Vols add Josh Conklin to staff as safeties coach

New position: Tennessee safeties coach.

Old position: Defensive coordinator and safeties coach at The Citadel.

By the numbers: During his two seasons with The Citadel, Conklin's defense ranked third in the Southern Conference in total defense and held seven opponents to fewer than 20 points last year. Bulldogs cornerback Cortez Allen was selected in the 2011 draft by Pittsburgh.

Coaching career: South Dakota State (2003-06), graduate assistant, secondary and special teams coach; Wofford (2007-09), defensive backs and special teams; The Citadel (2010-11), defensive coordinator and safeties.

Playing career: Two-year starter and Academic All-America at Dakota State at linebacker.

Education: Physical education degree from Dakota State in 2003 and a master’s in sports administration from South Dakota State in 2008.

For the second time this offseason, the Tennessee coaching staff is complete.

A little more than a week after one more position popped open, the Vols tapped defensive coordinator Josh Conklin from The Citadel to fill the final vacancy and end a stretch that has been full of them for the Vols.

In addition to leading the defense for the Bulldogs for the last two years, Conklin was also responsible for safeties - which is the position he took over Friday in the wake of Terry Joseph's departure to Nebraska last week.

"Josh brings successful coordinator experience and consistent secondary production to our defensive staff," UT coach Derek Dooley said in a school release. "He comes highly recommended and I believe will be a great fit for our football staff."

It's certainly undergone a dramatic facelift over the last three months.

Joseph was the sixth assistant to leave for another program since UT's season ended with a disappointing loss at Kentucky and without a bowl appearance, and he was the seventh overall following the parting of ways with wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett.

The Vols didn't have much time to waste in making one more hire with spring practice set to open on March 26, and they moved quickly to find somebody to work with another new assistant to work with the secondary. As originally planned with Joseph, the duties at the back of the defense will be split between Derrick Ansley with the cornerbacks as Conklin handles the safeties.

The latter's unit ranked third in the Southern Conference in total defense over the last two seasons, and the Bulldogs held seven of their 11 opponents to fewer than 20 points last season. Prior to his stop at The Citadel, Conklin logged three seasons at Wofford, also coaching defensive backs.

"The bottom line is those corners and safeties are getting one-on-one coaches," defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri said last month. "They’re working together, they’re putting it all together ... I mean, these guys are getting one-on-one coaches. It’s hard when everybody has four guys to see everybody at once.

"Now I have eyes on the safeties, I’ve got eyes on the corners."

Once again, the Vols have a full complement of eyes for both.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 100

Fighton writes:

Dooley will be handing out coach and player name tags for spring practice.

MurfVol77 writes:

ok i have no idea who this guy is, 3 yr DC and safeties coach at The Citadel. He looks young anyone know his pedigree?

VFL70 writes:

Two questions. Can he coach and can he recruit.

givehim6 writes:

Welcome to the UT family coach Conklin, good luck on adjusting to the SEC way of playing. We play a bit harder and faster the Citadel does, by the way can you teach the guys to wrap up and tackle and not just bump hard and hopefully knock someone down?

ngautgirl writes:

in response to MurfVol77:

ok i have no idea who this guy is, 3 yr DC and safeties coach at The Citadel. He looks young anyone know his pedigree?

Josh Conklin is in his third season as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at The Citadel.

Conklin has led a defense that has ranked among the best in the Southern Conference the past two years. In his first season in 2010, the Bulldogs ranked third in the conference in total defense, allowing 338.4 yards per game.

A year ago, The Citadel allowed averages of 23.4 points and 343.8 yards an outing to rank second and third, respectively, in the league. Only three conference opponents scored more than 20 points, and only South Carolina reached that total over the second half of the season.

Under Conklin's leadership, defensive end Erik Clanton tied for 12th in the FCS in sacks in 2010, earning him a contract with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes and a free agent opportunity with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cornerback Cortez Allen, who wrapped up his Citadel career in 2010, was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and played in 15 games as a rookie.

