Robert Gillespie of West Virginia leading candidate for RB coach

West Virginia assistant coach Robert Gillespie has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Jay Graham as Tennessee’s new running backs coach, a source familiar with the search told the News Sentinel today.

The source requested anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

Gillespie, a former Florida running back, is one of at least two candidates who interviewed this week with UT coach Butch Jones.

Gillespie, 33, was running backs coach at South Carolina from 2006-08. He spent two years at Oklahoma State (2009-10) before following Dana Holgorsen to West Virginia when he was hired to be the Mountaineers head-coach-in-waiting after the 2010 season. Holgorsen assumed full head coaching duties in June 2011.

A native of Hattiesburg, Miss., Gillespie played four seasons for coach Steve Spurrier and the Gators, rushing for 1,854 yards and catching 96 passes for 1,091 receiving yards. He was team captain as a senior in 2001, helping lead Florida to a 10-2 record and No. 3 ranking.

After a brief professional career, he completed his degree at Florida in 2005 and then began working for Spurrier at South Carolina as a graduate assistant.

Gillespie and Graham have an unlikely connection. When Gillespie left South Carolina, Spurrier hired Graham to replace him. Now Gillespie appears to be on the verge of replacing Graham at UT.

Gillespie reportedly made $300,000 annually at West Virginia.

Graham was slated to make $260,000 at Tennessee. Florida State has yet to confirm Graham’s hiring or his role on the team.

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

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Comments » 36

volguy#211935 writes:

Hiring a Gator to replace a Vol? Many will be howling about that, but Graham left on his own and Gillespie is like most of us – he will be loyal to the paycheck.

keepitreal4vols writes:

hmmm. dang it. i dunno. A gator? ughh. ewwww. ehhh, ok, whatever.

mountainbrook writes:

I don't car where he is from. I only care if he does a good job as a coach and as a recruiter.

CroKev writes:

Can he recruit (esp. in the SE)?

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say forget the Alum stuff as Graham did..Witch Doctor believe this is a step up. Witch Doctor say once a kid graduates the worst thing he can do is return to his school to coach. Witch Doctor say plus he can pull the ones from Florida that Jay never could. Good hire IF we can get him
Bones never lie.

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to mountainbrook:

I don't car where he is from. I only care if he does a good job as a coach and as a recruiter.

Yep. But he must meet John Adam's only qualification.

GR82BTNVOL writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say forget the Alum stuff as Graham did..Witch Doctor believe this is a step up. Witch Doctor say once a kid graduates the worst thing he can do is return to his school to coach. Witch Doctor say plus he can pull the ones from Florida that Jay never could. Good hire IF we can get him
Bones never lie.

Excellent points Witch Doctor.

rtrchatt writes:

Win 5/6 games a yr and the only kids you can "pull" are the ones the big boys recuit as plan D. Makes no difference who is making the pitch. If you are not winning on the field, you
are not winning many recruiting battles in Jan/Feb.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say forget the Alum stuff as Graham did..Witch Doctor believe this is a step up. Witch Doctor say once a kid graduates the worst thing he can do is return to his school to coach. Witch Doctor say plus he can pull the ones from Florida that Jay never could. Good hire IF we can get him
Bones never lie.

Agreed..If nothing else he knows his way around the SEC either at USCe or at FU..I'm excited to hear this news, that might just give us the push in the state of Florida needed to grab some of these great athletes..GBO!!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Win 5/6 games a yr and the only kids you can "pull" are the ones the big boys recuit as plan D. Makes no difference who is making the pitch. If you are not winning on the field, you
are not winning many recruiting battles in Jan/Feb.

That's total BS...Then how'd Aubie end up with a top 10 class after a bad season, or USC for that matter??

smokeygrowl writes:

With his age he should be able to relate to the kids and should have good relationships in Florida. Rather him be a great recruiter than great coach. Jimmys and Joes is what we need.

