Virginia Tech Adds Gray to Football Staff
Former Hokie player will coach the defensive backs
March 7, 2006

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech Athletics Department and Coach Frank Beamer announced Tuesday that former Tech defensive standout Torrian Gray will join the football coaching staff as the defensive backfield coach. Gray, who played three seasons in the National Football League and has six years of coaching experience, will begin his duties immediately.

Gray will be replacing Lorenzo Ward on the Tech staff. Ward, who coached the Tech defensive backs the past seven seasons, left last week to accept a position as secondary coach with the NFL's Oakland Raiders.

"We know exactly what we're getting with Torrian and we like it. He was a talented player, but very heady, with a great feel for the game. I think he'll coach it the same way," said Beamer. "He's certainly very familiar with our defense, and we like the fact that we can draw from his experience with the pros the last couple of years."

Gray, who accepted a job as defensive backs coach at Temple in February, spent the past two seasons as assistant defensive backs coach with the NFL's Chicago Bears. During the 2005 season, the Bears ranked fifth in the NFL in passing defense, allowing just 179.5 yards per game, and finished tied for second in interceptions (24). Defensive backs Nathan Vasher and Mike Brown were both elected to the Pro Bowl as Chicago posted an 11-6 record and clinched a playoff bye after winning the NFC North Division. In 2004, the Bears recorded 29 total takeaways and set a team record with six defensive touchdowns, including four by defensive backs.

Gray began his coaching career at the University of Maine, serving as defensive backs coach for two seasons (2000-01). The Black Bears qualified for the I-AA playoffs both years and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2001. Gray spent the 2002 and 2003 seasons as defensive backs coach at the University of Connecticut. During his tenure in Storrs, the Huskies' defense ranked among the nation's best despite moving up from Division I-AA to Division I-A in 2002.

During his playing career at Virginia Tech (1992-96), Gray helped the Hokies to four consecutive bowls for the first time in school history. He played on 97 percent of the Hokies' defensive plays over his last three seasons, starting at rover in 1994 and '95, and handling the starting free safety duties in 1996. He was named all-BIG EAST all three seasons.

Gray was drafted in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft (49th overall) by the Minnesota Vikings. He started five games as a rookie, including two playoff contests. He contributed as a starter in the nickel package and as a special teams player for the remainder of his professional career before retiring in the spring of 2000 due to a knee injury. The Vikings advanced to the playoffs in each of his three seasons.

A native of Lakeland, Fla., Gray has a daughter, Tori, who is 7.