KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former Michigan coach Brady Hoke is joining Tennessee’s staff as an associate head coach and defensive line coach.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones announced the appointments for Hoke and new offensive line coach Walt Wells on Tuesday night. Both assistants agreed to two-year deals, with Hoke receiving $500,000 annually and Wells receiving $300,000 per year.
“Tennessee has a great tradition, a great program and a rabid fan base,” Hoke said in a university statement. “That is something you always want to be involved with. To come here and be a part of this staff — Coach Jones and I have known each other a long time — it’s something that we are very excited about and can’t wait to get started.”
Steve Stripling had been Tennessee’s defensive line coach and Don Mahoney had coached the offensive line for the first four years of Jones’ tenure. Stripling will now work as director of football program development, while Mahoney didn’t have his contract renewed.
“This new position will allow (Stripling) the opportunity to be involved in every facet of our football program, not just the defensive side or the defensive line room,” Jones said in a statement.
Hoke owns a 78-70 record in 12 seasons as a head coach with Ball State (2003-08), San Diego State (2009-10) and Michigan (2011-14). He led Michigan to an 11-2 record and Sugar Bowl title in 2011, but was fired after a 5-7 season in 2014.
“We feel extremely fortunate to get someone of Coach Hoke’s caliber that will continue to develop our defensive linemen while also providing expertise and experience to all of our players and coaching staff,” Jones said in a statement. “He has an extensive track record of success as a head coach and on the defensive side of the ball. He will be a great fit to our entire organization.”
Hoke has built plenty of quality defenses over the course of his career, though his one-year stint as Oregon’s defensive coordinator on Mark Helfrich’s staff this past season didn’t go as planned.
The Ducks allowed 518.4 yards and 41.4 points per game last season to rank 126th out of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in both categories. Helfrich was fired after Oregon finished 4-8.
Wells was an offensive quality control coach for Tennessee this past season. He previously has worked at Eastern Kentucky (1997-2002, 2015), New Mexico State (2014), South Florida (2013) and Western Kentucky (2003-12).
The addition of Hoke and the promotion of Wells represent the latest of numerous changes to Tennessee’s staff in the wake of a 9-4 season that included a Music City Bowl victory over Nebraska.
Tennessee promoted tight ends/special teams coach Larry Scott to offensive coordinator after Mike DeBord left to coordinate Indiana’s offense. The Vols also brought in Mike Canales as quarterbacks coach, named Rock Gullickson strength coach and hired defensive backs coach Charlton Warren away from North Carolina to replace Willie Martinez, who wasn’t brought back to the staff. Warren is filling Scott’s old duties as special teams coordinator.
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