Jim Chaney returns to Tennessee

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, January 10, 2019

After serving as offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee from 2009 to 2012 under Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley, Jim Chaney has found his way back to Knoxville under Jeremy Pruitt. Chaney has served as the offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at the University of Georgia since 2015. Under Chaney, Georgia’s offenses have finished among the best in the nation, including the 14th best offense in 2018.

Chaney has been involved in some of the best offenses in college football during his time as an offensive coordinator, including his time with the Purdue Boilermakers from 1997 to 2001. Chaney coached NFL legend Drew Brees into the most prolific quarterback in Purdue history. Brees set a multitude of Big 10 and NCAA records.

Already having a familiarity with Tennessee, Chaney should be able to step in and immediately create positive change for a team that has been desperate to get back into the spotlight of college football. Chaney will be responsible for rebuilding one of the SEC’s worst offenses over the past two years.

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Coach Jeremy Pruitt took to the podium Wednesday to announce Chaney’s return to Tennessee.

“Jim couldn’t be a better fit for our program at the University of Tennessee,” Pruitt said. “His track record of success guiding offenses speaks for itself from his time at Purdue with Drew Brees to his time in the NFL and his success in the SEC at Georgia, Arkansas and, of course, previously with the Vols.”

According to USA Today’s coach’s salary database, Chaney made $950,000 at Georgia in 2018. Chaney’s three-year $4.8 million deal seemed to be incentive enough to pull him away from in-conference rival Georgia and back to Tennessee.

Pruitt seems to be incredibly excited to have Chaney back in Knoxville.

“What most impresses me about Jim is his knowledge of the game and also the way he has adapted his offenses to his players’ strengths,” Pruitt said. “He’s had years where he has guided one of the nation’s top passing offenses and years where his offenses have been near the top in rushing.

“He could coach every position on offense and is a true teacher of the game. Jim has proven to be a great mentor for young men, and I’m excited to have him here at Tennessee.”

Chaney’s former boss and Georgia head coach Kirby Smart released a statement on Wednesday regarding Chaney’s departure.

“We were very fortunate to have Jim join our staff when I came to Georgia in 2016,” Smart said. “He has been an integral part of our team and program over these past three years, and we are grateful for his contributions to the Bulldogs during that time. I’m sure this represents a new challenge that will be exciting for Jim and his family and we wish him all the best.”

After previous offensive coordinator Tyson Helton left for Western Kentucky University in late November, the Tennessee fan base was bombarded with multiple names for the offensive coordinator position, seemingly all of whom landed other jobs with relative quickness.

Feeling as though they had been cursed, the fan base certainly feels a certain sense of release and familiarity with coach Chaney. There is an excitement surrounding the Tennessee program that hasn’t been there in a long time.