Jay Graham leaving Vols for Florida State

Wade Rackley/Tennessee Athletics
Butch Jones and Jay Graham share a laugh during the Knoxville Recruiting Celebration at Neyland Stadium on Thursday.

Photo by Wade Rackley/Tennessee Athletics, University of Tennessee Athletics

Wade Rackley/Tennessee Athletics Butch Jones and Jay Graham share a laugh during the Knoxville Recruiting Celebration at Neyland Stadium on Thursday.

Running backs coach Jay Graham during spring practice at Haslam Field on Thursday, March 29, 2012. 
 (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2012

Running backs coach Jay Graham during spring practice at Haslam Field on Thursday, March 29, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee running backs coach Jay Graham, a former Vol great who returned to his alma mater just over a year ago, is leaving for Florida State.

New head coach Butch Jones confirmed the news on his Twitter account this morning.

“The process of adding a new coach to our staff is underway, and we will hire the best person possible as we continue to build our program,” Jones wrote.

Graham, 37, came to Tennessee from South Carolina after the 2011 season and spent one year under coach Derek Dooley.

He was the only coach from Dooley’s staff retained by Jones, who raved about Graham’s recruiting ability.

Graham, a North Carolina native, played for the Vols from 1993-1996, rushing for 2,609 yards before embarking on a five-year NFL career.

He was slated to make $260,000 in 2013, a $35,000 raise from what he would have made on Dooley’s staff, but still the second-lowest salary among Jones’ nine-member coaching staff.

Graham’s role on Jimbo Fisher’s staff at Florida State has not yet been announced.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 206

retiredVolinGA writes:

VERY DISAPOINTED, in total shock!

rsummie#211799 writes:

Jay was the only coach Butch could NOT afford to lose!!! Couldn't hire Tee and now lose Jay??? Want to hear the explanation!

PureOrange writes:

Look for Tee Martin to end up at Fla. St.. Jay must have talked to him and he thinks more of Tee than he does the Vols. Both have burned their VFL cards.

Very disappointed.

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

Can we please stop with the VFL stuff?

This is big business and loyalty goes as far as the pile of money you can throw at someone.

Plus the whole "VFL" thing was started by Dooley and that just adds a tinge of BS to it...

And really, for all the talk of how great a recruiter Graham was, two cycles at UT and he whiffed on every big time RB he want after right?

This team going into next year has bigger problems than losing Graham...it was going to be a tough year regardless

KevDVol writes:

in response to mempuss:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

More like: V to FL for $.

WhitePineVol77 writes:

Bad news

RockyTop1_old writes:

Sad day.....where have the VOLS gone!!??

GeorgiaVolunteer writes:

The University has just announced the "Vol for Life" position has been renamed "Vol for Now".

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Don't let the door hit ya in the arse..

pj_ladyvolnMI writes:

Horribly sad!!!

volunteerintexas writes:

Groundhog Day. Here we go again:

Dooley 2.0.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to rsummie#211799:

Jay was the only coach Butch could NOT afford to lose!!! Couldn't hire Tee and now lose Jay??? Want to hear the explanation!

If you can't figure out why - the answer is always $.

pcorange writes:

This is horrible. How do we lose the one coach that has some clue what it means to be a Volunteer? Why could we not match and beat whatever FSU is paying him?

Wonder which Cincinnati coach will take his place?

claiborneh writes:

No more "you are not a true Vol" responses to opinions posted here that are not ran ray ree. Truthful feelings spice up the forum, and are honest assessments in the cynical modern age of the NCAA business. This is big money. Period. This VFL is nothing but BS. Jay Graham is still a descent person making career financial decisions like the rest of them. If you believe the Butch Jones VFL "I'm here for next 30 years" BS then you are a sucker too.We can support the orange and white with pride without falling for spin

NashvillePreds writes:

Surprising news.
Is it possible the new coaching staff didn't mesh as well as all had hoped?
With almost all of the other coaches having a prior relationship with Butch, and Jay being the lone holdover, I would think that aspect has something to do with this news.

We'll be okay. I don't see Butch panicking.
Go Vols

Greeneyes67 writes:

Jay, wish u the best in your career. No matter what college u are at. U are such a talented coach.

Hey UT you know Coach Dooley is a running back coach maybe u all can get him back

VOLVFL55 writes:

UT needs to get Frank Wilson, excellent recruiter & RB coach - coached under Kitten, though - UT we'll need to pay up!!! Which is like any business.

