Chavis interviews with Falcons, staying with Vols

For the second time in the past two months, a member of Tennessee’s coaching staff decided to remain in Knoxville.

Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis said Monday he will remain at Tennessee after interviewing with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons over the weekend.

“I let (UT coach Phillip Fulmer) know last night my intentions were to stay at the University of Tennessee,” said Chavis, who interviewed for the Falcons’ vacant linebackers coach job. “I’m happy and delighted to be at Tennessee.”

Chavis said the Falcons are “the only people I’ve entertained anything with at all” this offseason.

Chavis, 51, has been the Vols’ defensive coordinator since 1995 and has coached linebackers at Tennessee since 1989.

Following the 2006 season, Chavis was named the American Football Coaches Association’s Division I-A assistant coach of the year.

And Chavis isn’t the only member of UT’s staff who chose to remain in Knoxville.

Shortly before the Vols left for the Outback Bowl in December, defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell decided to stay at Tennessee after talking with longtime friend and new Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino about becoming the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator.

Still, the Vols hired four new offensive coaches, including former Richmond head coach Dave Clawson to replace offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe.

Cutcliffe left to become head coach at Duke, taking with him running backs coach Kurt Roper and tight ends coach Matt Luke.

Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor also left to become co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 272

TommyJack writes:

Why would he do that if all is well? Hmmm?

rabidvol1998 writes:

The sky must be falling. Or maybe like all of us he's keeping doors and options open. Maybe he's tired of college bloggers and 18-21 year old kids.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

Nothing about that in the Atlanta paper (AJC), but they don't necessarily discuss all the assistant coach interviews.

TommyJack writes:

rabidvol: Yeah, must be the bloggers. Good Grief, man. lol

johnlg00 writes:

Um, because he's a Tennessee guy who knows the team will be better next year? Because he doesn't want it to look like the haters who post negative comments in anonymity ran him off? Because he realizes that Atlanta is a coaches' graveyard? I'm glad he's back to show that last year was a fluke. We might not have the best defense we have ever had next year, but I think they'll be a lot more like the unit we had in the SEC Championship game than the one we saw against Bama and Florida.

99gator writes:

i know this is coming from a gator....but all this stuff would scare me if i were a tenn fan.

why would chavis interview to be a position coach with the falcons?

why would cutcliffe take the job at duke instead of staying at tenn and getting a different head coaching gig. most any other job would be better than duke. with the mannings on his resume, you would think he eventually would get a better head coaching gig somewhere else. why the rush to leave?

it would make me suspicious that something is not right in shangri-la. not saying that's the case, but this doesn't seem right.

in addition, how long has chavis been at tenn. to leave now..... for the falcons.....i don't get it. did he turn down a job or not get offered one. why was he even looking?

TommyJack writes:

99gator: Good points. Good questions. But questions are not allowed here.

Tenn_Dawg writes:

I know many on here have their opinions of Chavis and there are certainly some strong opinions of him here in Chattanooga but VanGorder must think enough of him as a coach to interview him for a pro level job. He (Chavis) has been quoted as saying he is glad he is on the back side of career when discussing the difficulties of coaching in this day in age. A move does not make a whole lot of sense at this point. Especially if he is planning on quiting in two to three years from now which some I've talked to seem to think is likely.

superk#226173 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tenn_Dawg writes:

99Gator those are some very good questions. I'm curious if Chavis was looking or if VanGorder contacted him and he was interviewing as a courtesy or just to see what they had to offer. One thing for sure is St. Nick will know be telling propects for the 2009 class that Chavis is not happy at UT. I had heard about Chavis possibly leaving/looking around on a sport talk radio show here in Chattanooga on Friday. I guess for once a radio rumor was true.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

TommyJack -Is blogging anything like clogging?

Chavis is tuff to interview for any position with the ego-feeding Arturo (Mike Vick wheel-chair pushing) Blank's Falcon's.

DennisVols writes:

Chavis has interviewed with several NFL teams (KC Chiefs for one) during his time at UT. Each time he has chose to remain a Vol.
Many on here stated before, other blogs, that no one else wants Chavis. He is a great teacher and has had to patch togethe this defene over the past several years due to injuries an early deparures.
His commitment to this program and the players throughout the years is comendable.

