Justin Wilcox, Peter Sirmon hired by Washington

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, left, talks with defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, right, as the Vols warm up prior to a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley, left, talks with defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, right, as the Vols warm up prior to a scrimmage at Neyland Stadium Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

saul young/news sentinel
Tennessee linebackers coach Peter Sirmon conducts drills during practice at Haslam Field on Thursday. Sirmon is in his second season under Vols' defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, his first as a paid assistant.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011

saul young/news sentinel Tennessee linebackers coach Peter Sirmon conducts drills during practice at Haslam Field on Thursday. Sirmon is in his second season under Vols' defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, his first as a paid assistant.

Justin Wilcox

Justin Wilcox

Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon are leaving Tennessee for jobs at Washington. The latest changes in UT's coaching staff was confirmed by UT on Monday.

Wilcox, 35, was named defensive coordinator in February of 2010. He came to Tennessee after a successful run as Boise State's defensive coordinator during its rise to power.

With Wilcox and Sirmon leaving, UT Derek Dooley coach has now lost four members of his staff from 2011. Receivers coach Charlie Baggett "retired" last month and tight ends coach Eric Russell has joined the staff at Washington State.

UT has hired running backs coach Jay Graham. That leaves three openings on the staff.

A native of Eugene, Oregon, Wilcox played for Oregon from 1995-99 and began his coaching career at Boise State and served two stints there sandwiched around a pair of seasons at California before coming to Tennessee.

Wilcox does not owe UT anything by leaving for another job. His original contract stipulated that he owe the school $300,000 if he terminated the deal before Dec. 1, 2011— with the exception of leaving because he obtained a Division I head coaching position — but that clause was completely wiped out when it was amended in August.

Wilcox was to receive $700,000 in 2012, a base pay of $275,000 and a "broadcast/endorsement" payment of $475,000.

Shortly after Wilcox pulled his name out of the running for the same title at Texas last December, he not only re-negotiated a contract that was longer and paid him more money, but one that provided him with more job security.

Sirmon, 34, was set to make $175,000 in 2012.

Sirmon, who is from Wenatchee, Wash., played seven seasons as a linebacker in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, was a graduate assistant at UT in 2010 and was promoted to linebackers coach after the departure of Chuck Smith last February.

Sirmon's coaching career started in 2008 on the staff at Central Washington University. He joined his alma mater in 2009 as as a graduate assistant at Oregon.

More details later online and in Tuesday's News Sentinel.

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Comments » 516

tigervol77 writes:

Great!

TheOpinion writes:

They're getting out because of job security and moving closer to home. I think they know if Dooley doesn't produce this year then he's out and so is his staff. Getting out before the ship sinks.

I just hope we can retain the recruiting class, which I doubt without Sirmon that we can do.

vol49 writes:

phooey.

TennHillbilly writes:

Absolutely incredible. Is there no end?

CoverOrange writes:

Dang. Our best hope was our defense to keep us in games next season. At worst, maybe Wilcox promoted IF Dooley was let go. Not now.

PinballWizard writes:

Sounds about right....the quicker Dooley is gone the sooner we can start the rebuilding process over, again.

vol49 writes:

Well, the good news just keeps on coming.

westknoxrepub writes:

Gotta love this stability keeping Dooley has created.

huntined#565710 writes:

Wonder what these guys would charge to take Chaney with them???

eduardo writes:

The Titanic in 3d comes out earlier than expected!

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

I would love to hear from someone who actually has some knowledge of the situation (no one on here) tell us if this is just the tip of the iceberg, or if this was in the works. My first inclination is OMG, we're screwed, but I really hope there's more to this.

huntined#565710 writes:

Zook needs a job

bbmon13#478091 writes:

It's simply a case of coaches that know the long term viability of their situation at Tennessee....the rest have one more year....

FEARinSEC writes:

Guess it's time for all the idiots to crawl out of the woodwork and act like we are the first program to lose ASSISTANT coaches.

