South Carolina officially hires new defensive line coach
Gamecock head football coach Will Muschamp has named Tracy Rocker as the Gamecocks’ defensive line coach, it was announced today following Board of Trustee approval.
Rocker comes to Columbia after finding success at every stop during his 20-plus year collegiate and professional coaching career. He most recently spent the past two seasons at Tennessee, his fifth different stop in the SEC. He has also logged Division I stints at Georgia (2014-16), Auburn (2009-10), Ole Miss (2008), Arkansas (2003-07), Cincinnati (2002), and Troy (1997-01). In addition, he spent three seasons with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans (2011-13). He coached the defensive line in each of those stops, but also held the title of Associate Head Coach while at Georgia.
Rocker has coached on four conference championship squads – 1999 and 2000 Southland at Troy; 2002 Conference USA at Cincinnati; and 2010 SEC at Auburn. That 2010 Auburn squad went on to win the National Championship.
“Tracy has great experience playing and coaching in the Southeastern Conference,” said Coach Muschamp. “I’ve tried to hire him before and am glad we were finally able to get him to Columbia and be a Gamecock. He’s had great success in this league in developing defensive linemen and has coached a lot of guys who have played in the NFL, which is the goal for many of our players.”
Rocker has coached six All-Americans and 15 NFL draft picks, including five first rounders -DeMarcus Ware, Jamaal Anderson, Peria Jerry, Nick Fairley and Dee Ford. Fairley, a defensive tackle, won the Lombardi Award and was the AP Defensive Player of the Year at Auburn in 2010, while Al Lucas captured the Buck Buchanan Award as the Division I-AA Top Defensive Player as a defensive tackle at Troy in 1999.
Rocker began his coaching career as the defensive coordinator at Auburn (Ala.) High School from 1992-93. He broke into the college coaching ranks as the defensive line coach at West Alabama from 1994-96.
As a coach, Rocker spent two summers working with NFL teams (Indianapolis, 2001; Tampa Bay, 2006) as a part of the NFL’s Minority Internship Program.
A native of Atlanta, Rocker is considered one of the state of Georgia’s greatest college football players of all time. He was a two-time all-state selection at Fulton High School and was named the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in high school.
A two-time All-American at Auburn, Rocker won the 1988 Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award. He was the first SEC player to earn both awards. He was named SEC Player of the Year following his senior season in 1988. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Rocker was a third-round pick by Washington in the 1989 NFL Draft and played two seasons before suffering a knee injury. He concluded his career by playing one year for the Orlando Thunder of the World Football League.
Born April 9, 1966, Rocker and his wife, Lalitha, have one son, Kumar, who was named the 2019 College World Series Most Outstanding Player after leading Vanderbilt baseball to the NCAA title.