Reports: Virginia Football Hires Des Kitchings As Offensive Coordinator

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University of Virginia football first-year head coach Tony Elliott reportedly filled a big piece of the offense coaching staff puzzle on Monday (January 3), hiring Atlanta Falcons running backs coach Des Kitchings as offensive coordinator.

26 December 2014: North Carolina State Wolfpack Running Backs coach Desmond Kitchings during Pre-Game before the 2014 BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl between the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the UCF Knights at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Kitchings, who ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported previously as being a top OC target of Elliott’s, will leave the Falcons for UVA effective immediately according to Josh Kendall of The Athletic and Michael Rothstein of ESPN. He becomes the third member of Tony Elliott’s offensive staff, joining Marques Hagans and Garett Tujague, who coached wide receivers and the offensive line, respectively, under previous UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall. The exact duties for Hagans and Tujague are not known, although Tujague coaching the offensive line seems all but a certainty.

A standout wide receiver and returner at Furman, Kitchings is a member of the Paladins Athletics Hall of Fame. His alma mater is where he began his coaching career, earning the role of tight ends coach and special teams coordinator in 2004. From 2004-2020 he served as an assistant coach in the college ranks, working as a running backs coach for much of that time but also serving as a tight ends coach, special teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator, running game coordinator, assistant head coach for offense, offensive coordinator and co-offensive coordinator at various schools.

KITCHINGS’ COLLEGE RÉSUMÉ

Furman, 2004-2007 – Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends

Vanderbilt, 2008-2009 – Running Game Coordinator/Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs

Vanderbilt, 2010, Offensive Coordinator

Air Force, 2011 – Running Game Coordinator/Running Backs

NC State, 2012 – Running Backs/Tight Ends

NC State, 2013 – Running Backs

NC State, 2014-2015 – Recruiting Coordinator/Running Backs

NC State, 2016-2018 – Assistant Head Coach For Offense/Recruiting Coordinator/Running Backs

NC State, 2019 – Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs

South Carolina, 2020 – Running Backs

Following the 2020 season, Kitchings left South Carolina for the Atlanta Falcons. He returns to the college ranks following his first year of NFL coaching.

“He’s a smart coach, communicates well, understands how to provide value every week in terms of strategically coming up with ideas and getting his guys ready to go,” Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said of Kitchings in this ESPN article by Michael Rothstein. “He’s a good, smart coach. He’ll be missed around here but it’s a heck of an opportunity for him.”

In his first two seasons as a coach, Kitchings helped the Paladins to a conference title in 2004 and reached the FCS semifinals in 2005. In his tenure at NC State, the Wolfpack had three consecutive 1,000-yard rushers from 2016-2018, a feat accomplished only one time previously in the program. All three rushers gained over 1,000 yards and scored 10 or more touchdowns in the same season. In his only season at South Carolina, Gamecocks running back Kevin Harris gained 1,138 yards on the ground and scored 15 rushing touchdowns.

Kitchings has a good recruiting pedigree to go along with his on-field accomplishments. According to 247 Sports, he was the lead recruiter for 56 prospects in his time in Raleigh. He landed nine 4-star prospects for the Wolfpack. Twenty-nine of his recruits hailed from North Carolina, while 10 more were from Georgia, a state that has been very important to UVA recruiting. From 2014-2018, the years Kitchings served as the Wolfpack recruiting coordinator, NC State’s classes finished with 247 Sports rankings of 34, 31, 50, 53 and 26 nationally.

Kitchings, 43, lacks significant offensive coordinator experience. However, with Elliott’s background as an offensive coordinator at Clemson, experience in this role is not necessarily needed. It appears Kitchings will indeed be the primary play caller, Pete Thamel reports.

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