Prior to joining the staff at The Citadel, Conklin spent three seasons coaching defensive backs (2007-09) and added special teams to his responsibilities in his final season in Spartanburg. With Conklin on the staff, the Terriers led the SoCon in scoring defense in 2007 while intercepting a conference-high 20 passes and added 13 picks the following season.

Conklin began his coaching career at South Dakota State, serving as a graduate assistant in 2003 and 2004 before being elevated to a fulltime position and coaching the secondary and special teams during the 2005-06 seasons.

The South Dakota State secondary ranked second in the Great West Conference in pass defense in 2006 while Conklin's kickoff return and kickoff coverage teams were the top-ranked units in the conference. That season saw the Jackrabbits finish the year ranked 21st in the nation by the College Sporting News.

Conklin graduated from Dakota State University in 2003 with a degree in physical education. He started at linebacker his junior and senior seasons and was an Academic All-American. He also received a master's degree in sports administration from South Dakota State in 2008.
It looks like he has done a good job at his previous stops.

vettefool writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

well I am hoping for the best next year. the big question can the vols improve year over year under Dooley? one year with a decent winning record is great but we can't revert back to 5-7 type seasons in the future.

MGVOL22 writes:

in response to VFL70:

Two questions. Can he coach and can he recruit.

He can coach and he is a good guy. I have knew him when he was at Wofford College....Is he ready for the SEC....

If he has the right athletes, he will do just fine.

Dougb-VFL writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The guy was in charge of the entire defense at a small college so I believe he will adjust well now that he can focus on 1 unit. I like that we have a alot of new coaches because it gives them a fresh start and they can give our players a new perspective on their approach to the game. The difference between you and me is that I see the positive future with Dooley and you seem to focus on the last 2 years of problems. Get over it and back Dooley and our vols or shut that stupid mouth of yours boy! VFL

CharlestonVOL writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, Look who crawled out from under his rock with another username. I wondered when you would show up and spew your same old useless garbage. Never gets old does it?Need to come up with some new material my friend. Will Coach Dooley succeed? Who knows? Maybe...Maybe Not. But someone like you who gets off on the name calling and negative posts won't ever admit when and if he is successful. I mean, you're the expert right? You were such a great college athlete, coach or whatever the hell you were. Please grace us with your expertise more often, since you know so much. BTW, this Conklin guy can flat out coach.

FEARinSEC writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

HE'S TROLLIN', HE'S HATIN'.......

thevoice writes:

Good luck Coach Conklin.

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to FEARinSEC:

HE'S TROLLIN', HE'S HATIN'.......

Yeah, BSB is probably a Kenturkey fan. Troll!!!

GBO

tree_em_smokey writes:

I think most of our new hires have been an upgrade, I'm not convinced this hire is an upgrade. I would give Joseph the edge on this one. Hopefully this guy will turn out to be a good coach and recruiter. GBO!!!

Vol43 writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's right just keep trashing the program. I'm gonna ask you, what are we going to do about it? Huh? Don't have an answer do you? What I thought.

SewaneeVolFan writes:

Man! I knew head coaches were extremely important to a football staff. However, until I started reading the attacks on Coach Dooley on this site, I didn't realize that IF UT gets better (which evidently is nearly impossible), it will be because of the assistant coaches, AD Hart, or the one recruit left from the Kiffin years, and anyone but Coach Dooley. But WHEN UT gets worse, the sole reason will be Coach Dooley.

I feel sorry for those poor assistant coaches since I learn from writers on this site that due to his inevitable losing record next year and his inescapable fate of getting fired no matter what the buyout, Coach Dooley will waste any recruiting or coaching skills they have. (And obviously they can't have many because (a) they chose to come to UT, a ship sinking fast, and (b) if Coach Dooley hired them, they can't actually be any good) .

usafvol writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did CDD beat you and take your milk money in grade school or something? You really should talk to someone about your anger issues..

chrisvol4ut writes:

Come one come all to the Barnum and Bailey's circus sideshow. Step right up to our favorite attraction, the revolving door. Watch and be amazed as one UT coach after another walks in and a new guy walks out.

