Neil Callaway, who has 38 years of coaching experience, including a stint as the head coach at Alabama Birmingham and stops as the offensive line coach with 3 Southeastern Conference teams, is in his second season as USC’s offensive line coach. He joined the USC staff in January of 2016.
In 2016, tackles Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler were All-American first teamers and All-Pac-12 first teamers (Banner also was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award). The USC offensive line was a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award. USC ranked sixth nationally in sacks allowed (0.9) and seventh in tackles for loss allowed (4.4). USC played in the Rose Bowl.
Before coming to USC, Callaway spent the previous 3 seasons (2013-15) as the offensive line coach at Western Kentucky. Under Callaway, WKU’s offensive line blocked for the school’s season passing and rushing record setters. In 2015, the line ranked 13th nationally in sacks allowed (1.1) and lineman Forrest Lamp made the All-Conference USA first team. The Hilltopper offense was in the national Top 10 in 2015 in passing efficiency (first at 177.4), scoring (third at 44.3), passing (fourth at 372.2), first downs (eighth at 349) and total yards (ninth at 526.4). The Conference USA champions went 12-2 in 2015 (tying a school wins record) and were ranked 24th by AP after posting a victory in the Miami Beach Bowl. In 2014, WKU became the first NCAA program with a 4,500-yard passer and 1,500-yard rusher while winning the Bahamas Bowl to finish 8-4. That season, they were second nationally in passing (374.3), fourth in total offense (534.6) and sixth in scoring offense (44.4) and first downs (351). The 2013 Hilltopper offense set school records for average total yards (458.5), passing yards (261.7) and rushing yards (196.8).
Prior to arriving at Western Kentucky, Callaway was UAB’s head coach for 5 years (2007-11), going 18-42. His 2009 squad’s offense was seventh nationally in rushing, while the 2010 Blazers were in the national Top 30 in passing offense and total offense.
From 2001 to 2006, he was the offensive coordinator at Georgia as the Bulldogs posted 61 victories, a pair of SEC titles, 3 SEC East titles, 4 bowl wins and 4 Top 4 poll finishes. The 2002 Georgia squad led the SEC in scoring offense and passing efficiency, while the 2005 offense was second in scoring. Six of Callaway’s Bulldog offensive linemen earned All-SEC honors, including 2005 All-American Max Jean-Gilles.
Before Georgia, Callaway was the offensive line coach at Alabama, his alma mater, for 4 years (1997 to 2000), while also serving as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator the final 3 seasons. Alabama won an SEC title during his time there.
He was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Houston under Kim Helton for 4 seasons (1993-96). The Cougars’ offensive line allowed just 19.5 sacks per season during his Callaway’s tenure, including just 10 in 1996. Houston won the inaugural Conference USA championship in 1996.
Callaway, 61, was the offensive line coach at Auburn for 12 years (1981-92), helping the Tigers to 4 SEC championships. He coached 4 All-American first team linemen and 14 All-SEC players, including Chris Samuels, the No. 3 pick of the 2000 NFL Draft.
He began his coaching career as a part-time assistant coach at East Carolina in 1978 and 1979, then was a graduate assistant at Wyoming in 1980.
Callaway was a lineman and linebacker at Alabama (1974-77) under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, winning 3 conference titles during his playing days and being named the team’s Most Outstanding Athlete in 1977. He received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Alabama in 1978.
He prepped at Central High in Macon (Ga.). He was inducted into the Macon (Ga.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
He was born on Nov. 15, 1955. He and his wife, Karen, have three children, Russ, Kate and Clay.
BIRTHDAY: Nov. 15, 1955