Good grief!

primetimevol writes:

Good luck with a team that gave up 60 to Baylor.

SATCHMOE writes:

This is not good at this time due to recruitment

Vol43 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

I would love to hear from someone who actually has some knowledge of the situation (no one on here) tell us if this is just the tip of the iceberg, or if this was in the works. My first inclination is OMG, we're screwed, but I really hope there's more to this.

My thoughts exactly. I'm sure there's more drama to come. Good grief Charlie Brown!

OrangePride writes:

Oh baby......tell me now this ship isn't sinking. Bagget, Wilcox, Simon......the THREE coaches that this team could least afford to lose. Unfortunately, I am not surprised. So we need to really wonder just why the good coaches are all leaving for greener pastures. Could be "job security" as Opinion suggests; but it could also be a lack of internal cohesiveness and agreement on how to turn around this program. There's a LOT more to this story than just the usual, "this was a great opportunity I couldn't turn down" kind of baloney you usually hear. I can only imagine the scramble taking place in the football offices.

CincyOhVol writes:

Dooley's record tells me he will probably want to get a mid-tier coach to go with the mid-tier athletes he's been recruiting.

My bet is he goes after La. Tech's Def. Coordinator Tommy Spangler.

jmart412 writes:

In wonder if Chavis would have any interest in coming back home. This happens a lot when we hire guys from other programs. Let's get some UT guys in here and build some stability.

888657 writes:

Now go get a proven SEC defensive coordinator, who will prepare our guys for the toughest test they will face. I liked Wilcox, but he nor Sirmon has never impressed me. I know some fans didn't like Chief, but I would throw everything, including the kitchen sink to get him back in the replacement of these 2.

volaholic45 writes:

Gee, and we were so hoping that the turn of the calendar would put 2011 behind us.

Phil, pleeeeeze stop torturing that VooDooley doll!

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to FEARinSEC:

Guess it's time for all the idiots to crawl out of the woodwork and act like we are the first program to lose ASSISTANT coaches.

Good grief!

Four Assistant coaches off of a 5-7 team is kind of an oddity, but you know, firing Dooley would have created instability and all.

FWBVol writes:

I appreciate what Wilcox and Sirmon have done, and agree with those saying this is a huge loss for the staff. Sirmon is a recruiting machine.

But this is the very reason we need to hire coaches with ties to the Southeast region. I think Dooley should do whatever it takes to get Chavis back as D-coordinator and look into bringing Dale Jones to coach linebackers.

If Chavis won't come back as DC, bring Jones in as DC, he's currently serving in that capacity at Appy State. Jones could also help shore up special teams as he was named College Football Weekly's special team coach of the year in. 2002.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to 888657:

Now go get a proven SEC defensive coordinator, who will prepare our guys for the toughest test they will face. I liked Wilcox, but he nor Sirmon has never impressed me. I know some fans didn't like Chief, but I would throw everything, including the kitchen sink to get him back in the replacement of these 2.

Chief's on a NC team... It's going to take a mansion full of kitchen sinks to get him back.

huntined#565710 writes:

We only won 5 games with these guys and will win 5 without them!!!

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

Any quotes from Wilcox, KNS?

philgreen5#410561 writes:

Call the chief and ask him what does it take for him to come home!

Vol43 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Four Assistant coaches off of a 5-7 team is kind of an oddity, but you know, firing Dooley would have created instability and all.

This gonna keep you busy all day. Why not just find a team you like. Wouldn't that be simpler?

AllVol1 writes:

As with most news Tennessee these days, I can't tell if this is a curse or a blessing in disguise. I was hoping for a third year of relative consistency in the coaching ranks for the sake of recruiting and to see if this team and staff could show significant signs of improvement. Looks like both of these are in serious jeapardy.

Lots of folks already debating the possible Chavis-Save-Us! hire. I wonder how many of those same people were bemoaning Third-and-Chavis not so long ago.

