Randall McCray | Arizona Cardinals

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Team: Arizona Cardinals
Organization: Professional Football
Position: Asst. Special Teams Coach
League: National Football League
Hometown: Monroe, North Carolina


A college assistant for 26 seasons, Randall McCray enters his second season in the NFL as assistant special teams coach with the Cardinals after being hired on 2/14/18.

During McCray’s first season in Arizona, the Cardinals had the NFL’s 5th ranked special teams unit in 2018 after finishing #30 in 2017. P Andy Lee led the NFL and established a Cardinals single-season record with a 48.6-yard punting average. Undrafted rookie LB Zeke Turner led the NFL with 13 solo special teams tackles while fellow undrafted rookie LB Dennis Gardeck led all NFL rookies with 388 special teams snaps. In the Cardinals season finale at Seattle, Gardeck had a deflected punt and recovered a Cameron Malveaux blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown. It was Arizona’s first blocked punt for a touchdown since 2008.

McCray came to Arizona in 2018 after spending two years as Texas State’s assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. While at Texas State, McCray helped Bryan London II get named All-Sun Belt Conference second-team in 2016 after ranking third nationally by averaging 11.8 tackles and 6.9 solo stops per game. London II led the Sun Belt in solo tackles and was second among league leaders in total tackles while also having two forced fumbles.

McCray went to Texas State after working for three seasons (2013-15) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Gardner-Webb. During those three seasons, the defense held 13 different opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing. DT O.J. Mau earned All-America honors for the third straight season in 2015 and DE Shaq Riddick earned FCS All-American honors and was fifth in the final voting for the Buck Buchanan Award in 2013. Gardner-Webb had 12 All-Big South defensive players during that span.

In 2013, Gardner-Webb’s defense was one of the most improved FCS units when it moved up 96 spots from the previous year and finished in the top-five in total defense. The Bulldogs set a Big South record by allowing just 296.8 yards per game and led the conference in rush defense (122.5 yards per game), pass defense (174.2 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense. They also led the league in opponent first downs, third down conversion rate, sacks and fourth down conversion rate. In 2015, Gardner-Webb finished in the top-15 in the nation in total defense.

Prior to Gardner-Webb, McCray worked in 2011 as the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at Pittsburgh, helping the Panthers play in the BBVA Compass Bowl. In 2010, McCray served as defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State as the Blue Raiders led the Sun Belt Conference and ranked 10th nationally in tackles for loss and 17th in sacks to earn a spot in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The Blue Raiders ranked second in the conference in scoring defense, passing yards allowed and pass efficiency defense and Jamari Lattimore earned Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year honors. DBs Rod Issac and Jeremy Kellem also earned All-Sun Belt first-team honors and DL Dwight Smith was named honorable mention. Issac was later drafted in the fifth round (147th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft by Jacksonville, the highest pick for a Blue Raider since 2003.

McCray spent four years (2006-09) at Wisconsin, coaching the defensive line his first two seasons (2006-07) before overseeing outside linebackers/recruiting coordinator in 2008 and safeties in 2009. During his four seasons in Madison, McCray helped the Badgers win 38 games. In his first season in 2006, Wisconsin ranked second nationally in scoring defense and finished fifth nationally in total defense while Matt Shaughnessy and Jason Chapman were named All-Big Ten. Shaughnessy and Nick Hayden earned All-Big Ten selections and Kirk DeCreamer was named to the freshman All-American squad in 2007.

As a recruiter, McCray’s 2008 signees included 2012 Doak Walker Award winner and two-time All-America RB Montee Ball – who finished as the NCAA’s career TD leader (83) – first-team All-Big Ten C Travis Frederick and All-Big Ten LB Chris Borland. Under McCray’s guidance, LBs DeAndre Levy and Jonathan Casillas earned All-Big Ten honors in 2008. In 2009, safeties Jay Valai and Chris Maragos captured All-Conference honors and Wisconsin’s defense held every Big Ten opponent it faced to fewer than 100 yards rushing. Six of McCray’s players went on to play in the NFL: Shaughnessy, Levy, Hayden, Casillas, Maragos and O’Brien Schofield.

Prior to coaching with the Badgers, McCray spent three seasons at Toledo (2003-05), mentoring the defensive line and linebackers. In 2005, the Rockets were co-champs of the MAC West, finishing 9-3 and beating UTEP in the GMAC Bowl after finishing with one of the nation’s top-25 teams in total defense. The Rockets led the conference in scoring defense, total defense, pass efficiency defense and sacks – and were second in the league in rushing defense. McCray also helped Toledo win the 2004 MAC title while LBs Brock Dodrill and Keon Jackson earned All-MAC honors in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

He was an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Illinois State in 2002 after working as the Redbirds linebackers coach for two seasons (2000-01). In 2002, LB Boomer Grigsby earned first-team All-America honors, was named the Gateway Conference Defensive Player of the Year and finished third in voting for the Buck Buchanan Award after leading the nation with 179 total tackles (108 solo). He was drafted in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. McCray also tutored Illinois State All-American LB Galen Scott in 2000.

Prior to his tenure at Illinois State, McCray coached for three seasons at Murray State (1997-99), the first two as inside linebackers coach before adding defensive coordinator duties in 1999. He tutored All-American LB Ronnie Merritt in 1997 as Murray State finished with the second ranked total defense in the nation. He was also defensive ends coach at Bethune-Cookman (1996), a quality control coach at Clemson (1995) and defensive line coach at UT Chattanooga (1993-94). McCray began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at South Carolina (1991-92).

McCray was a two-year letterman as a linebacker and running back at Appalachian State. He played on the Mountaineers 1987 Southern Conference championship team and played on two teams that advanced to the I-AA playoffs. The Monroe, N.C. native graduated from Appalachian State in 1991 with a degree in Communications and earned a master’s in Higher Education at South Carolina. McCray and his wife, Michelle, have a son, Matt, and a daughter, Mallory.

Randall McCray Coaching History

1991–92  University of South Carolina        Graduate Assistant
1993–94  Univ. of Tennessee-Chattanooga Defensive Line     
1995        Clemson                                      Quality Control
1996        Bethune-Cookman University      Defensive Ends   
1997–98  Murray State                               Inside Linebackers
1999        Murray State                               Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers 
2000–01  Illinois State                                Linebackers         
2002        Illinois State                                Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
2003–05  University of Toledo                     Defensive Line/Linebackers
2006–07  University of Wisconsin               Defensive Line
2008        University of Wisconsin               Outside Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator
2009        University of Wisconsin               Safeties
2010        Middle Tennessee State              Defensive Coordinator     
2011        University of Pittsburgh                Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers
2013–15  Gardner-Webb University            Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2016–17  Texas State                                 Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/LBs
2018–      ARIZONA CARDINALS              Assistant Special Teams

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