Update On Tennessee’s Coaching Staff

Happy New Years to everyone!  This is going to be a thorough look at Tennessee’s coaching staff, or at least what we know of it so far. I’ve tried to compile all the big information into one post, because I know that I, for one, was getting annoyed having to switch back and forth between multiple firefox tabs if I wanted information about all the coaches at once. So this should make things simpler. But let me first start by sharing an interview with Lane Kiffin, that I found. Click here to see the video.

As we all know by now, Lane Kiffin is the new head football coach for the Tennessee Volunteers. What most people probably don’t know at this point is who Lane Kiffin has kept from last year’s coaching staff and who else he has brought in so far. From what I can tell, Kiffin will be keeping two of the members from last year’s staff: Stan Drayton, Running Backs Coach and Jason Michael, Tight Ends Coach. Six other coaches have also been brought in. I put together a list of coaching positions, both those that have been filled and those that are still vacant. With them I will list who, from what I can tell, will be holding each of these spots on the staff. Not all of these are official yet, and I’m not 100% sure on exactly who will be holding what positions, but I’m pretty confident with what I have listed. I’m also adding the age and histories of the different coaches. Lane Kiffin, Monte Kiffin, Ed Orgeron and Jim Chaney are the ones I’m really focusing on, but I’ll try to give at least a little bit on all the rest as well.

Head Coach: Lane Kiffin, 33 – During his time at Southern Cal, Kiffin served first as the Tight Ends Coach in 2001, then in ’02 and ’03 he took over the roll of Wide Receivers Coach. In 2004 he  also reamained as the Wide Receivers Coach as well as adding the responsibilities of Passing Game Coordinator. In 2005 Kiffin was promoted to Offensive Coordinator, kept all his other positions and also added Recruiting Coordinator to the list. Kiffin remained at USC with these same duties in ’05, ’06, and ’07.  During those three years he brought in the top recruiting class in the nation every year. Kiffin went on to be the Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders, where he coached for the 2007 season and for a quarter of the 2008 season before he was fired by the walking dead, oh, I mean fired by Al Davis. Now he is the Head Coach of our beloved Vols.

Defensive Coordinator: Monte Kiffin, 68 – Let me first start by saying that his resume is insane and there’s no way I can fit it all in, so let me hit on the main points. Kiffin is widely accepted as one of, if not the best defensive mind in NFL history. Kiffin served as the Defensive Coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 through 2008. During his early years with the Buccs, Kiffin developed the Tampa 2 defense with the then Head Coach of the Buccaneers and current Head Coach of the Inianapolis Colts, Tony Dungy. Kiffin’s coaching played a huge roll in the Bucc’s winning Super Bowl XXXVII. All I can really say is that he’s the best. If you’re a defensive player coming out of high school and you’re looking to go to a school that will best prepare you for the NFL, then there is no other coach in the nation that would fit your needs more than Monte Kiffin.

Offensive Coordinator: Jim Chaney, 46 – From 1997 to 2001 Chaney held the positions of Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line Coach, Tight Ends coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Purdue. From 2002 to 2005 he had all of those same responsibilities for the Boilermakers except for Recruiting Coordinator. In each of his five years as Recruiting Coordinator the Boilermakers pulled in classes that were top 10 in the nation. While at Purdue he also helped develop NFL quarterback’s Drew Brees and Kyle Orton. In Chaney’s nine years with the Boilermakers they led the Big Ten in passing five times and in total offense three times and ranked top ten in the nation in total offense six times. From 2006 through 2008 Chaney has served as the St. Louis Rams Tight Ends Coach and Assistant Offensive Line Coach. Chaney will also be helping out as the Offesnive Line Coach.

Special Team Coordinator: vacant

Recruiting Coordinator: Ed Orgeron, 47 – Let me start with a quote from ESPN writer Bruce Feldman when he wrote that Orgeron is “widely hailed as one of the top recruiters and defensive line coaches in football.” That speaks for itself but I’ll go on anyway. Orgeron coached at USC with Lane Kiffin, and both played big parts in USC’s 2004 National Championship. Before his Southern Cal days, he was the the Defensive Line Coach at Miami (FL) where he coached from 1988 to 1992 and during that time had eight of his linemen become All-Americans, including Cortez Kennedy, Russell Maryland and Warren Sapp, who were all first round draft picks for the NFL. During his time at Miami, the Hurricanes won two national championships. Orgeron was also name National Recruiter of the Year in 2004. Orgeron was head coach at the University of Mississippi from 2005 to 2007, where he pulled in the majority of the recruits that had the Rebels ranked in the top 20 this year. In 2008 he served as Defensive Line Coach of the New Orleans Saints. Now he’s a Volunteer.

Defensive Line Coach: Ed Orgeron, 47 – Just read everything I wrote above but I will add that Wes Rucker of the Chattanooga Times Free Press called Orgeron a “nationally-acclaimed recruiter.”

Linebackers Coach: Lance Thompson, 43 – In 1987 Thompson graduated from The Citadel. This is important because it tells us he knows how to work hard, and he knows how to get others to work hard. After graduating Thompson was hired by Georgia Tech as a graduate assistant in 1988, and from ’88 to ’91 he coached the defensive ends, including Marco Coleman, and in the 1990 season the Yellow Jackets won the National Championship. He remained a member of the Yellow Jacket staff through the 1998 season. During that time he served many different positions on the staff, including Directory of Football Operations, Recruiting Coordinator, Tight Ends Coach, and Defensive Line Coach. After his time at Georgia Tech, Thompson went to Alabama as  Defensive Line coach for the 1999 and 2000 seasons. He then went to another SEC team, and became the Assistant Head Coach at LSU from 2002 to 2003 where he also was in charge of recruiting and being the Tight Ends Coach. The three years after that Thompson took the role of Defensive Coordinator at Central Florida, where he helped build a young and successful squad. In 2007 he returned to Alabama, this time as the Linebackers Coach and in February 2008 was named National Recruiter of the Year. That’s the big thing to keep in mind. Less than a year ago, he was named National Recruiter of the Year.

