On the same day that UT athletic director Dave Hart announced the firing of third-year coach Derek Dooley, he said that Chaney would serve as interim head coach for this week's regular-season finale against Kentucky on Saturday.
Given his background, Chaney was an obvious choice to play a prominent part in another Tennessee transition. Chaney, who came to Tennessee as part of Lane Kiffin's staff in 2009, helped bridge the gap from Kiffin to Dooley in January of 2010.
"Jim is well respected by his peers on our staff," Hart said at Sunday's media conference. "Jim is capable of handling the duties that we discussed.
"Jim and I will meet (Monday) to go over that in more detail. "Jim readily accepted those responsibilities."
Chaney first became UT's offensive coordinator under Kiffin, then continued in that position under Dooley. As bad as UT has been overall in a 4-7 season, the offense often has flourished.
Although the Vols struggled offensively against Vanderbilt, they still rank second in the SEC in total offense (477.6 yards per game) and are fourth in scoring (36.1 points per game).
Quarterback Tyler Bray ranks second in the league in passing yards per game. Wide receiver Justin Hunter is third in the conference in pass receptions and receiving yards per game.
John Adams is a senior columnist. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.