ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: UCF Athletics // Brian Blackmon, a former member of Gus Malzahn’s Auburn football staff and one of the most successful and respected high school coaches in the state of Alabama, rejoins Malzahn at UCF as the Knights’ new special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.
Blackmon in 2020 concluded his third season on the Troy football staff. He added the role of special teams coordinator prior to the 2019 season after coaching Troy’s tight ends and S-backs in 2018. Blackmon also coached the Trojan running backs in 2019 and then in 2020 worked exclusively with special teams. He joined the Troy staff following one season as an offensive analyst under Malzahn at Auburn after a 21-year career at Opelika High School.
In 2020, Troy finished 19th in punt-return defense (2.91 yards each), led the Sun Belt Conference (ranking 28th nationally) in net punting at 40.63 and blocked three kicks. Punter Jack Martin was a first-team All-Sun Belt pick as he led the country with his 45.8 net punting average while his 46.1 per-punt average was sixth nationally. Martin allowed just four returns on his punts for a total of seven yards, while having no touchbacks and 52 percent fair catches.
In one season coaching the running backs in 2019 Blackmon was dealt one of the most difficult hands in the country as Troy lost Sun Belt Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year B.J. Smith and two other running backs in week two to injury. He mentored Smith’s replacement, DK Billingsley, toward a season where he rushed for 901 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Troy was once again one of the top special teams units in the country in 2019, ranking 17th in opponent kickoff return yards limiting returns to just a 17.85-yard average. Troy was successful in all phases in which Blackmon had a hand in during his initial season with the Trojans. He played a vital role in Troy’s special teams units, and the Trojans finished the season ranked number one in the country according to ESPN’s special teams efficiency rating.
Blackmon also assisted with the Trojan special teams in 2018 as Troy finished fourth nationally in net punting. Tyler Sumpter set the school record by averaging 45.1 yards per punt (11th nationally), and the Trojans were ninth in the country averaging 25.0 yards per kickoff return. Sumpter finished one field goal shy of setting the school record with 18 makes on the year, and the Trojans were one of just 24 teams nationally to not allow a blocked kick.
Blackmon’s first season at Troy in 2018 resulted in a 10-3 overall record, a victory at Nebraska and the Trojans’ third straight bowl victory (42-32 over Buffalo in the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile). Smith turned in the fourth-best rushing season in school history with 1,186 yards (second in the Sun Belt) behind the blocking of Troy’s tight ends and S-backs.
In Blackmon’s lone season with the Tigers and Malzahn, Auburn’s offense ranked in the top 30 nationally in total offense, rushing, pass efficiency and scoring as the Tigers won the Southeastern Conference West Division and played in the SEC Championship Game. Running back Kerryon Johnson was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and Auburn finished the season with a Peach Bowl appearance against UCF after knocking off a pair of No. 1 teams– Georgia and Alabama–over the regular season’s final three weeks.
Blackmon served as head coach of the Opelika football program in his final eight seasons (2009-16) at the school, while also serving as the athletics director during the same time period before leaving for Auburn in February 2017.
Opelika advanced to a pair of Alabama 6A state championship games (2012 and 2016), and the Bulldogs compiled a 69-25 record during Blackmon’s tenure. He was honored as the 6A Coach of the Year in 2012 by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, the Alabama Football Coaches Association, the Opelika-Auburn News, Columbus SportsVision and AL.com.
The Bulldogs won three consecutive region championships and advanced to the playoffs in seven of his eight seasons as head coach. Blackmon left Opelika as the third-winningest coach in the then-99-year history of the high school.
He has served as president of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association and on the advisory, Hall of Fame, reclassification and all-star selection committees of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Additionally, he served on the high school task force of USA Football and as a district board member of the Alabama Football Coaches Association.
Blackmon spent his first 13 years at Opelika as the offensive coordinator under legendary head coach Spence McCracken. He also served as assistant athletics director from 2001-08 and coached the soccer, wrestling and golf teams during his career at Opelika. He was named the Alabama Assistant Coach of the Year following the 2004 season and was a consistent figure on the coaching staffs of the Alabama-Mississippi and North-South all-star games.
A graduate of Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Alabama, Blackmon was part of the 1991 state champion football team and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 2017. Blackmon played one season at North Alabama before transferring to Troy to complete his studies.
Blackmon earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Troy in 1996 and a master’s degree in business education from Auburn in 1998. He and his wife Kellie have two children–Cade, a quarterback at Samford, and Carlyle.
1996-2008 Opelika (Alabama) High School Offensive Coordinator
2009-16 Opelika (Alabama) High School Head Coach
2017 Auburn Offensive Analyst
2018 Troy Tight Ends/S-Backs
2019 Troy Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator
2020 Troy Special Teams Coordinator
2021 UCF Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends