Chuck Smith a Vol for life

UT defensive line coach Chuck Smith during practice at Haslam Field on Saturday, March 27, 2010.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

UT defensive line coach Chuck Smith during practice at Haslam Field on Saturday, March 27, 2010.

Chuck Smith on the end of his career with the Vols

Even without a job at his alma mater anymore, Chuck Smith isn’t cutting ties with Tennessee.

The former defensive line coach also made clear that if it were up to him, his professional relationship with the program he played for would still be intact.

Smith on Friday morning offered his side of what UT officially termed Feb. 6 a mutual decision in announcing the parting of ways between the two during a wide-ranging, 25-minute press conference he organized outside of Neyland Stadium.

And while he repeatedly and emotionally stressed his loyalty to the Vols, Smith certainly appeared bothered by the way his coaching career ended with them after one season on new coach Derek Dooley’s staff.

“There have been a lot of questions about why I’ve abruptly left my alma mater as the defensive line coach and the school I love,” Smith said. “I put my heart and soul into a job, and I want to let you guys know why I left. The decision to leave the University of Tennessee wasn’t my decision.

“The decision was made — let me make sure I say the right thing, this is tough — a mutual decision was brought to me that I’m too big for the program and my stature is too big and I could better help serve this program in a different capacity. Stay and move to another position here or go home. I decided under the circumstances at the school I love and with the effort I put in, in fairness to the program, I probably would need to step to the side. The point is, I never agreed to step to the side.”

Smith also didn’t agree to move to another position that was offered by the university.

A UT official in the football program confirmed that Smith was presented with an option to remain with the Vols in an undetermined role. The official requested anonymity as the subject matter concerned personnel.

Smith denied that he was fired, but no matter how the move is officially described, the Vols are moving on with Lance Thompson sliding down to fill the void on the line and graduate assistant Peter Sirmon taking the open staff position with the linebackers.

“A real (Vol for Life) would never, ever, ever walk off on his team,” Smith said, “Never. The history of Tennessee over the last few years has shown dissension, guys moving, quitting, I would never, ever, ever, ever (quit). I love Derek Dooley and this program. I have no problem with the program, I have no problem with Derek or me, people leave all the time. Circumstances warrant we’re all going to get hired to be moved on, and I didn’t get fired.

“Chuck Smith doesn’t quit. I would have stepped aside, because I’m professional. In a professional setting, all we had to do is just say, ‘Guys, it’s a little uncomfortable. There are rumors, let’s work it out, let’s figure it out.’ ”

Smith repeatedly referred to rumors and lies about him as part of his problem with the outcome, shooting down any talk of issues with coordinator Justin Wilcox or a lack of chemistry with the rest of the defensive staff.

But among the many people around the country he thanked for support — among them former UT assistants Ed Orgeron and Trooper Taylor, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and the entire Vols offensive staff — Smith notably left Wilcox, Thompson, Sirmon and defensive backs coach Terry Joseph off the list.

“There are rumors, and I had to clear up my name,” Smith said. “There are rumors about dissension, not getting along, things that in a competitive field happen all the time. Lies, blog rumors, vicious rumors that started earlier in the year because of petty jealousy, divided a room.

“I would have clearly stepped aside, as I will always do the right thing by the University of Tennessee. But I’m big on being professional. When you say something, I expect you to do it. I’m going to leave it at that. . . . I want to thank Derek Dooley publicly for giving me an opportunity, thank you to the University of Tennessee again for building me into an absolutely successful person that has a thirst for more. My drive is still alive, guys.”

Smith made clear that his passion for UT lives on, as well, even though his coaching career with the program won’t.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 45

olozbal#646632 writes:

I guess Chuck Smith has never spent much time in the business world, but this is one of those "You're not the right fit" type discussions where they want you to quit to save face.

This does not make Chuck Smith look any more attractive to his next employer, in fact if there were any rumors about him being a little off this just reinforced it.

I like the guy, but he probably should have just quietly moved on.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

I think Chuck needs to be quiet and move on. I say that without knowing the details, too.

He says he would "never ever quit", but he also states that “I would have clearly stepped aside because I am a professional". Those statements seem contradictory, and he's not helping himself by going public with that, in my opinion.

In all, sounds like a really awkward situation. Hope it gets cleared up among them and doesn't become more public than it already has.

Bigger_Al writes:

Well, that certainly clears everything up.

Laydbakvol writes:

I didn't realize how little I knew about the situation until now. But after reading the article I know even less.

BeVOLy writes:

We do have a history of letting go of our lifetime VOLS. Johnny Majors. Phillip Fulmer. Now Chuck. It's gotta hurt. No judgement here; I don't have enough information. I wish him well.

mhsvol writes:

in response to Laydbakvol:

I didn't realize how little I knew about the situation until now. But after reading the article I know even less.

Spot on. Your post has summed everything up precisely.

My first thought after reading the article was, "Did anybody at the KNS actually read this thing? Because most of what it said was contradictory." Sounds like Austin Ward just wrote whatever Smith said, and then posted it. Apparently, no follow up questions. No actual REPORTING - just RECORDING.

Guess we'll have to go to GVX247 to get "the rest of the story."

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to olozbal#646632:

I guess Chuck Smith has never spent much time in the business world, but this is one of those "You're not the right fit" type discussions where they want you to quit to save face.

This does not make Chuck Smith look any more attractive to his next employer, in fact if there were any rumors about him being a little off this just reinforced it.

I like the guy, but he probably should have just quietly moved on.

My thoughts exactly. I'm not sure if something like this will help him get another job.

BTW, Did anyone catch the Rucker interview on Sirius XM this morning?
He said that the off season training looks to be paying off. There are a lot of guys beginning to look like SEC athletes. I'm interested in seeing how Montori Hughes, Marlon Walls, James Stone and Ja'wuan have developed in the off season.

volatil writes:

Chuck Smith = Charlie Sheen

VOLliven2it writes:

Whatever Chuck Smith thought the value of this "clearing up" was, I do not see it. There will likely be more blog rumors and stories after this. It would have been better to just move on. I respect him and his accomplishments. It would not have been easy for anyone last year with the situation. Best to him as he moves on but this interview and press conference just leaves a bad taste for me. I harbor no ill feelings for any party, it just does not feel right.
In any event, Chuck is gone, and we have a football team to get ready for spring and then fall football time in Tennessee 2011. I am looking forward to it all!

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

Mr. Smith...

been where you have been....but would have been better to take the high road.

Trust me on that.

dead_vol_foul (Inactive) writes:

in response to dead_vol_foul:

Mr. Smith...

been where you have been....but would have been better to take the high road.

Trust me on that.

....

I have been known to F up on occasion.

dk writes:

I watched the 25 minute sidewalk press conference. I thought it a little strange that Chuck mentioned and thanked all the offensive coaches and HC Derek Dooley, but didn't mention any defensive coaches at all. He did mention Coach Lance, the line backer coach who has since moved to the D-line. Talked about helping him recruit players.

Chuck denied/refuted many of the rumors that are swirling around about dissension on the staff. We probably need Coach Dooley to come forward and explain exactly why Chuck is no longer with the program. Chuck says that he is a Vol for life but wants another coaching job in the SEC preferably in the East.???

I would just like to know the real reason that he was forced to leave.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

Maybe this is the best overall. Smith will probably be a head coach some day and then he will be totally in charge, and he can make the final decisions. Hope things work out well for him developing his style.

The_Mayor writes:

in response to dk:

I watched the 25 minute sidewalk press conference. I thought it a little strange that Chuck mentioned and thanked all the offensive coaches and HC Derek Dooley, but didn't mention any defensive coaches at all. He did mention Coach Lance, the line backer coach who has since moved to the D-line. Talked about helping him recruit players.

Chuck denied/refuted many of the rumors that are swirling around about dissension on the staff. We probably need Coach Dooley to come forward and explain exactly why Chuck is no longer with the program. Chuck says that he is a Vol for life but wants another coaching job in the SEC preferably in the East.???

I would just like to know the real reason that he was forced to leave.

When I watched the "press conference", I got the feeling he was being sarcastic when he was thanking all those people. I don't know...it was so hard to comprehend where his thoughts were coming from or what he was trying to say. It was sad mostly, because I think he needs professional help, and I mean that in the most sincere way. There was a lot of obvious anger that he clearly hadn't worked through. I have a feeling that this sad soap opera will continue.

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

I did not see the press conference, but I have to think Chuck felt a need to explain what happened.

Most everyone has wondered why he left. Most everyone considered him an asset when he was hired.

You can't really answer why? if you don't talk or give a interview. Maybe he thought of it as therapy at first, but once things started he grew emotional. He would not be the first, or the last do that on TV or in an interview.

DC_Vol writes:

Very sad because Chuck Smith was an asset to the program. A lot of our defensive line recruits stated one of the reasons they selected UT was to learn from a Chuck Smith.

The truth behind his leaving the problem, probably has to do with the jealous will never be revealed by those that forced him to leave the program he loves. Th Defensive Coordinator and others who worked on the defensive side of the ball, obviously didn't like all the attention Chuck received and probably wouldn't listen to the ideas of all pro in the NFL and a coach in the NFL.

Sounds like he was forced out by those above unfairly. A huge loss for UT by jeaolous co-workers. We were finally making progress in recruiting in the DL area and I believe Chuck Smith was the main reason for the new interest in top DLinemen coming to play for UT.

volhome#407234 writes:

As mentioned, we have a habit (bad in my opinion) of skewering our 'Vols for life'. In the 'long run' it may work out, but as an elder Vol fan, I can only wonder how fast I will be kicked to the curb if I can no longer aford to contribute financially. Chuck, this didn't answer everything, but it at least awakened the collective bug in our ears.

esarmstrong#231516 writes:

in response to BigVolFaninSC:

Maybe this is the best overall. Smith will probably be a head coach some day and then he will be totally in charge, and he can make the final decisions. Hope things work out well for him developing his style.

I'm not so sure about him "probably be[ing] a head coach some day".

An unfortunate aspect of having alums come home and coach at UT is that there is a better than average chance they will get "fired" at some time in their career, no matter how successful the carreer. It is almost a certifiable absolute certainty. Oftentimes coaches overstay their time (Johnny Majors), they may have enormous success and then fall on hard times (Fulmer). And no matter how successful the carreer, the ending is often not a clean one.

ut9703 writes:

I do not consider Orgeron and Kiffin Vols for life. I also seriously doubt that he ran the New York Jets locker room. These false statements make me have to question the accuracy of everything else he said.

ORANGUTANVOL writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

dvhill100 writes:

in response to ORANGUTANVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whoa there partner. It is not unusual for coaches to leave due to personality conflicts. A staff has to be a staff, not individuals. The head coach has to identify the person and either they change or leave. It may very well be Chuck Smith did nothing wrong, but simply had personality conflicts that couldn't be resolved.

The head coach then has to decide who leaves. The circumstances have been pretty tightly held, and I am fine with that. The situation was managed as professionally as possible, and keeping it in house and out of the public eye is probably the best way to handle it.

ibleedorange74 writes:

in response to ORANGUTANVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

really dude!!!your so sad

Sledge_08 writes:

"But among the many people around the country he thanked for support — among them former UT assistants Ed Orgeron and Trooper Taylor, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan"
Hey Chuck, at least you are a good judge of character, NOT. A Who's Who list of traitors and jerks.

punkin writes:

in response to ORANGUTANVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's always best if you don't drink and type.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to ORANGUTANVOL:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

KNS?
Bones never lie.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

From all the way outside looking in, something about all of this clearly doesn't pass the smell test. For people like me, there's NO WAY to absolutely KNOW the truth of this situation.

The people who are involved know...and we just heard from one of them. It will be interesting to see who - if anyone at U.T. - will be as candid in their response.

IF we get one.

hdav06#387651 writes:

I'm not happy to see Smith leave, but I have confidence that Dooley knows what is right for this team. Anybody can waste time second guessing, teenagers are infamous for that trait.

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

in response to BigVolinCarolina:

I think Chuck needs to be quiet and move on. I say that without knowing the details, too.

He says he would "never ever quit", but he also states that “I would have clearly stepped aside because I am a professional". Those statements seem contradictory, and he's not helping himself by going public with that, in my opinion.

In all, sounds like a really awkward situation. Hope it gets cleared up among them and doesn't become more public than it already has.

Agree. It's also contradictory to say that you're a "professional" and yet give an interview like this. I'm sure Dooley will do the professional thing and not reply publicly.

I'm sure he's a great guy and coach, but after watching this video, I'm not sure I'd want him on my staff...and there may be a lot of ADs out there who are looking for coaches who think the same, unfortunately.

