KNOXVILLE — Defensive line coach Chuck Smith will not return to his position next season, Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley announced Sunday.
“I am grateful for the personal investment, hard work, and passion that Chuck contributed to our program this past year,” Dooley said in a statement. “He is a dear friend to me, and more importantly, will always be a part of the Tennessee family.”
The university said the decision was by mutual agreement, and that Smith wished to “pursue other career opportunities.”
Lance Thompson, the Volunteers’ linebackers coach for the past two years, will take over for Smith. Former NFL linebacker Peter Sirmon was hired as the new linebackers coach.
“Lance’s extensive experience coaching defensive linemen combined with Peter’s work product over the past year makes these decisions seamless,” Dooley said. “Lance has experienced tremendous success as both a defensive coordinator and line coach, while Peter’s work ethic, professionalism, coaching ability, and success as a linebacker at both the collegiate and professional ranks precluded me from pursuing any other candidates.”
Sirmon helped coached the Vols’ safeties as a graduate assistant last season.