Seriously it isn't even worth complaining about anymore. This has morphed into the biggest joke I have ever seen. This guy couldn't keep a dog around if he fed it steak. Can we get Dooley out of here and just replace him with ANYBODY?! At this point I don't even care if it is a top name. We are now officially a basketball school. Thankfully Cuonzo Martin knows how to coach and give us something to cheer for and be proud of.

NickDanger-ThirdEye writes:

in response to JBVols1698:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

increase your medication until sanity returns.

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dumb.

gvegasvol writes:

in response to Dougb-VFL:

The guy was in charge of the entire defense at a small college so I believe he will adjust well now that he can focus on 1 unit. I like that we have a alot of new coaches because it gives them a fresh start and they can give our players a new perspective on their approach to the game. The difference between you and me is that I see the positive future with Dooley and you seem to focus on the last 2 years of problems. Get over it and back Dooley and our vols or shut that stupid mouth of yours boy! VFL

Everything else aside...it's hard not to focus on the past two years as it pertains to dooley...simply because that's all he's been here. If you want to go back and look at his days at la tech - then go ahead...it aint much better. So...to be positive like you...hey, we beat Cincy and squeaked one out on vandy in overtime! That's his "signature" wins for his career! But I know...it's not his fault - it's Fullmer's, Hamilton's, Kiffin's, Pearl's, the economy, foreign policy, etc!!! Here's hoping we can have a winning season under this guy for once!

vol49 writes:

in response to V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO:

Dumb.

...and Dumber.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

No comment.

Butterbeans writes:

While Dooley is probably not the man for UT long term, it seems important that we try to support him and the team and hope for the success of the program. It's wrong to try to sabotage something you love because you disagree with the chosen leadership. I hate to see life long Vol fans hope for failure to punish Dooley or undermine his every action or hire to assure his tenure is short. This same approach has been taken by congressional conservatives to slow economic recovery in the interest of defeating President Obama. Regardless of one's resistance to or dissatisfaction with Coach Dooley and dislike of President Obama, the success and return to glory of the Big Orange and the U. S. should be a far greater priority. GO VOLS. GO U.S.A.

CharlestonVOL writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My God, give me some of whatever it is you are smoking.

Ayres_Hall writes:

I'm fine with who Coach Sal wanted because I don't pretend to know every secondary coach in the USA... like the "haters" obviously do.

Pathetic people... you haters are. Really pathetic.

Southland writes:

stop your fretting. If Dooley does not have a good year he will be fired and if Hart makes a good hire we will return the very next season with a nine win season. Dooley doesnt look like the guy to lead us into the future but he as laid a foundation on which to build. I hope Dooley does make all of his critics into his fans. I hope he helps me to get past the past two years. It is troubling that so many assistants have bailed out but maybe that isnt a bad thing. Hoping for a great year in 2012 but sure of one in 2013

MGVOL22 writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

I'm fine with who Coach Sal wanted because I don't pretend to know every secondary coach in the USA... like the "haters" obviously do.

Pathetic people... you haters are. Really pathetic.

Finally someone who gets it!!!! You are either with us (VOLS) or you are against us!! True fans stand behind their team!

orangecountyvols writes:

Blue Troll...........

Do you mind terribly if we go ahead and play the games this fall? Is that a serious imposition on your?

Get lost troll and we'll be just fine without your sort here.

