Former UT assistant coach John Palermo hired by Pittsburgh

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

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Comments » 9

tvol71 writes:

How do you give a person a contract that allows him to keep his full salary and get an additional salary after he is fired? Dooley should return that portion of his UT buy out equal to the salary he gets from the Cowboys. Same with Chaney and his new job. Its the right thing to do.

hokievol writes:

Your first point is spot on. I want a job where I can make more money by getting fired than doing a good job! However, He is not responsible for Hamie's foolishness. He owed UT his best, which I think he gave, it was just woefully short.


John Palermo was my former DE coach at Memphis State..He's a good man, but I'm afraid he's not much of a FB coach (at least not a HC) at APSU he lost every game he coached after being fired from Memphis and now UT..Good luck to him in Pitt.

OwensboroVol writes:

We will regret letting Pittman slip away. I can't say how impressed I was with the improvement in the offensive line during the season. They were clearly the class of the team. If every division had improved as much as the Offensive line We would have had a much better record. Pittman certainly deserved to be retained. That said, I do understand how Butch Jones would want his selected coaches. I just don't believe that he could or did do better than what was already there.

DC82_Vol writes:

Buyouts are what happens when your team is awful and the coaches have better lawyers than UT.

iowa_vol writes:

I can't believe that Charlie Coiner hasn't found a job! He did such a remarkable job for UT.

steamboatticket#484773 writes:

There are two football teams in Pittsburgh. After reading the article, I have no way of knowing if Palermo is now with the Panthers or the Steelers.

JSmith525 writes:

in response to steamboatticket#484773:

There are two football teams in Pittsburgh. After reading the article, I have no way of knowing if Palermo is now with the Panthers or the Steelers.

"Instead he’ll join the staff of Paul Chryst"
Tells me he is a Panther.

ncvol17 writes:

Always gives me a good chuckle when some 'every man' like us says 'give the $$$ back, it is the right thing to do'. Kind of like me saying 'I don't need my entire salary to live, I'll give some back to the company to invest'.

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