StoneJackBaller writes:

Hey, money talks, VFL walks Jack!

He obviously wasn't paid near enough if he means that much to us. Or, maybe he doesn't get along too well with the new staff.

Orangeblood13 writes:

don't make sense, but this too shall pass
CBJ has a plan, Jay chose not to be in it,
I think CBJ will make the right hire and we continue the progression

thevoice writes:

in response to GeorgiaVolunteer:

The University has just announced the "Vol for Life" position has been renamed "Vol for Now".

Or "No Vol Now." We'll recover.

Rosie writes:

This is NOT about the money! TN would have countered. Jay did not want to be here under the current situation- i.e. his relationship with the new staff. Doesn't mean Butch is in the wrong. Doesn't mean Jay is in the wrong. Regardless, sends a terrible message to the TN fan base looking to get excited about football again.

allvol9 writes:

Just sick. I know it is business but man...Jay you are a Vol. I am sure it is money....could we not pay him more. This is just horrible news.

noxcounty writes:

Everybody whines about not hiring more Vols for the staff . . . and when Butch reached out to Tee - he got the finger. Now, the only Vol on the staff gives him the finger as well.

This is big business. Hire the best you can afford. If they can do the job, I don't care if they coached at Sister Mary's School for Left-Handed Third basemen (yeah, I know . . football, baseball - but you get the idea)

LovinMyVols writes:

Hope it works out well for you Jay. Probably a hard decision to make. Glad that we had you while we did.

The1 writes:

He might make more $ at Florida State, but he was paid more than enough by TN to be a football running backs coach. These salaries for coaches and assistants are ridiculous.

thevoice writes:

My biggest question is why is the man in the picture holding a glass wine in Neyland Stadium while I'm sentenced to watered down Coke with too much ice on Saturdays?

BigBadVol writes:

No longer one of my favorite Vols. I'm sure he couldn't care less. He now goes on my shiitt list. He knew how the big orange nation would feel. Deleted him off my twitter account also. Whew I feel better.

pvtoe writes:

in response to Greeneyes67:

Jay, wish u the best in your career. No matter what college u are at. U are such a talented coach.

Hey UT you know Coach Dooley is a running back coach maybe u all can get him back

Caaarrraappppp on wishing these guys good luck on their future endeavors. I hope he rots down there!!!

aldntn writes:

Well, I wish Jay well. I'll never forget his run down the right sideline to put a hurtin on Bama. Hate to lose him, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

UTvols33 writes:

in response to claiborneh:

No more "you are not a true Vol" responses to opinions posted here that are not ran ray ree. Truthful feelings spice up the forum, and are honest assessments in the cynical modern age of the NCAA business. This is big money. Period. This VFL is nothing but BS. Jay Graham is still a descent person making career financial decisions like the rest of them. If you believe the Butch Jones VFL "I'm here for next 30 years" BS then you are a sucker too.We can support the orange and white with pride without falling for spin

Sad but true.

gamecockfan writes:

in response to LovinMyVols:

Hope it works out well for you Jay. Probably a hard decision to make. Glad that we had you while we did.

Glad to see a nice response. Being a South Carolina Alumni when Jay left Carolina we was disappointed but we wished him the best in his decision to come back to UT. No hard feeling a person has to go with what is in his heart and If Jay feels that Florida State is right. Best of luck and Most we going to miss you in the SEC.
You are such a talented coach and a great man.

illinoisvolfan writes:

I would like to hear Jay's version of this story before I form an opinion.

UTKin1992 writes:

Why the panic over losing Graham!?! Good grief people, this guy is a nobody outside of Knoxville and brought nothing - other than his legacy - to the staff! Jeez, get over it folks. Let the head coach handle this stuff. You just watch.

UTvols33 writes:

Oh, well. I was more disappointed in the results he produced than the fact he is leaving. He failed to land that big RB recruit everyone was expecting him to, and our current backs didn't run all that well (slack is given because of the pass happy offense-but still). Not impressed.

HooRay_Vol writes:

in response to StoneJackBaller:

Hey, money talks, VFL walks Jack!

He obviously wasn't paid near enough if he means that much to us. Or, maybe he doesn't get along too well with the new staff.

Or a combination of both. I know I would have felt slighted being second lowest paid for such an important position. They should have made it worth his while if they wanted to keep him. Now what other kind of RB coach will we get with NFL experience?

Answer NONE..... I condider this an epic fail for coach Jones and the administration.