OrangePride writes:

I would have no idea who the blue chip hires would be for this position, and a better question might be "available to hire." My hope was that Terry Fair (sp?) would get a shot at this spot if he was interested. There are SO many question marks surrounding the 2012 season right now that my mind is spinning. I will just have to wait and see like everyone else. GO VOLS!

clvolfan writes:

Don't know why some on here have so much negativity toward every new coach CDD hires. Seems to me that they just can't wait for him to fail.I would like for someone to compile some figures on how many assistant coaches from the lower college ranks have been hired to D1 schools in the last 10 years.Think it would be staggering,and I would rather get some bright new FB minds on the staff than continue to go after the re-cycled ones, as the NFL so often does.There aren't very many Jerry Fousts' out there that a big school will take a chance on,as Notre Dame did with him fresh out of highschool in Ohio.

OrangePride writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't know about that "less than Dooley" reference. Seems to me they still had a pretty full roster of talent at USC last year. But for USC to be preseason ranked #1 in the minds of some is a FAR cry from where we are right now. So, as much as I hate to admit it, CLK seems to be getting it done out there. We are hopefully on the way to better things, but this season will tell a LOT.

OrangePride writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Don't know about that "less than Dooley" reference. Seems to me they still had a pretty full roster of talent at USC last year. But for USC to be preseason ranked #1 in the minds of some is a FAR cry from where we are right now. So, as much as I hate to admit it, CLK seems to be getting it done out there. We are hopefully on the way to better things, but this season will tell a LOT.

OOps....sorry bear. This should actually have been for the post you responded to, not you.

CrankE writes:

Outside of The Hecktagon, there should be a sign: "7 DAYS SINCE LAST COACHING CHANGE."

7 coaching changes in ~100 days comes to one coach leaving about every 2 weeks. If that trend holds then within the next week or so, we should see another coach depart. Just saying.

RoadTrip writes:

After all of the coaching changes and attitude adjustments; next season is going to be amazingly good or dreadfully bad. Dools will be the HC for a long time to come or canned after next season. Not much chance of anything in between.

OrangePride writes:

in response to PeytonManning:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Oh, I totally agree that USC as #1 is a BIG stretch and not likely to happen. My point is that to even be in the conversation is somewhat a feather in CLK's coaching hat. Of course, if he goes 7-5 or something, then all bets will be off. And future years, as you correctly point out, are likely to be downhill. As for LSU, for sure they are going to be tough! Lot's of talent, lots of good coaching, and a full head of steam from this year. But the season is long and we will just have to see. In the meantime, you and I will clearly have to pull all the harder for the Big Orange!! GO VOLS!

OrangePride writes:

in response to PeterKravenMoorehead:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think it will be even jucier and MORE enjoyable should the much maligned Dooley beat Muschamp!!! Oh how sweet life would be in that kind of scenario....lol.

knoxchatter writes:

omg,lmao,wtf,idk..ttyl dooley

wagee12 writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't you just love these Negartons who come on here and mouth off! It is quite entertaining is a wierd kind of way how they display total football ignorance. This hater here, he's just one great example of a mouth in overdrive with a brain still in first gear. Get ready to eat crow this fall Negative Ned.

FORTKNOXVOL writes:

in response to Dougb-VFL:

The guy was in charge of the entire defense at a small college so I believe he will adjust well now that he can focus on 1 unit. I like that we have a alot of new coaches because it gives them a fresh start and they can give our players a new perspective on their approach to the game. The difference between you and me is that I see the positive future with Dooley and you seem to focus on the last 2 years of problems. Get over it and back Dooley and our vols or shut that stupid mouth of yours boy! VFL

Amen. I have always wondered how people can go through life and never see anything positive. I hate being around people like that. There needs to be a seperate website for negative thinkers. This one is for TRUE VOL FANS.

volpreacher writes:

in response to PeterKravenMoorehead:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CLK came in with some veterans on team at UT and won 1 more game. CLK went to USC stockpiled with talent. So how is that with less talent? Showing your intelligence.....

gwbask writes:

WELCOME ABOARD !!!!

gwbask writes:

in response to VFL70:

Two questions. Can he coach and can he recruit.

That's what I care about

spvol writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Are you applying for the job, Monkey Boy?

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bwuhahahahahahahahahhahaha!!!!!

