Helow Climbs Coaching Ladder

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Former Ole Miss player George Helow seeks his second straight national championship as a coach.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Former Ole Miss player George Helow seeks his second straight national championship as a coach.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Jan. 6, 2014

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. — From Ole Miss walk-on, to Florida State defensive graduate assistant, it’s been a long road in a relatively short time for George Helow. And when Florida State and Auburn play in the BCS Championship on Monday in Pasadena, Calif., Helow will seek his second straight national championship as a coach, having served as a defensive intern for Alabama last year.

“It has been another incredible experience that I can’t really explain,” Helow said. “From the day we got here, I can’t speak highly enough about (Florida State defensive coordinator) Jeremy Pruitt putting in this new defense. From where we were in the spring, to how we have gotten better and improved every week, it’s been awesome to see the improvement and progression. He has been such a good teacher and coach.”

“Right now, I’m doing everything I can to help our team get ready to play Auburn. At the same time, it is exciting knowing that I’m going to another national championship game. That’s been our expectation and goal for the whole season. Our goal was not to get there but to win it. It’s great that we’re going to Pasadena. We’re excited about the opportunity, but we want to finish.”

The Jacksonville, Fla., native redshirted at Ole Miss in 2006 and saw his first career action against Louisiana Tech in 2007, before playing all 38 games for the Rebels from 2008 to 2010, which included back-to-back Cotton Bowls in 2008 and 2009.

Helow, who played mostly on special teams, earned a scholarship before his senior season in 2010 and graduated in December 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

“As long as I can remember, I always had a passion for football,” Helow said. “Ole Miss gave me an opportunity to play on the big stage, and I’m very thankful for that experience. I went to Ole Miss as a preferred walk-on, and that’s where I established a good work ethic. As a walk-on, you always have to work hard and earn your stripes, and it’s the same way climbing the ladder in coaching.”

He participated in the Ole Miss pro day after his senior season, and while he waited for his shot at playing in the NFL, he continued working out and went back to his high school alma mater, Bishop Kenny, in Jacksonville, Fla., where he coached his younger brother Peter, a senior captain on the team who now plays at Marshall.

“I played for Mark Thorson in high school, and there’s not a better man or role model than him,” Helow said. “He’s one of the high school coaches who does it the right way. He knew I was in Jacksonville and asked me to come back and coach with him. At the same time, if one of the defensive backs for the Jacksonville Jaguars was to go down during camp, I was hoping to be their replacement guy, so I had to stay in shape. That never happened.”

After one season at Bishop Kenny, Helow applied for a position on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. Another former Ole Miss player, Jon Desler, put Helow in contact with former Ole Miss assistant coach Joe Pannunzio, who now serves as director of football operations at Alabama.

Helow went to Alabama and met with the coaching staff when they had their junior day in 2012, and they invited him to serve as an intern in the weight room that spring and summer and then serve as a defensive intern in the fall, where he worked with the Crimson Tide defensive staff.

From Alabama, Helow followed Pruitt to Florida State, the latter having spent the previous three seasons as the secondary coach at Alabama, before joining Jimbo Fisher’s staff. Helow also credited Fisher for the opportunity and the job he has done with coaching the Seminoles this season.

“It was a difficult decision to leave Alabama, but Jeremy Pruitt gave me an opportunity to come to Florida State as a graduate assistant and have coaching duties in the secondary and recruiting. If you want to be a college coach, you have to know how to recruit, and as a GA, you can recruit.”

As Helow looks ahead and continues to climb the coaching ladder, he also looks back on his playing career at Ole Miss. For him, it has been and will continue to be about the process, taking it one day at a time and controlling what he can control.

“Building on my experience playing at Ole Miss, I want to do my job the best I can and have fun doing it. I want to attack every day with the mindset of getting better and making everyone around me better.  I want to share my enthusiasm, intensity and passion for the game and life with those around me.

“I have been blessed by the experiences I have had as a player and a coach.  I want to continue to learn as much as I can and share that knowledge with those around me.  The players we work with come from many different backgrounds.  I want to help them become great football players and great men.”

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Rebels Not Lacking Motivation in Rivalry Matchup

      Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - Football

      Head coach Hugh Freeze called the Egg Bowl the most prized possession of this university's football program, and getting the Egg Bowl back should be enough motivation for his team entering Saturday's game against Mississippi State.  An Independence, Mississippi, native,... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 17-23, 2014)

      Monday, November 24, 2014 -

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 17-23, 2014Men's Basketball- Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with wins over Southern University and Northern Arizona as part of the Emerald Coast Classic, improving to 3-1 on the season.- Ole Miss... read more

    • Golson Named Finalist for Conerly Trophy

      Monday, November 24, 2014 - Football

      Senior cornerback Senquez Golson, one of five finalists for the Bronco Nagurski Award, which honors the national defensive player of the year, will represent Ole Miss as one of 10 finalists for the C Spire Conerly Trophy, which honors the... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Nov. 23

      Sunday, November 23, 2014 - Athletics

      It's that busy time of the year with the Ole Miss football, volleyball, men's and women's basketball teams all in action. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was in Ole Miss sports:- A slow start (17-0... read more

    • Rebels Unable to Overcome Slow Start

      Saturday, November 22, 2014 - Football

      FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas jumped out to a 17-0 in the first quarter and took advantage of six Ole Miss turnovers on the way to a 30-0 shutout win Saturday in Fayetteville."I was concerned all week, for whatever reason, that... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Arkansas

      Saturday, November 22, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 8 Ole Miss travels to Arkansas in its final road game of the regular season Saturday. Slowing the Hogs' Ground Attack The extra week of preparation, defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said, should prove beneficial... read more

    • Rebels Ahead of Schedule in Year Three

      Thursday, November 20, 2014 - Football

      It's sometimes easy to forget where the Ole Miss football program was just three short years ago, when Hugh Freeze was interviewing for the head coaching position. The Rebels had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 10-16, 2014)

      Monday, November 17, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 10-16, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the 2014-15 season with two wins over the weekend. The Rebels took down Grambling 92-67 in the season opener on Friday and followed... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Nov. 16

      Sunday, November 16, 2014 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss football team was off, but it was a busy week in Ole Miss athletics nevertheless, as the men's and women's basketball teams opened their respective seasons. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:-... read more

    • Getting Healthy, Staying Sharp on the Bye Week

      Friday, November 14, 2014 - Football

      No. 10 Ole Miss was without several starters and regular contributors against Presbyterian, and many others were limited.  But given an extra week of rest, head coach Hugh Freeze said he expects everyone, with the exception of the players out... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 11

      Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 11 - Presbyterian (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 3-9, 2014)

      Monday, November 10, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 3-9, 2014Football- Ole Miss took a break from the rugged Southeastern Conference and earned a 48-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Saturday.- It was the Rebels' first shutout since beating Tulane 39-0 in 2012.-... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Nov. 9

      Sunday, November 9, 2014 - Football

      Austin Miller handled all of this week's edition of the Observations from the Best Seat in the House. Check out what he had to say below:- The nation's best scoring defense finally got its first shutout of the season, as... read more

    • Wilkins, Dodson Shine in Blowout Win

      Saturday, November 8, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss racked up the second-most yards in school history, totaling 640 yards, including 402 yards on the ground, in a 48-0 rout of Presbyterian. The Rebels were able to limit the reps for several players in the contest, with... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-PC

      Saturday, November 8, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 11 Ole Miss hosts FCS opponent Presbyterian in its final non-conference matchup of the regular season. Execute, Stay Heathy Saturday's game with Presbyterian is more about Ole Miss than its opponent, as the team's... read more