FWBVol writes:

How many of us, happy in our jobs, haven't looked or tested the waters to see what else is out there? Just because someone applies/interviews for another position doesn't also mean something is terribly wrong where they are. It's crazy to always draw that conclusion.

DennisVols writes:

Why woud he stay if all was not well?

99gator writes:

just to clarify my comments....

my shock is not that he looked for an nfl job.....but, seeking a job with the falcons reeks of desperation to get out of where you are.

of the 32 teams in the nfl, the falcons and the raiders are two organizations (if i had options) that i would never want to work for at the given time.

i understand that the geography of atlanta relative to knoxville may have had an appeal as to any affect on his family (i do not know chavis' marital status, if he has kids, if the kids are grown, etc).

but, other than that.....i do not understand why a man with his job would think about the falcons.


DennisVols is right. Chavis has interviewed 3 or 4 different times since he's been at Tennessee. I remember the Chiefs and also he interviewed with Indianapolis 4 or 5 years ago (give or take a year or so). It's nothing new that he'd interview, it's just a little odd since he mentioned possibly wanting to get out of coaching in the next few years.

TommyJack writes:

Dennis: Beats me. The simple fact that he interviewed, knowing it would get out, is interesting. You think CPF is happy about this getting out? I don't.

posivol writes:

99gator--just curious why a gator (chomp chomp)feels the need to post daily on a vols fan site.

are you a closet (vol)fan?

i suspect you just prefer to stoke the fires of the malcontents.

Pullingguard writes:

Well is his not going a good omen or a bad one.
I think Chavis is a good guy and a good coach, but he cannot turn loose of those he has surrounded himself with that have not been doing a good job. The DB coaching can be improved upon and it seems that Chavis is immune from suggestions by Fulmer or anyone when it comes to the defensive coaching staff. I also don't know why this is even a story, if he was happy at UT and he interviewed with Falcons and evidently was not offered the job and comes back to Knoxville and they let it be known that he interviewed with Flacons, probably a dozen more did also.. Are they stuffing ego's or just trying to get some print over on Hill.

posivol writes:

DennisVols--dont go their brother,according to many,our coaches couldnt get a nfl job if they paid for it.

heil theyre just here because theyre lucky 10 times a year.

jim_bell#606576 writes:

Grass might be greener TJ.

99gator writes:


i have answered that question a few times, so i am going to be brief. i will just say i am an SEC fan and it is more interesting reading stuff from other places. i read stuff on the gators too. but, i can get a gator info constantly and i keep up with the program. i find it interesting to see what's going on elsewhere.

when i write something, i am giving an honest take or opinion. i have stuck around so that when i write something.....people have seen enough of me to know that i am not just trying to ruffle feathers.

mj54 writes:

Chavis is staying??? And the news just keeps getting worse for UT!

Why would he leave? He's got a cush job from a boss that could careless how he performs and he doesn't even have to recruit.

BigOrange1 writes:

FWBVol - great point, finally someone makes sense.

Despite what some of you may think, you have no idea whats going on on the "inside"...not me, you, or anybody else. Just because you interview at another job doesn't mean your unhappy with your current position. I've done it. If Chavis is really that unhappy, then I'd like to think he'd leave.

It's amazing how some of you so-called experts know what's going on after reading a two paragraph article. Give it a rest!!

Tenn_Dawg writes:

TommyJack....Nick is happy it got out. If the Falcons/ VanGorder contacted Chavis then this is probably nothing more than a good coach looking at other opportunities. If Chavis contacted the Falcons about an opening then maybe there is some validity to the theory posted by some that all is not well in Big Orange Country. I'm not sure what I think. I would like to hear some more details first.

posivol writes:

i think fulmer has laid down the law,the offense is in transformation and the defense will follow suit,one way or the other.

the cheif has been one of if not the best d.c. we have ever had,but times change and you either change with them or get left behind.

we will know this year,i think we see a defensive transformation next.

johnlg00 writes:

