Former Tennessee assistant coach John Palermo was hired by Pittsburgh Monday to coach defensive line and linebackers, leaving only one coach from Derek Dooley’s 2012 staff without a job heading into the 2013 season.
Palermo, 60, spent one season on Dooley’s staff and had talked of possibly retiring to his lake house after the staff was dismissed. Instead he’ll join the staff of Paul Chryst, a former Wisconsin quarterback and assistant coach. Palermo spent 15 years as an assistant to Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez.
“It’s the reality that things like this happen in this business,” Palermo said at the end of last season. “They pay us a lot of money. We’re professionals. When things like this happen, you don’t like it, but you’ve got to live with it.”
Dooley was recently announced as a new wide receivers coach for the Dallas Cowboys, and his staff members have done well finding employment.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and offensive line coach Sam Pittman are on the new staff at Arkansas, where they pursued and eventually flipped former UT commitment Dan Skipper. Receivers coach Darin Hinshaw was hired as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Cincinnati.
Defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri is now coaching defensive ends at Florida State. His cornerbacks coach, Derrick Ansley, landed at Kentucky. Safeties coach Josh Conklin was hired as defensive coordinator at Florida International.
Running backs coach Jay Graham was the only member of Dooley’s staff hired by new UT coach Butch Jones.
Special teams coordinator Charlie Coiner has not yet been hired for any position in the NFL or college ball.
Dooley’s $5 million buyout is unaffected by his new job, and Chaney will also be paid $600,000 this year without restrictions. However, the new jobs for the other coaches should help significantly defray the roughly $2.5 million in payouts that UT had owed to the fired coaches.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.