We wish the best for you, Chuck. Thanks for being a VFL.

rockytop#413695 writes:

The rumor has been that Chuck's ego consistently got the best of him. After hearing what he said in the press conference, I see even more why he is gone. Some have said he did not know how to coach a complete defensive line, since his experience has only been one on one pass rush coaching. The story is Lance had to basically handle his duties by the middle of the year anyway. Just because he was a great former Vol player doesn't mean he has what it takes to be a coach. He sounded like he needs some therapy to me.

PattheFlaVol writes:

"Too much pride and ego, Chuck Smith has. Yeesssssss."

Master Yoda

vol98champ writes:

Sounds like Chuck was a good recruiter and a bad business partner. Very few good salesmen survive a bad association with peers.

volman2008 writes:

in response to TennVolFan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

why did he not go to texas,every team he plays scores 30 to 40 points,check back when he was at boies state

mrvol2u writes:

in response to DC_Vol:

Very sad because Chuck Smith was an asset to the program. A lot of our defensive line recruits stated one of the reasons they selected UT was to learn from a Chuck Smith.

The truth behind his leaving the problem, probably has to do with the jealous will never be revealed by those that forced him to leave the program he loves. Th Defensive Coordinator and others who worked on the defensive side of the ball, obviously didn't like all the attention Chuck received and probably wouldn't listen to the ideas of all pro in the NFL and a coach in the NFL.

Sounds like he was forced out by those above unfairly. A huge loss for UT by jeaolous co-workers. We were finally making progress in recruiting in the DL area and I believe Chuck Smith was the main reason for the new interest in top DLinemen coming to play for UT.

Yeah, CDD was really jealous and all the attention he was getting was keeping up all the other members of the staff at night. I am sure Justin Wilcox thought it better to get rid of that attention getter than having him recruit great defensive lineman.

I am sure that NFL experience is worthless in the college game and am glad that the defensive staff at UT had C. Smith fired because of it. We can only hope the offensive staff will man up and get rid of that NFL loser that passes for a receivers coach.

Do you write for daytime tv dramas?

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

KNS?
Bones never lie.

That came from the KNS childcare dept. 10 yr olds shouldn't be allowed to surf the net

Jesus1Family2Career3Vols4 writes:

in response to BigVolinCarolina:

I think Chuck needs to be quiet and move on. I say that without knowing the details, too.

He says he would "never ever quit", but he also states that “I would have clearly stepped aside because I am a professional". Those statements seem contradictory, and he's not helping himself by going public with that, in my opinion.

In all, sounds like a really awkward situation. Hope it gets cleared up among them and doesn't become more public than it already has.

You, sir, are 100% correct. Chuck should have moved on, kept his mouth shut, period. Holding a news conference outside Neyland was a bad idea.

wtp102 writes:

in response to olozbal#646632:

I guess Chuck Smith has never spent much time in the business world, but this is one of those "You're not the right fit" type discussions where they want you to quit to save face.

This does not make Chuck Smith look any more attractive to his next employer, in fact if there were any rumors about him being a little off this just reinforced it.

I like the guy, but he probably should have just quietly moved on.

In the business world this would be like a saleman landing a hugh sale and getting fired so the company didn't have to pay him the commission. They let him lie and make promises to recruits they knew were not going to be true and 5 days later asked him to step down.

utvolfan1959 writes:

I appreciate all Chuck has done for UT as a player and coach. He has always impressed me as a quality person, and I still think that about him. I wish him well in his future.

DC_Vol writes:

in response to mrvol2u:

Yeah, CDD was really jealous and all the attention he was getting was keeping up all the other members of the staff at night. I am sure Justin Wilcox thought it better to get rid of that attention getter than having him recruit great defensive lineman.

I am sure that NFL experience is worthless in the college game and am glad that the defensive staff at UT had C. Smith fired because of it. We can only hope the offensive staff will man up and get rid of that NFL loser that passes for a receivers coach.

Do you write for daytime tv dramas?

Your comprehension skills are surely lacking. Reread my post and tell me where I said CDD was jealous. I am fan of CDD and support him as our head coach.

CDD and Chuck Smith from what I have read were friends prior to Chuck coming to UT. In addition, CDD hired Chuck Smith for his pro and NFL experience because it is coveted by great players trying to move to the next level. Try reading Dooley's comments regarding the hiring of Chuck Smith. NFL experience and his ties to UT were reasons Chuck was hired. In fact, Dooley expected recruits to want to learn from Chuck Smith. Many recruits stated they came to UT to learn from Chuck Smith.