99gator, you have been a most considerate guest on this board, even being an "enemy"(;-P) and all, so I'll take you at your word that you are just asking for information. I of course can only offer opinions, but here goes.
I'm not sure Cutcliffe could get a better head coach job than Duke. He is in his mid-50s with a history of heart problems and a mediocre record as a head coach at Ole Miss. He nearly tripled his salary by going to Duke; if he wins three or four games a year, they'll put up a statue of him. Almost anywhere else would demand a better coaching record and would certainly expect more success. I think Duke is a good fit for him at this stage of his career.
I don't know how serious Chavis was in his dealings with Atlanta. I don't know what relationships he might have with the powers-that-be there that led to an interview. They are desperate right now; maybe he thought they might offer him a boatload of money, more than he could make as an assistant at any other college, and he has said that he wasn't interested in any head coach position that he was likely to get. Maybe he thought it would be good to let some people around here know that other people thought he was doing a pretty good job. When assistants have the length of tenure that he has had, and when you add up all the years Cutcliffe spent at UT..., well, that is just uncommon at any college these days. It is at least as surprising that they were both here as long as they were and are. I don't think these situations necessarily mean anything out of the ordinary is wrong at UT, though of course I could wrong, and no doubt others will have different opinions.

bigbluevol writes:

Part of the reason he might have interviewed could be due to the fact that he is apparently friends with several people on the new Falcons' staff. That comes from WBIR's story on this same subject. He could have interviewed out of courtesy, curiosity or anything else. I do agree that if there were problems and people were bailing out, doesn't it seem that Chavis would have taken this out?

DennisVols writes:

Probably no but it isn't the first time Chavis has inteviewed for the NFL.
The fact that he chose to stay says alot.
I know the Falcons have had their fair share of bad press but the currnt changes are being looked upon as good for them.
The Falcons contacted Chavis,not the other way around. No one can blame him for doing the inteview. If any of us were contacted about anothe opportunty, who would not check it out to see if it might be a better career move even if we were happy where we were?
If things are as bad as some seem to think, why not jump into the 1st lifeboat avilable? He DID NOT
Cut. went to Duke because they gave him the right answers concerning backing of the program. We all knew it was just a matter of time before he left again.

RockyTopTalk writes:

Hey now, rabidvol1998. This blogger supports Chavis.

And pdhuff, yes, blogging is like clogging, except you dance with your fingers. Moonshine and shotguns are discretionary in either case.

TommyJack writes:

Posivol: 99gator's post are much more logical, informative, and grammatically worthy than anything you've put up.

99gator writes:


yeah, some of that makes sense.

i did not include trooper taylor because he left for a promotion. that makes sense.

cutcliffe left for a promotion too. but, duke is a dead end job. maybe you are right. maybe he never would get a better opportunity. i don't know. i did not realize he had health problems.

if chavis has connections to members of the new staff in atlanta, than this makes more sense.

cjraney writes:

When our coaches don't interview w/other teams people say no one wants them. When they do take interviews or a different job, its b/c something is wrong on the hill. Folks, those opinions are mutually exclusive; you have to choose one or the other. So which is it?

hcjournals#206623 writes:

First of all, everyone tap on the brakes. If Atlanta asked to speak to Coach Chavis it is not uncommon to talk to them. It also doesn't mean he wants to leave. He doesn't.
When other teams ask to interview your coach, it shows that he is a well thought of coach. Period. Let the paranoia stop. And've got your own problems with Oscar Meyer. No running backs are going to want to come to Fla because of the offense. Fix that, then come on back and help us with our coaching staff. Thanks for caring so much......hehehehehehehehehehe.

99gator writes:

again, i don't want to be misunderstood.

staff changes happen all the time. florida just had another assistant leave. in each case (maybe because i have more information regarding florida), it was understood why the assistant left.

in tenn's case, some of these things did not seem right (trooper taylor being an exception), but i don't know as much about tenn.

as someone else wrote, if someone is not interested in members of your should be concerned.

cjraney writes:

Re: Cutcliffe, he has publicly maintained his desire to be a HC again. Now he is and he took with him the people he brought to UT. Seems to make sense.

One can surely question the choice of Duke, but there are definitely positives to it.
1. Mediocrity will be a huge success.
2. There's nowhere to go but up.
3. Excellent pay for himself AND assistants.
4. He will be dealing with intelligent administrators and players.
5. The fan base won't be so far up his butt they can taste his breakfast.

99gator writes:


i don't say this to further pump up the legend of spurrier. but, spurrier was the exception not the rule.

look at duke football before spurrier....look at duke football after spurrier.

i know nothing about cutcliffe other than what you would read on a resume. i wish him the best. but, it's duke. the best chance duke has at winning football games is during a scrimmage.