SIMSVOL writes:

This makes a lot of cents! Hart really blew this one - allowing one of the best RB coaches and recruiters in college football go. It's a business and Graham is one of the best, certainly far too good to be the second lowest paid assistant on the staff. Anyone could have seen this coming, certainly Hart who apparently refused to provide the necessary and appropriate salary to retain Graham's services. Bad move Tennessee on the eve of spring training.

RockyMtnVol writes:

NEXT!!

VOLinTX writes:

OK, I'm officially ticked off at someone over this. We need some real VOLS coaches. Are there no qualified ex-Tennessee players to be coaches at Tennessee? Someone give me the name of the person to be upset with (Coach Jones, Graham, Hart). Not good news.

RockyMtnVol writes:

In all seriousness, it is a business and JG has choosen $$ over his school. I am cool with it, not the worse thing I've heard in the past 12 months. I believe in CBJ, he will bring someone in that can land a big time back.

GBO!!

That_One_Fellar writes:

Y'all... Dont look backwards... If he doesnt want to be here for Butch and the dynasty he is tryin to build, I say we don't need him... Remember, only champions wear orange

RockVegas writes:

Here we go again,I don't know what's going on at U.T these days,if it's about the money,then give it up.We can't keep anybody worth keeping,or hire anybody worth hiring,it's going to be a long week...GBO.

secondcreek writes:

Plus the Vols were mediocre at best in the team rushing category in 2012, ranking 62nd overall. And they did not have a single rusher with over 1000 yards. So I am not sure his departure is that big of a deal.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/t...

OleBubba writes:

Traitor!

SummittsCourt writes:

Good, my only complaint is that he waited this long to leave. He wasn't all that as a recruiter anyway. Marcus Lattimore was going to SC no matter who the RB coach was.

UT's running backs showed no sign of improvement either.

It will be hard at this date to replace him, but I'm sure Coach Jones will find a qualified replacement.

rsummie#211799 writes:

in response to pcorange:

This is horrible. How do we lose the one coach that has some clue what it means to be a Volunteer? Why could we not match and beat whatever FSU is paying him?

Wonder which Cincinnati coach will take his place?

My thoughts exactly...

GrandCanyonVol writes:

You know,loyalty is no longer much in the human race. There is some, but not a lot. It's about ME, ME, and ME. What's best for MEEEE! It's a shame, but it is what it is. When I grew up, the Bible had an influence on people where their word meant something. When a man shook your hand and told you his intentions, their word was sure. You could count on their word because they had honor. Not much Bible left in our society, not much honor and loyalty either. Our society thought we could get along without God back in the 60's and 70's and now we are left with a mess. Jay leaving is just part of that mess. I liked him and would hope that he would be different, but not to be. It is sad. My wife ask me some months ago, "Do they not have to fulfill their contracts;Do they not have to sign a paper saying they will do certain things or be there a certain time?" She could not grasp that you would agree to do something and it meant nothing to anyone. The world has gone insane, no doubt about it.

tnvolfan16 writes:

congratulations to Jay Graham. as a Vol Fan, i have thought for a while it was an insult that you were the second lowest paid member of the "cicny south" staff. he should have been the second or third best paid member of the staff. and i am tired of jones throwing that old "we'll find the best candidate" phooey around. he will hire one of his stooges from cincinatti and continue getting the gang back together. knoxville will be one step closer to being "little cincy"

SummerfieldVol writes:

Now this is very sad news. Time to go and get another top notch running back coach. A coach who was a running back in college and preferred in the pros. We saw what a good running back coach can mean to a team. Open up the check book and go get one. Must have been a dollar thing.

usafvol writes:

in response to UTKin1992:

Why the panic over losing Graham!?! Good grief people, this guy is a nobody outside of Knoxville and brought nothing - other than his legacy - to the staff! Jeez, get over it folks. Let the head coach handle this stuff. You just watch.

Totally agree with you. He's done nothing while coaching at UT and without Lattimore at SC, nobody outside of Knoxville would have ever heard of him anyway..

volfan1202 writes:

in response to THEKIDWISCONSIN:

Can we please stop with the VFL stuff?

This is big business and loyalty goes as far as the pile of money you can throw at someone.

Plus the whole "VFL" thing was started by Dooley and that just adds a tinge of BS to it...

And really, for all the talk of how great a recruiter Graham was, two cycles at UT and he whiffed on every big time RB he want after right?

This team going into next year has bigger problems than losing Graham...it was going to be a tough year regardless

AMEN! my thoughts exactly.

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