Family, work cornerstones for Terry Joseph

UT coach learned value of planning ahead from parents

University of Tennessee football defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph, right, coaches from the sidelines during the Orange and White Game.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

University of Tennessee football defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph, right, coaches from the sidelines during the Orange and White Game.

Age: 36

Position Coaching: Defensive backs/Recruiting coordinator

Hired: Jan. 17, 2010

As a Coach: 2007-09 - Louisiana Tech; 2006 - LSU; 2002-05 - Destrehan High School (La.); 1999-2002 - Archbishop Shaw High School (La.)

As a Player: 1993-1995 - Baseball at Northwestern State. Was named the 1995 Southland Conference Baseball Player of the Year and went on to four minor league playing seasons in the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres organizations. Earned his bachelor's degree in 1996.

Personal: Was a two-time GTE Academic All-American in baseball at Northwestern State. His cousin Vance Joseph is the secondary coach for the San Francisco 49ers.

Tennessee defensive backs coach Terry Joseph, right, works with players during spring practice. Joseph is also
UT’s recruiting coordinator.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess // Buy this photo

Tennessee defensive backs coach Terry Joseph, right, works with players during spring practice. Joseph is also UT’s recruiting coordinator.

Terry Joseph Jr.'s oldest daughter is celebrating her birthday this weekend. A few weeks later, she will turn 7.

Taylor Joseph is old enough not to be confused by that.

This is the last weekend before her father immerses himself in a profession that doesn't always have time for birthdays. Terry Joseph is the recruiting coordinator and defensive backfield coach for first-year Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley.

"We always move it to the last weekend before training camp," said the 36-year-old Joseph, who also was an assistant coach under Dooley at Louisiana Tech. "We call it a 'training camp birthday.'

"Dad's always been coaching, so she understands that. Actually, it gives her a chance to have her birthday before school starts, so she's pretty excited about that."

Her 5-year-old sister, Lynleigh, also knows about football-arranged birthdays. She was born May 26, which puts her birthday in the midst of spring recruiting.

"She gets to celebrate her birthday in early June when daddy is off the road," Joseph said with a laugh.

By juggling the dates, there are no halfhearted birthday parties in Joseph's family. He can join his wife, Amanda, and the girls without the distraction of a job that can be all-consuming if you don't plan ahead.

Back on the job, there are plenty of photographic reminders in Joseph's office of what's back home. His daughters' smiles are the brightest attractions in a busy room.

Family and work: Terry learned about the importance of both while he and his brother were growing up on the outskirts of New Orleans in Marrero, La. His mother worked as a nurse's assistant, and his father worked at a shipyard only five miles from their home. Both have worked at their jobs long enough to have advanced to supervisory roles, but Terry remembers the harder times.

"All growing up, they were doing back-breaking work," Terry said. "I remember that no matter what, my dad was going to be up at 4 o'clock and he was going to be out the door at 5 o'clock. But he never complained.

"As Mom and Dad stressed academics to me, I got a sense of why they stressed them, because they didn't want me to have to support my family the same way."

Years later, Joseph is reminded of his parents' priorities whenever he returns to the house in which he grew up. As a high school and college athlete, he won numerous awards. And after he graduated from Northwestern State University, he played for four years in the Chicago Cubs organization. But his parents were prouder of his other accomplishments.

"My college degree is hanging on the wall, right next to my academic All-American plaque," Joseph said. "It meant a lot to them for me to achieve that. And my little brother (Derrick) graduated from Tulane.

"It says a lot about the groundwork my parents laid for us."

Terry planned on putting his degree to work after his athletic ability carried him through his 30s.

"I knew baseball was going to be my ticket," he said.

He excelled as a hitter and center fielder while starting every game at Northwestern State. The Chicago Cubs drafted him in the 13th round.

"My plan leaving Northwestern State was I was going to make it to the big leagues, play 10 or 15 years, and use my business degree to manage my money."

He planned on everything but the slider.

"I had some good years, made it up to Double-A (in Jackson), but I couldn't hit the slider. I kind of saw the writing on the wall that I needed to do something else.

"I was very realistic with myself. Here I was, a 5-9, 180-pound outfielder who bats right. They're almost a dime a dozen in minor league baseball. ... I felt it was time to move on to another phase in my life."

The move took him back home and back to football.

"Just try coaching," said Hank Tierney, the longtime head coach at high school powerhouse Archbishop Shaw. "I think you will be good at it."

Tierney based that on his remembrance of Joseph as a high school wide receiver and defensive back.

"He played football like a coach," said Tierney, who now coaches high school football in Ponchatoula, La. "He had an ability to analyze situations because he had such a great understanding of the game. I knew he would be a good coach."

Joseph had something else going for him: his last name.

He came from a family of football players, all of whom played for Tierney. His younger brother, Derrick, later played wide receiver at Tulane. His first cousins, Mickey (Nebraska) and Vance (Colorado), also played college football. Derrick, Mickey and Vance were option quarterbacks for Tierney, who, during the course of a phone interview, figured up that he won close to 100 games with the three Josephs at quarterback.

Despite the strong football ties in his family, Terry viewed the coaching job as temporary, rather than the first step in a career. But coaching caught him by surprise.

"Football is about studying film to try to find an edge that will make your team better," Joseph said. "That's the part that really hooked me."

His father wasn't surprised. He remembered all the Friday nights he and Terry attended high school football games together, before his son started playing.

"He would sit there with a piece of paper, writing all these numbers down," Terry Joseph Sr. said. "He could often tell you what the next play was going to be."

After a late entry into the profession, Terry Jr. moved up quickly, leaving his old high school for a job at Destrehan, then landing a position on Les Miles' LSU staff as a graduate assistant for a year before joining Dooley at Louisiana Tech.

"(Dooley) interviewed me at the coaching convention in San Antonio," Joseph said. "He did not ask me the first question about football for the first 45 minutes. He wanted to know what kind of person I was, what I believed in.

"At the end of the day, he offered me the job. I accepted two seconds later."

Three years later, Joseph was just as eager to follow Dooley to UT. Back in South Louisiana, his advancement wasn't lost on his former coach.

"I tell people all the time that I see Terry as a coordinator, then a head coach," Tierney said. "He's going places."

The further he goes, the better his parents can feel about the countless hours they invested in the future of their two sons, both of whom attended private schools from childhood through high school. The parents took on extra shifts at work whenever possible, and Terry's dad even did a landscaping business on the side in whatever spare time he had. The grandparents did their share as well, looking after Terry and Derrick when needed.

"When you look back at it now, it gives you chill bumps," Terry's father said. "But we made it through."

John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 25

nocleats writes:

Welcome Coach! Sounds like you have worked very hard to get here, now, here you are at a BIG program in a Big conference on a big stage. Make the most of your chance, youve earned the right, Go For It!!

69grad writes:

He will set a great example for our Vols.

VOL1SG writes:

Good article. Interesting interview CDD had with him before hiring him.
Coach'em up and make them proud to be a VOL.

RoadTrip writes:

Another coach that CDD has on board that reflects what the program will look like in a few years. Hard working, intelligent, athletic players with great character - all part of a winning formula that also reflects well on the university and the community.

Welcome, Coach Joseph. Your background and coaching abilities are perfect for the Vol nation. Do your thing.

GBO!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Just a note, and not that anyone gives a rat's butt:

I will neither read nor comment upon any articles concerning B. Brown or L. Kiffin.

None.

If any others choose to join the boycott, KNS will eventually drop them.

whippersnapper writes:

An All American story !!

Welcome to Big Orange Country !!

rockytopatl writes:

in response to always_vol:

Just a note, and not that anyone gives a rat's butt:

I will neither read nor comment upon any articles concerning B. Brown or L. Kiffin.

None.

If any others choose to join the boycott, KNS will eventually drop them.

Boycott all you want, but that's not the way news works. This is a newspaper website and they cover the news about Tennessee, be it current players and coaches and former players and coaches.

Personally, I'm interested in hearing all the Kiffin news because, little by little, he will sink into the Pacific. It will be a fun ride.

mercuryvol writes:

in response to always_vol:

Just a note, and not that anyone gives a rat's butt:

I will neither read nor comment upon any articles concerning B. Brown or L. Kiffin.

None.

If any others choose to join the boycott, KNS will eventually drop them.

Exactly,untamed.Why are we all wasting time on basically the problem people articles when we could be reading about character building coaches and players on our present staff?

dvhill100 writes:

Always enjoy reading about these types of success stories. There are players out there who are 4-5 stars and good citizens (Eric Berry). I am happy CDD will concentrate on them for UT.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

Boycott all you want, but that's not the way news works. This is a newspaper website and they cover the news about Tennessee, be it current players and coaches and former players and coaches.

Personally, I'm interested in hearing all the Kiffin news because, little by little, he will sink into the Pacific. It will be a fun ride.

No, it's a website. Websites earn their money off of eyeballs.

So, while the loss of my attention won't make much of a difference....noting is driving me to click on those particular stories.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to mercuryvol:

Exactly,untamed.Why are we all wasting time on basically the problem people articles when we could be reading about character building coaches and players on our present staff?

Realistically, Kiffin and Brown draw a lot of clicks, and make the KNS folks money.

After a while, though, even a broke mule has had enough of plowing that ground.

Fulton_Vol writes:

Coach Joseph has earned a shot in the SEC and the neat thing is he sounds like an A-one guy. His family is important and his priorities set in order. Those are the kinds of players we need representing the University of Tennessee. Smart athletes with character that won't embarrass the program at 2 am somewhere on strip.

TNvalleyVOL writes:

in response to always_vol:

Just a note, and not that anyone gives a rat's butt:

I will neither read nor comment upon any articles concerning B. Brown or L. Kiffin.

None.

If any others choose to join the boycott, KNS will eventually drop them.

amen and I'm in...well past the time to move on

gatorhator4eva writes:

welcome to big orange country coach. go get em.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Fulton_Vol:

Coach Joseph has earned a shot in the SEC and the neat thing is he sounds like an A-one guy. His family is important and his priorities set in order. Those are the kinds of players we need representing the University of Tennessee. Smart athletes with character that won't embarrass the program at 2 am somewhere on strip.

I don't expect athletes to be saints. On the other hand, I don't expect them to imitate 'gangland (credit to History Channel) fools, either.

If I ever, EVER had a player striking an obviously defenseless person (such as lying to the ground), he'd be gone. I don't care if it's Petyon or Tee or Condredge. If you can't control your aggression, then you can't play in my program.

These players need some serious work in the martial arts to learn what is acceptable and what isn't, and how to protect themselves without ti going too far.

CroKev writes:

As a Vol fan, Coach Joseph, thank goodness for the slider!

lincolncovol writes:

My friends in La.bragged on this hire. They say he is one heck of a coach and better yet, a heIIeva great person, from a great family.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to rabidvolfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are one helluva person.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Oddly, I'd agree with you if this where a case of 'work, or your family starves'. This isn't one of those cases.

How many hours you put in does not make you a great coach. Knowing what in the hell you are doing, AND being able to teach that to others, is what gets you there.

Any man who puts his job above his family when he doesn't have to in order to keep them fed isn't really much of a man; basically, he's shirking his responsibilities.

Southland writes:

in response to rabidvolfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

this is a sad post Sad that someone is so out of touch with what is important. Sad that you would put a bunch of bad people in a position that would allow them to hurt other people and the university. Buzz failed because Buzz was in over his head. At the end of his life he should be able to say that he was a good Christian, a good family member and a decent coach. If that is not the order things fall in then he was a failure

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Southland:

this is a sad post Sad that someone is so out of touch with what is important. Sad that you would put a bunch of bad people in a position that would allow them to hurt other people and the university. Buzz failed because Buzz was in over his head. At the end of his life he should be able to say that he was a good Christian, a good family member and a decent coach. If that is not the order things fall in then he was a failure

Buzz wasn't over his head. He lost quite a few games by a small number of points. sometimes, things just do not work out for people.

Think about Tubby: great coach, wins a championship...and gets run off??? Tubby certainly knew what he was about, yet still things fell apart on him.

VolGrad writes:

Great story..., and it continues.

Go Vols!!!

gnm53108 writes:

John Adams wrote this?

Good read.

allvol34 writes:

Let's hope he don't let family come before the team. That was Buzz Petersons biggest problem, which kept him from winning at the highest level. I was worried about Buzz at his press conference when he said the 3 most important things in his life are in this order; 1. Jesus Christ 2. My family 3. My profession. I think he should have at least had his profession 2nd, you have to, to win at this level. I'm also tired of hearing about recruiting good characters. The most important thing is to get great players, who cares about character I'm more worried about how they block,tackle,throw,run,kick,catch and if they are a thug, I just want them to be good at not getting caught. I'm not friends with these players, don't want to be, yet they are important because I want to win.It'll be interesting to see how good this staff does, I'm just going to play the wait and see game this time.

Very sad.

allvol34 writes:

I really hope this staff and by default this team is succesful because we really have some high class people representing our university.
Proud to be a Vol!

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