Rumors were apparently running around last night, but Auburn Rivals and Auburn Undercover are reporting this afternoon that Scott Fountain is not expected to return as the on-field Tight Ends / Special Teams coach for Auburn in 2017.
Fountain has served in that role since Gus Malzahn was hired. Special teams have been pretty good under Fountain - particularly the punt return team over the last few years - but tight ends have been rather lacking. I'm not blaming that on Fountain, though. There have been tons of personnel issues behind that position group and its struggles.
According to AuburnUndercover, it is unknown at this time whether Fountain will remain at Auburn as an off-field analyst or if he will move on to another on-field coaching job.
So, who replaces him? A name to keep in mind may be Chad Lundsford at Georgia Southern. He, like Fountain, was in an off-field position at Auburn for a while before leaving to be part of Willie Fritz's first staff at Georgia Southern for the 2014 season. Since then, he's been coaching at Georgia Southern under multiple coaching staffs. He's an excellent recruiter for the Eagles, pretty good coach, and a great man. I'm just throwing his name against the wall, but he would have worked with new Auburn OC Chip Lindsey in 2013 and has connections to the program. He knows Auburn very well.
The dream move for Auburn fans, of course, is tied to some of the other big news in the SEC, today. That news is that Tracy Rocker is leaving UGA as defensive line coach. Could this be related? Auburn's current DL coach - Rodney Garner - was once a TE coach. Could we see him move back over and Rock return?
Does that thought give me the warm and fuzzies? Not as much as you may think. I like what Garner is doing at DL. A lot. I think this is probably just a coincidence and that Chip Lindsey wants to bring in one of his own people. I would not be averse to The Rock returning as the 10th assistant, though, and he and Garner share DL/Buck duties, though. Now THAT does give me the warm and fuzzies.
I hate to see this for Fountain, though. He has quietly been a great recruiter (he was the lead on Big Cat Bryant and Calvin Ashley for years) and has been at Auburn for a long time. I know he wants to stay on the field coaching, so I can understand him moving on, but I'd still love to see him stay around Auburn, too.
We'll have updates as we can.