SummittsCourt writes:

I think it will be an improvement if he is as good as advertised. Time will tell.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Heck...some of you would love it if Spurrier himself came and coached. But we got a coach.hehe

Seriously I think this could be good. I did love Graham coming back for a while however.

mountainbrook writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Win 5/6 games a yr and the only kids you can "pull" are the ones the big boys recuit as plan D. Makes no difference who is making the pitch. If you are not winning on the field, you
are not winning many recruiting battles in Jan/Feb.

Parole Tide!

TommyJack writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say forget the Alum stuff as Graham did..Witch Doctor believe this is a step up. Witch Doctor say once a kid graduates the worst thing he can do is return to his school to coach. Witch Doctor say plus he can pull the ones from Florida that Jay never could. Good hire IF we can get him
Bones never lie.

agree with witchee.

TeamXer writes:

So this dude made 300K last year. Is he going to take a pay cut or are we going to pay him more than we were willing to pay Graham?

8ball writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Win 5/6 games a yr and the only kids you can "pull" are the ones the big boys recuit as plan D. Makes no difference who is making the pitch. If you are not winning on the field, you
are not winning many recruiting battles in Jan/Feb.

Get a life rtr its only a game, a football game. As much as I love UT sports its a game , I as a game..wake up smells the roses, watch the sun set its only a game

VolGrad writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Win 5/6 games a yr and the only kids you can "pull" are the ones the big boys recuit as plan D. Makes no difference who is making the pitch. If you are not winning on the field, you
are not winning many recruiting battles in Jan/Feb.

We should be in good shape then, because both Gillespie and CBJ are undefeated at Tennessee.

Go Vols!!!

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

What I am missing here, is we were paying JGraham 260K and from reports offered to give him a raise over that. Gillespie is making 300K and will obviously be looking for a raise to make a change. Ok Butch, its your ship and you run it as you see fit. But understand the rest of us will still be fans long after you are gone, even if you are successful and retire from UT.

laraccoon writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

That's total BS...Then how'd Aubie end up with a top 10 class after a bad season, or USC for that matter??

be careful . he will send some Terd players to sucker punch you and take your lunch money . then some turd fans to poison your schrubs .

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

in response to Johnny_Aint_No_Del_Shofner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I will start by saying, I dont have a warm fuzzy over this. But I dont see where you get your comments. Butch has won at each stop, so its time to move up and play in a bigger playground. Gillispie does have some professional experience. And in case you forget, Dickey was a gator as well. He did quiet well for himself while he was here both as a coach and AD. It does go to show the real loyalty now is to the $.

BolivrBob writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say forget the Alum stuff as Graham did..Witch Doctor believe this is a step up. Witch Doctor say once a kid graduates the worst thing he can do is return to his school to coach. Witch Doctor say plus he can pull the ones from Florida that Jay never could. Good hire IF we can get him
Bones never lie.

The witch doctor is right on the money. I believe Graham made a big mistake. he's trying to take the fast track for a coordinator position but all he is doing is building a reputation as a job hopper. this will be a great hire if we can get him. He's already making 300,000 So it's gonna take some serious cheese.

SewaneeVolFan writes:

in response to Johnny_Aint_No_Del_Shofner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Gracious. Reading carefully between the lines, I'm guessing you're not a glass-half-full kind of guy.

NGage writes:

in response to Johnny_Aint_No_Del_Shofner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LOL....try to keep up with what goes on in the world if you are going to comment...your post is filled with erroneous information.

1) the coaches got more money because when you move up in divisions the pay scale goes up (as is true for any business)

2) Graham wasn't dumped upon. He came here for the same or more pay, then was due an increase for next year -- which they were going to give him. Then, when he told them he was going to FSU (Graham doing the dumping), UT offered to match the $300k that FSU was going to pay him.

3) No discrimination when Thigpen is one of the highest paid asst's. And a quick look would show anyone without a chip on their shoulder that the pay scale was largely based on experience.

4) IF they hire Gillespie, he has NFL experience...he played in the league for 2 years.