The reports I have heard and from Chuck Smiths comments he was forced out by the Defensive Coordinator because they didn't get along. Next when you read a post, try reading several times and understand what is truly being written before making outlandish ridiculous statements.

DC_Vol writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey Navalorange,

I am still a huge a fan of CDD. I believe he handled this difficult situation with Chuck Smith like a professional. He allowed Chuck Smith to leave the program with his held high by saying the decision was mutual. He also provided an option for him to take on another position with UT but not continue on the football staff. All and all I believe an extemely classy way to treat a Vol instead of firing him.

Just from reports and comments from Chuck, the true reason he left the program was difficulty with the defensive coaching staff. Chuck wanted to stay on as the DL Coach by his own admission.

I just remember how excited everyone was on this site when Chuck chose to be our DL coach. I really liked Chuck and all the commments made by recruits selecting UT to play for Chuck.

I hope you are right and this turns into a positive somehow. I agree with you CDD made the best decision possible in an extremely difficult situation.

Voluvr writes:

I didn't think it was that he was too big for the program...I thought it was he thought he was bigger than the program. Seems I heard he was insubordinate when told to get his players ready at a certain time during practice by coach and he said no and possibly another incident like that. And yes we are talking about practice...practice.

rudy123 writes:

I would guess that there were issues with Smith and Wilcox. Wilcox was threatening to go to Austin, where the other U.T. is, because he didn't get along with Smith. Dooley probably intervened and promised to have Smith moved as soon as signing day was over. Thus, Wilcox agreed to remain at the real U.T.
Does anyone else see this scenerio???

DC_Vol writes:

in response to rudy123:

I would guess that there were issues with Smith and Wilcox. Wilcox was threatening to go to Austin, where the other U.T. is, because he didn't get along with Smith. Dooley probably intervened and promised to have Smith moved as soon as signing day was over. Thus, Wilcox agreed to remain at the real U.T.
Does anyone else see this scenerio???

I agree that is probably a very likely scenario. I tried to mention that in several previous posts, but one idiot claimed I should write drama on daytime tv. Some people only believe what they are told.

Anyway, Chuck Smith will be a loss for our program, who wouldn't want to be coached by this talented NFL Player and Coach if they wanted to play in the NFL? Chuck definitely improved our recruiting of DL, while he was here, I believe you are correct in saying they waited until after signing day, to ensure we obtained recruits who wanted to play for Chuck Smith. I am still a Dooley fan, just like to call them like I see them.

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

Most of the time great NFL players simply can not become good coaches.

You don't find too many probowl or hall of fame players becoming good coaches.

Most of the time it's because their ego is too big and they think they already know everything.

A coaching staff has to be as much of a TEAM as the players on the field have to be and many times a person that's really good at 1 thing doesn't learn how to put their ego aside and to learn all the other things that being in management or becoming a good coach requires.

CS was a great player but I find it interesting that there's not any NFL teams or very few college teams that want him on their coaching staffs and that could be the proof that his ego is too big, he hasn't learned how to teach the whole D line or he hasn't learned how to coach as a team member on a D staff.

I wish him all the best but this poress conference only proved to me that CDD made the intelligent decision.

I also wonder why CS couldn't control his ego and anger and take the option to remain on the UT staff in a different capacity where he could have worked to learn all the other things he needs to know to become a good, well respected coach.

VFL..GO BIG ORANGE !!!

Couchdummy writes:

in response to volatil:

Chuck Smith = Charlie Sheen

Now that is a good comparison! Rambling at its finest.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

in response to getsimmsout:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

After much video examination, word at the time was that a certain defensive coordinator must have been the white guy waving extra players back onto the field. Not a good career move, but if CCS went off on the guy who dunnit, then I'd say he had it coming. Coach Smith is a high strung guy with extra Orange, and he sure didn't like losing to LSU like that because of a coaching error! If the coach who doesn't bleed Orange so much were to say the wrong thing about it to the Coach who does bleed Orange extra, like try to blame Coach Smith, I can imagine that might produce an immediate and severe reaction. I'm not saying that I'd approve, but I'd understand. Don't know Chuck Smith personally, but I was one wanting him to come back and coach at Tennessee. I know he must be hurting over it, but I'm still glad he came. Fans will always have love for Coach Chuck Smith.

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