know,” he said with a smile, “everyone that Coach Saban picks. He’s done a great job the last 18 years he’s been there so he’s done a fantastic job.

Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on Facebook.