5) Again, a quick and honest examination of Fulmer clearly indicates his time was past. The conference had passed him by. Look at his overall record (and who the wins were against) in his last 10 seasons.

6) Most will cheer them on in a wait and see manner. You sound like you've given up, or are clinging to something from the past. You might as well move on, and leave the rest of us to cheer them on.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to laraccoon:

be careful . he will send some Terd players to sucker punch you and take your lunch money . then some turd fans to poison your schrubs .

Yeah, don't want to invite him to Krystal's either..

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Win 5/6 games a yr and the only kids you can "pull" are the ones the big boys recuit as plan D. Makes no difference who is making the pitch. If you are not winning on the field, you
are not winning many recruiting battles in Jan/Feb.

Go away, douche.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to CroKev:

Can he recruit (esp. in the SE)?

http://westvirginia.rivals.com/viewco...

Good question. In 2012 he pulled 10 kids from Florida to WVU. 10 in one recruiting cycle is freaking outstanding! It's a long way from Fl to WV. Yes they were 3*s, but you can't recruit the same type of players to WVU as you can UT. Not cutting on WVU, I actually like them, just the truth. So yes he can recruit.

Personally, I would like to have the fired Bears coach, but this guy will do without a doubt.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Win 5/6 games a yr and the only kids you can "pull" are the ones the big boys recuit as plan D. Makes no difference who is making the pitch. If you are not winning on the field, you
are not winning many recruiting battles in Jan/Feb.

Rubbed your sack on anyone's grill lately?

SummerfieldVol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say forget the Alum stuff as Graham did..Witch Doctor believe this is a step up. Witch Doctor say once a kid graduates the worst thing he can do is return to his school to coach. Witch Doctor say plus he can pull the ones from Florida that Jay never could. Good hire IF we can get him
Bones never lie.

Well put Witch-Doc. Employees are faithful to the almighty buck, as the saying goes money talks and BS walks. It is obvious to me that he will make at least $300k or better. Or why would he leave to come to Tennessee? I don't care where he played or where he was born,just as long as he can #1 coach and than recruit. At least he was a running back, never have understood trying to coach a position you never played,probably could do a half way good job but not a great job, because you don't know all the in's and out's, all the little tricks of the trade, per say.

jt45 writes:

Well it appears he was hired !

PinballWizard writes:

It's confirmed, Gillespie is the new RB coach. Free tickets to football games for another year! Although I'd rather pay $100 a game....

pcshowtime writes:

Until we address the academic requirements that make it harder to recruit a UT (which geographically is already a challenge)than bama, LSU or Fl we are going to be behind the eight ball in recruiting no matter who they hire. However, kudos to butch for a solid hire.

rb4346 writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Win 5/6 games a yr and the only kids you can "pull" are the ones the big boys recuit as plan D. Makes no difference who is making the pitch. If you are not winning on the field, you
are not winning many recruiting battles in Jan/Feb.

Same old garbage from Troll boy, needs to double up on his Valium intake.

smokeygrowl writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

Go away, douche.

YEAH THATS WHY SABAN AND URBAN MYERS "PITCH" DIDNT WORK WHEN THEY FIRST GOT THEIR JOBS.THE 13-0 SEASONS ALABAMA AND OHIO STATE HAD BEFORE THEY GOT THERE.

Brentwoodvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say forget the Alum stuff as Graham did..Witch Doctor believe this is a step up. Witch Doctor say once a kid graduates the worst thing he can do is return to his school to coach. Witch Doctor say plus he can pull the ones from Florida that Jay never could. Good hire IF we can get him
Bones never lie.

Man where you been hiden??? Never see ya on VN anymore. You must be busy man!!!!Hope all is well with ya!!

mongobfairchild writes:

Assistants are a dime a dozen....didn't see Graham doing anything special. UT fans need to drop the VFL phooey and worry about winning. Being an ex-Vol doesn't make you a better coach or any more valuable at UT than it does at Western Kentucky. 95% of these kids have no idea or even care who Jay Graham or Tee Martin use to be!

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