Thermopyle writes:

Paging Al Wilson and Dale Jones. Please report to Knoxville.

volfanlostnbama writes:

in response to eduardo:

The Titanic in 3d comes out earlier than expected!

great response and like one of the other beat reporters said "and no one was willing to jump ON the sinking titanic."

TN will have the same dilemma!

VolinBufordGA writes:

I hope everyone is happy now. Fulmer didn't deserve what he got, but all you people that wanted him out are getting what you deserve.

VolinCT writes:

in response to AllVol1:

As with most news Tennessee these days, I can't tell if this is a curse or a blessing in disguise. I was hoping for a third year of relative consistency in the coaching ranks for the sake of recruiting and to see if this team and staff could show significant signs of improvement. Looks like both of these are in serious jeapardy.

Lots of folks already debating the possible Chavis-Save-Us! hire. I wonder how many of those same people were bemoaning Third-and-Chavis not so long ago.

Agreed

papavol writes:

in response to CincyOhVol:

Dooley's record tells me he will probably want to get a mid-tier coach to go with the mid-tier athletes he's been recruiting.

My bet is he goes after La. Tech's Def. Coordinator Tommy Spangler.

Hey, La tech looked pretty diesel in their bowl game. I don't know the name of Vandy's DC, but I think thats who we should get. Vandy has been solid as a rock on defense all season.

SIMSVOL writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Gotta love this stability keeping Dooley has created.

the ignorance westknoxrepub and others bring to this board has reached an all-time low...your mind is a terrible thing to waste but these guys do it daily...
Go VOLS!

scvols writes:

in response to SATCHMOE:

This is not good at this time due to recruitment

This is the worst time due to recruitment. We may drop out of the Top 25.

888657 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

Chief's on a NC team... It's going to take a mansion full of kitchen sinks to get him back.

I completely agree with you. I was not implying he would come back, but I would at least make him entertain the thought.

Cobb_Webb_Attack writes:

Are we sure that there isn't some kind of Book of Job remake going on here starring the Vols fanbase? This is getting ridiculous.

nocleats writes:

Hopefully Tenn can hire some coaches from Central Florida, or Western Kentucky, maybe we can even reach and get one from Troy!

clvolfan writes:

Maybe we could go hunt Chuck Smith up again,if he would be interested since Wilcox ran him off.Losing Wilcox is no big deal to me,since he could not come up with a defense to beat Ky.
If CDD is not afraid of former VOLS,surely someone there might be interested.

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

Do they need an O-line coach also?

huntined#565710 writes:

The greatest coach in college ball today coming up on espn gameday!!! CLK!!!

dvols writes:

how will this affect recruiting....

lomas98 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Gotta love this stability keeping Dooley has created.

I know, right? As of now, we have 4 coaches who have left. Another 5-7 season coming, but at least we were stable. Wait until recruits start decommitting...we have already lost one player in Arnett. What good is it giving him one more year? What coaches are going to jump on board knowing he has a year to right the ship. Pathetic!

GBOEngineer writes:

They probably got tired of all the miserable idiots on message boards

newportvol writes:

Can they take Dooley with them? Please please maybe there a mac job open for Dooley.. And I dont think Chavis will come back inless hes the Head Coach.. Or 1million dollar pay check

Vol43 writes:

OK Witchy, get on here and 'splain' this to me.

PureOrange writes:

Always worried about these guys leaving. Just a matter of when, not if. They are west coast guys who had rather operate in the "any defense is better than no defense" atmosphere.

We need UT people, or at least SEC people who understand commitment, and love to compete in playing the best football in the nation.

Wilcox and Sirmon can be home 3 or 4 days a week and still have a good defense for the PAC 12, and be heroes. If they stayed in the SEC, they would have to work 24/7. Easy way out to go to Washington.

Conar_the_Barbarian writes:

I suppose losing our best coaches on staff is part of the "re-building" process?

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