Bert Watts bids farewell to Auburn after accepting job with Denver Broncos

A day after reports surfaced that Bert Watts would be the next assistant to leave the Auburn staff, the decision became official.

The Denver Broncos announced Monday night that Watts was one of seven new additions to the franchise’s coaching staff. Watts, who spent the 2021 season as Auburn’s special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach, will coach Denver’s outside linebackers on Nathaniel Hackett’s inaugural staff.

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“I would really like to thank the Auburn University athletic family for giving me and my family a great year in the Plains,” Watts said in a Twitter note late Monday night. “I want to thank Coach (Bryan) Harsin and (Sporting Director) Allen Greene for the opportunity to improve as a football coach and grow as a person. I especially want to thank my greats players and the new recruit, who will become great players for the Auburn Tigers. Luckily, I was offered the opportunity to coach in the NFL, and while I would have liked to stay at Auburn, I couldn’t pass up. this opportunity. Thank you all. WAR EAGLE!!”

Watts joined Harsin’s team at Auburn in late January on a two-year deal after spending the previous season as an assistant at Memphis. A three-year starting safety at Cal, Watts began his coaching career 18 years ago as a graduate assistant at his alma mater. After a stint coaching in Europe and two years coaching high school football in Florida, Watts spent two seasons as an intern in Colorado, then served as an assistant with the Broncos in 2012.

This was followed by a four-year stint as a defensive coordinator at UC-Davis from 2013 to 2016, when he also coached defensive backs. In 2017, he was hired to coach linebackers at Fresno State and was later promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2018-19 seasons.

In its lone season on the Plains, the Auburn defense recorded its most sacks since the 2018 season, with leading defensemen Derick Hall (nine), Eku Leota (seven) and TD Moultry (four) representing 20 of the team’s 36 sacks. Hall is tied for third in the SEC in sacks while earning All-SEC honors.

Watts is the fifth assistant to leave the coaching staff at Auburn since the end of the regular season. Harsin now has two vacancies to fill as he must replace Watts and hire an offensive coordinator following the sudden resignation of Austin Davis late last month.

Tom Green is a Beat Auburn reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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