³We¹ve played LSU a few times since Stacy¹s been there and we¹ve also had a chance to see his offensive lines while studying tape on other opponents as well,² said Richt. ³Their line has been impressive
³I¹m tremendously excited about coming to Georgia and working for Coach Richt and the rest of the staff,² said Searels. ³I¹m looking forward to being part of the Georgia football program that has such great tradition andone that I know has a great future.²
Searels made a habit of producing All-America linemen for LSU. In four years as LSU¹s offensive line coach, Searels coached two First-Team All-Americansin Stephen Peterman and Ben Wilkerson and a Second-Team All-America in Andrew Whitworth.
In addition, during that four-year stretch, LSU¹s offensive line produced a pair of First-Team Academic All-Americas in Rodney Reed and Rudy Niswanger. LSU had an offensive lineman named First-Team Academic All-America four straight years.
Niswanger became the most decorated student-athlete in school history in 2005, winning the Draddy Award as college football¹s top scholar-athlete as well as being the inaugural recipient of the Wuerffel Trophy. Niswanger also claimed the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for football following the 2005 season and was named the recipient of the McWhorter Award, which goes to the overall top scholar-athlete in the SEC.
Searels coached five former Tigers to roster spots in the NFL with Whitworth being a second round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006; Peterman a fourth round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2004; and Wilkerson, Niswanger and Nate Livings signing free agent contracts.
Searels' 2004 offensive line consisted of Rimington Award winner (Ben Wilkerson) along with First Team All-SEC offensive tackle Whitworth. LSU led the SEC in rushing that year with over 193 yards per contest.
Searels joined the staff at LSU after a two-year stint as offensive line coach at Cincinnati. During his two-year stay with the Bearcats, Cincinnati played in two bowl games as well as winning the school¹s first conference title since 1964 by capturing the 2002 Conference USA crown. In 2002, Searels coached an offensive line that helped Cincinnati lead Conference USA in total offense (397.5 yards per game), while averaging 29.2 points a contest.
Prior to joining Cincinnati, Searels served as an assistant coach at Appalachian State from 1994-2000, helping the I-AA squad to five playoff appearances and to a pair of Southern Conference titles. He also coached players to five All-America and 15 all-conference honors in seven years as an offensive line and tight ends coach at Appalachian State.
While at Appalachian State, Searels was presented with the NCAA Award of Valor, which has been given only eight times since its inception in 1974, for his for act of courage following a head-on collision involving a van carrying members of the Mountaineer football team and support staff on Sept. 30, 2000.
With the Appalachian State van burning, Searels pulled out two staff members, who were trapped in the vehicle (11 other passengers in the van were able to escape on their own). Moments after Searels got the two staff members to safety, the van was engulfed in flames. Searels, who had been traveling on the team bus behind the van, had saved the life of his student assistant coach (Jonathan Taylor) and assistant athletic trainer (Tony Barnett). Taylor, who was airlifted to a hospital, spent three weeks in intensive care before making a complete recovery.
The NCAA Award of Valor honors those who, ³when confronted with a situation involving personal danger, averted or minimized potential disaster by courageous action or noteworthy bravery.²
Searels got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Auburn in 1992, working with the Tiger squad that posted a perfect 11-0 mark in 1993.
As a player, Searels earned First Team All-America honors from both the Associated Press and Football News as a senior at Auburn in 1987. Searels was a three-year starter for Auburn, blocking for Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson in 1985 and All-America Brent Fullwood in 1986. He participated in four bowl games as a member of the Auburn football team.
A First-Team All-Southeastern Conference selection as both a junior and senior, he was honored with the team¹s Ken Rice Award as the school¹s best blocking lineman in 1987. He played in both the Japan Bowl and the Senior Bowl following the 1987 season.
In 1990, the Birmingham Post-Herald named Searels to the Auburn team of the 1980¹s.
Searels was a fourth round draft pick by the San Diego Chargers in 1988, playing two seasons there before moving to the Miami Dolphins for the 1990season. He ended his professional career in 1991 with the New York/New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football.
Searels graduated from Auburn in with a degree in marketing and transportation in 1990. He followed that with a Master¹s degree in higher education administration from Auburn in 1995.
Searels is married to the former Patricia Hale and the couple has two daughters, Taylor (8) and Savannah (5).