Defensive Backs Coach: vacant

Quarterbacks Coach: David Reaves, 30 – In 2002 and 2003 Reaves served as a graduate assistant for the University of South Carolina, but since 2004 Reaves has been a full time member of the Gamecock’s coaching staff. In 2004 Reaves started out as the Assistant Defensive Backs Coach, working primarily with the safeties. In 2005 and 2006 Reaves was the Assistant Quarterbacks Coach (assistant to Steve Spurrier, the head coach himself) and in 2007 was handed the reigns and was promoted to Quarterbacks Coach. The previous year, in 2006, he was named Recruiting Coordinator, and the very next year brought in a top 10 recruiting class in the nation and he quickly earned “his reputation as one of the top young recruiters in college football.” Many considered that to be the best recruiting class in the school’s history. That year Rivals.com named him one of the top 25 recruiters in the nation. Reaves is the brother-in-law to Lane Kiffin.

Running Backs Coach: Stan Drayton, 37 – In 1993 Drayton started his coaching career as the Running Backs Coach at his Alma Mater, Allegheny, where he still hold records as the top rusher and scorer in school history. In ’94 he took up the position of Running Backs Coach at Eastern Michigan and then in ’95 accepted the same role at Pennsylvania. Then from 1996 to 2000 he found himself as the Runningbacks Coach for Villanova, where he coached Brian Westbrook, who became the first player in NCAA history to rush for 1,000+ yards and receiver for 1,000+ yards in the same season. After his time at Villanova, Drayton made his way to the NFL ranks, getting hired by the Green Bay Packers as the Offensive Quality Control Coach and Assistant Special Teams Coach. In his three years there, the Packers made three straight playoff appearances. In 2004 Drayton left the NFL and came to the SEC to take up the Running Backs Coach position at Mississippi State. While there he helped develop current NFL running back, Jerious Norwood. From ’05 to ’07 he was the running backs coach for the florida gators. Then last year, Philip Fulmer brought him to Tennessee as out Running Backs Coach. He is one of the two remaining coaches from Fulmer’s staff.

Tight Ends Coach: James Cregg, 34 – From 1997 to 1999 Cregg served as a Graduate Assistant at his Alma Mater, Colorado State. After that he served as the Defensive Line Coach for Colgate from 2000 to 2003. In ’02 and ’03 the Raiders won back-to-back Patriot League titles and in ’03 they went undefeated until losing in the I-AA Championship Game.  Cregg then spent three years as the Defensive Line coach at the University of Idaho, before being hired as the Oakland Raiders Assistant Offensive Line Coach in 2007, where he coached with Lane Kiffin. Cregg was hired by Kiffin as one of Tennessee’s coaches with two games left in the Raiders season.

Offensive Line Coach: vacant

Wide Receivers Coach: vacant

Strength Coach: Mark Smith, 44 – Another staff member that we managed to pull away from Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina crew. Smith had been with Spurrier since 1998, when he was still at florida. I don’t really know a whole lot else about Smith other than he’s supposedly really good. On some South Carolina fan boards, they went as far as saying that he’s the best Strength and Conditioning Coach in the nation. I don’t know how true that is, but I like the sounds of it. I believe it was the $200,000 salary that Tennessee offered him that got him to cut ties with the devil. Smith is supposed to take up his post in Knoxville on January 5.

As I learn more, I will try to update this, or put a new post together when I find new information. For more information, I recommend reading these articles:











For an update on Tennessee recruiting, I recommend reading this:


If you can’t tell, I’ve read a lot about all of this. If after reading some or all of those if you still want more information, I would strongly suggest going to ESPN.com and searching “Lane Kiffin” and plenty of things about him and his staff will come up.

I’m getting really excited about the staff that is being put together. I’m trying to remember that I have to leave time for an adjustment period. But it’s hard to keep my mind from running away from itself sometimes, so I’m curious as to what all of you think.

9 Responses

  1. I figured the easiest way to your attention is to post on something UT related. I was wondering if we could open up some debate on which NFL conference is the best and which college conference is the best. Also how does USC defense from this year rate all time?

  2. Also getting Monte Kiffin was a really good move by UT.

  3. I’m pumped… with Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron, I’d be very surprised if we don’t have a top 5 defense in the nation next year… and we’ll see what we can do about conference arguments… do you want something on which NFL Conference is the best, or which NFL division is the best?

  4. I meant division for the NFL

  5. This is mainly stemming from listening to Brad Nessler and Kirk Herbstriet talk about how good the pac 10 is cause they went 5-0 in bowl games. Winning big bowl games such as the sun bowl. the emerald bowl and the almighty las vegas bowl. To their credit the only team worth anything in the Pac 10 is USC obviously and they did what they should have done winning the Rose Bowl. Can we just move USC to a real conference so we can see better match ups?

  6. I agree entirely… the pac 10 is severely overrated… USC is great… but after that, who cares? lol… Oregon and Oregon State are pretty good, but nothing amazing.

  7. Looks like Kiffin has a pretty young staff overall. I’ll be interested to see what happens next fall. This house will be cheering for Tennessee!!

  8. Yes, it will be very interesting… I get excited and anxious and nervous and experience tons of other emotions when I think about it, lol.

  9. […] Coaching Staff Posted on February 15, 2009 by colts18 On New Year’s Day I wrote a post about Tennessee Football’s new coaching staff despite the fact that there were still quite a few vacant positions. Two weeks later, I wrote […]

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