Born: Nov. 28, 1961, in El Reno, Okla.
New position: Tennessee offensive line coach
Old position: North Carolina offensive line and assistant head coach
By the numbers: Helped the Tar Heels average 6.3 yards per play last season and freshman running back Giovani Bernard rush for 100 yards or more seven times
Coaching career: North Carolina (2007-11), offensive line/associate head coach (2011); Northern Illinois (2003-06), assistant head coach (2004-06), offensive line; Kansas (2001), offensive line; Missouri (2000), offensive line; Western Michigan (1999), offensive line; Oklahoma (1997-98), offensive line; Cincinnati (1996), offensive line/tight ends; Northern Illinois (1994-95). offensive line; Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College (1991-93), coach (1992-93), offensive line (1991); Trenton (Mo.) High School (1989-90), coach; Princeton (Mo.) High School (1987-88), coach; Beggs (Okla.) High School (1986), assistant coach; Pittsburg (Kan.) State (1984-5), student coach.
Playing career: Defensive end at Pittsburg State (1980-83); inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1998.
Degree: Bachelor’s degree in education, 1986.
Family: Wife, Jamie.
The latest job to come open at Tennessee was the quickest to be filled.
Barely more than a day after the departure of Harry Hiestand became apparent, the Vols wasted no time finding a replacement for the offensive line coach.
While the search for a defensive coordinator continued on Thursday without a resolution, the Vols quickly struck a deal with North Carolina offensive line coach Sam Pittman to fill a void on the coaching staff that seemingly only opened Wednesday when Hiestand emerged as the top candidate for the same position at Notre Dame.
UT officially confirmed the resignation of Hiestand late Thursday, but the list of available jobs under coach Derek Dooley barely had time to expand before Pittman scratched one off.
"Sam has an excellent reputation and track record as an offensive line coach and as a recruiter," Dooley said in a UT release. "He brings a considerable amount to our program as a coach and a person, and we are excited that he is joining our staff."
Dooley still has some work to do to complete it, starting with the vacant defensive coordinator slot. He has continued that search with a Wednesday interview with Alabama outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri and another on Thursday with Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green, according to a source familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it.
The Vols also need a linebackers coach and a special teams coordinator, with San Diego Chargers assistant Rich Bisaccia the leading target for the latter. But despite losing their fifth coach since the end of the season with Hiestand leaving this week, only three spots officially remain open with Jay Graham returning to UT to coach running backs and Pittman now headed to the program as well.
Those two will be largely responsible for improving a rushing attack that was among the worst in the country last season, finishing the year ranked No. 116 in the nation by averaging just more than 90 yards per game.
A balanced North Carolina attack ended up only at No. 76 in rushing offense, but the 50-year-old Pittman and his linemen helped pave the way for running back Giovani Bernard, who posted seven 100-yard performances during a season that statistically ranked as the best in the country for freshmen.
The Vols will have to replace their starting tailback after Tauren Poole's graduation, but even after an inconsistent year up front, Pittman will be inheriting a veteran, talented group for the Vols as they head into their third season under Dooley.
UT will return all of its starters up front and has restocked a position that was almost entirely devoid of experience when Dooley took over — and when they go looking for more talented pieces to add to the mix, they'll do so with a top-25 recruiter according to ESPN.com.
Pittman was credited with signing tackles rated second in the nation during each of the last two recruiting seasons, and he also proved he could develop NFL draft picks while working with former Carter High School standout Garrett Reynolds, a fifth-round selection by Atlanta in 2009.
He spent five seasons with the Tar Heels following four at Northern Illinois, the longest stops in a career that has included stints at Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas, among others.