What must it be like to hate Dooley so much and not be able to do a da** thing about it. The more you pull this stuff the more it's clear that somewhere along the line Dooley made you his b*_-h!!

Get ready for a long spring, summer, and then fall hating the UT head coach, Derek Dooley, you moron.

BTW, don't broadcast the idea that you are a "double alumnus" of UT. First of all, I seriously doubt it. Second, if it is true, all you do is lower people's opinion of our university when they see that a nuts--k like you was able to graduate from here.

wheatbarley writes:

in response to ngautgirl:

Josh Conklin is in his third season as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at The Citadel.

Conklin has led a defense that has ranked among the best in the Southern Conference the past two years. In his first season in 2010, the Bulldogs ranked third in the conference in total defense, allowing 338.4 yards per game.

A year ago, The Citadel allowed averages of 23.4 points and 343.8 yards an outing to rank second and third, respectively, in the league. Only three conference opponents scored more than 20 points, and only South Carolina reached that total over the second half of the season.

Under Conklin's leadership, defensive end Erik Clanton tied for 12th in the FCS in sacks in 2010, earning him a contract with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes and a free agent opportunity with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cornerback Cortez Allen, who wrapped up his Citadel career in 2010, was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and played in 15 games as a rookie.

Prior to joining the staff at The Citadel, Conklin spent three seasons coaching defensive backs (2007-09) and added special teams to his responsibilities in his final season in Spartanburg. With Conklin on the staff, the Terriers led the SoCon in scoring defense in 2007 while intercepting a conference-high 20 passes and added 13 picks the following season.

Conklin began his coaching career at South Dakota State, serving as a graduate assistant in 2003 and 2004 before being elevated to a fulltime position and coaching the secondary and special teams during the 2005-06 seasons.

The South Dakota State secondary ranked second in the Great West Conference in pass defense in 2006 while Conklin's kickoff return and kickoff coverage teams were the top-ranked units in the conference. That season saw the Jackrabbits finish the year ranked 21st in the nation by the College Sporting News.

Conklin graduated from Dakota State University in 2003 with a degree in physical education. He started at linebacker his junior and senior seasons and was an Academic All-American. He also received a master's degree in sports administration from South Dakota State in 2008.
It looks like he has done a good job at his previous stops.

Thanks for the heads up.

Clarkrm0706 writes:

in response to PeterKravenMoorehead:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Two things
1) VP makes a very refreshing attempt to be optimistic but I don't believe he every made a comment suggesting a NC next year. You know he didn't and probably just used that phrase to make your constant bashing of anyone with a good word or even a "wait and see" attitude, less harsh.

2) I will give you this. Don't know about your coach predicting ability, but if your goal in life is to single handedly double the number of posts on KNS, I would say that you are a success.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to jakethevolguy:

Yeah, BSB is probably a Kenturkey fan. Troll!!!

GBO

Maybe not a K-Y fan, he just HATES Tennessee.

Ichabod writes:

Woford and The Citadel, REALLY ? REALLY ?
What did he make at the Citadel, and what will he make here?
I hear the Special Teams coach at Whitley County High is looking for work...

volpreacher writes:

in response to PeterKravenMoorehead:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually Malik Jackson left USC to come to UT, there were probably a couple more but very few more. MJ wasn't even starting there either. I didn't say they stockpiled talent but they had a lot more than UT. IN fact they had a lot of juniors and seniors battle tested. They didn't start losing their scholarships immediately either. I think this was the first year of that actually.
No actually I like CLK, didn't like him leaving us holding the bag, but liked him as a coach. Liked Fulmer too until the last few years when it was evident he had lost his ability to coach at a high level. I don't think Dooley will go undefeated but I do think we will see a huge improvement in win totals this year. Go Vols!

utclyde16 writes:

in response to Blue_Store_Barron:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I haven't heard Buddy Bennett's name since I was in school at ETSU and we beat Terry Bradshaw in the Grantland Rice Bowl. He was one heck of a coach. Bennett's Bandits.

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