After several years in front of television cameras and radio microphones, former Tennessee great Terry Fair will be back on the field, joining new head coach Butch Jones’ staff in a support role.
Fair, 36, will be a defensive quality control assistant, one of a dozen new support staff members officially announced by the Vols on Monday.
“I feel like a kid that starting his first day of school,” Fair said. “I’m nervous but extremely excited.”
A Phoenix native, Fair was a four-year starter at defensive back for Tennessee. He made the league’s all-freshman team in 1994 and was All-SEC in 1996 and 1997.
Fair played four full seasons with the Detroit Lions after being selected in the first round of the 1998 NFL draft. He spent the 2002 season with Carolina and attempted a comeback in 2005 with St. Louis before retiring.
After his career, Fair spent three years coaching defensive backs at Phoenix College, a junior college in Arizona. Fair also has experience in broadcasting, working as a talk show host in Arizona and later doing television and radio work in Knoxville.
Jones offered him a chance to get back into the coaching business, and Fair said he plans to “hit the ground running.” His first day on the job is today.
Jones also unveiled 11 other staff members, many of whom have been working in Knoxville for the last month.
NCAA rules allow nine “on-field” assistants, but college programs often supplement those coaches by hiring administrative staff and “quality control” assistants who do video work and scouting. Tennessee will also have three graduate assistants, who take graduate-level classes toward a Master’s degree while serving on the coaching staff.
Among the other staff members announced Monday, J.R. Sandlin was the most notable. Sandlin, a native of Tuscaloosa, spent two years on the recruiting staff of Nick Saban at Alabama and was given the title “director of recruiting” at UT.
Keith Pantling, Cincinnati’s director of recruiting under Jones, will be a recruiting assistant at Tennessee. Chris Spognardi, who served as Jones’ chief of staff at Cincinnati, was named assistant to the head coach.
Joining Fair on the quality control staff are offensive quality control assistant Joe Bernardi and special teams quality control assistant Greg Meyer.
Larry Knight and Chase Gibson will be defensive graduate assistants. Former Oregon and Montana State quarterback Cody Kempt will be offensive graduate assistant.
UT also announced that associate coach Mike Szerszen and assistants Greg Adamson and Brandon Myles would join the football strength and conditioning staff headed by Dave Lawson.