TommyJack writes:

Oh well, it could have been worse. He could have interviewed with Falcons BEFORE recruiting. That would have looked good. But wait, this is the same guy who admitted publically that he was thinking of getting out of coaching. Great for recruiting. But wait! He's never shown much passion for recruiting anyway. Stay the course.
All is good.

pms151 writes:

Man you guys are typing so fast my brain can't keep up. Which brain are those fingers attached to? This is normal stuff for coaches this time of year. If Fulmer and Hamilton wanted him gone he would have already been gone.

posivol writes:

TommyJack--Posivol: 99gator's post are much more logical, informative, and grammatically worthy than anything you've put up.

tj,you just have a gator crush---it will pass.

GoVol writes:

It's common knowledge Chavis doesn't like to recruit. So, just maybe Fulmer is telling Chavis he now has to be more dedicated to recruiting and Chavis doesn't like it, hence, the discussion with the Falcons??
As folks are saying, something isn't kosher in K-town.

BigOrangeJeff writes:

Anyone remember after the '98 NC season when Chief interviewed for the DL coach position with the Colts? I don't recall anyone questioning the direction of the program at that time?

Who knows why he interviewed? It could have been a favor/courtesy to a friend. It might be that he is looking to challenge himself at the next level. Perhaps he was genuinely interested in the job. It's entirely possible that he is concerned for the future at UT. One thing is for certain. Only Chavis knows for sure why he interviewed.

In your haste to point out the negative negative possibility within any news about the program, some of you leave logic behind. You guys make this worse than a political campaign.

posivol writes:

99gator--says-i know this is coming from a gator....but all this stuff would scare me if i were a tenn fan.

and--it would make me suspicious that something is not right in shangri-la. not saying that's the case, but this doesn't seem right.

posivol says--spin it any way you wish,your just stoking the bout stoking it back to gainsville where you belong (chomp/chomp).

pms151 writes:

This youtube addiction is really out of control tngeoff. Are you overdosing? Call 911 if so. Or take a vacation to Fantasy Island. de plane boss.

99gator writes:


it doesn't strike you as odd at all that a man who has been on the staff over ten years (i think) all of a sudden was looking at a job with an nfl organization that is a league wide joke at this moment in time. i think the question i asked makes sense.

i don't care if chavis stays or leaves. i don't know who would replace chavis. maybe, that guy would be better. maybe clawson will be better than cutcliffe. maybe worse. i don't know. so, my opinion is not influenced by a secret wish to see chavis leave tenn.

if you read this stuff often enough, you would know that no one needs any help in being negative if they so choose.

people are so divided by who is positive and who is negative, that no one will acknowledge when the other side has a point.

cjraney writes:

You know what, I'm changing my mind; the alternative [that coaches often interview for other jobs] is just too logical.

I must now agree that there is some huge, program-crippling secret about UT football being guarded in Knoxville. It is so big and damaging that everyone associated with the program has their lips double-sealed and there is no chance it would ever leak out. Man, we will probably NEVER find out what this super-secret is, so why don't we just speculate instead?

CoverOrange writes:

Probably Chief interviewed just to see how much they were offering. Obviously, not enough.

"common knowledge Chavis doesn't like to recruit"? Strange that I had never heard that before this recruiting season. But, I am not in the beltway around the AD like some.

Cut probably went to Duke because it was the one place they were practically giving him the keys to the city. Once bitten, twice shy. He wasn't going anywhere where he didn't have control over who he hires and fires (see Ole Miss AD).

posivol writes:

99gator--not odd al all considering hes friends w/ the new head coach of atlanta.

would you not go and hear what your friend has to say as well as offer advice on possible coaches for the job.

TommyJack writes:

cjraney: I don't see any secret hand-shake conspiracy here. Just think it's a bit peculiar for the Assoc. Head Coach to be talking to NFL about a position coach job. No big deal to me. Just curious. I know the faithful dislike questions about the program, so excuuuuse me.

gohawks1 writes:

There's not a conspiracy behind every action, guys. It could be just an opportunity that has arisen, and JC checks it out to weigh his options.

A) Opportunity knocks.
B) Check it out.
C) Weigh positives against negatives.
D) Make a decision.
E) Stay at TN.

People do it all the time. It's natural to evaluate your options. Nothing sinister going on....

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