Tennessee coach Butch Jones reached back to his Michigan roots to find a candidate with NFL ties to serve as the Vols’ new director of player personnel.
Bob Welton has spent the last nine years as a college scout for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. Before that, he was a successful high school coach in Michigan, guiding Coloma High (just 35 miles south of Jones’ hometown of Saugatuck) to an undefeated season in 2003.
The owner of the Browns is Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam, a Knoxville native and longtime supporter of UT athletics. Haslam and Jones spoke extensively during a ceremony on campus Friday night.
Welton grew up in Luna Pier, Mich., and graduated from Adrian (Mich.) College. He did postgraduate work at Eastern Michigan
and Grand Valley State.
Welton’s primary focus will be on recruiting and evaluation. Many college teams are bolstering their recruiting and personnel staffs to assist on-field coaches with legwork.
His salary at UT was not announced.
Welton will help fill the void left by two departures from the football administrative staff. J.R. Sandlin, whose title was director of recruiting, left the program earlier this month. NFL coordinator Bill Baker, a longtime NFL scout hired by Derek Dooley a year ago, retired after the Vols’ pro day in March.
Staff members Scott Altizer, the director of high school relations, and Brad Pendergrass, the director of football operations, also work closely with Jones and his staff on evaluation and recruiting legwork.
UT senior associate athletic director David Blackburn, who was responsible for administrative oversight of the football program, was hired as new AD at Chattanooga over the weekend.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.