Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pack hires Tenuta as linebackers coach

Jon Tenuta, who was on Notre Dame’s staff the last two seasons and is one of the nation’s most respected defensive coaches, will replace Andy McCollum as N.C. State’s linebackers coach.

Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien announced the hiring Thursday.

Before going to Notre Dame in 2008, Tenuta built a reputation as one of the nation’s best defensive coaches over 16 years as a coordinator at seven different schools.

In 2001, he coordinated a North Carolina defense that included future Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers. It was at Georgia Tech from 2002 to 2007, though, that he became renowned for his system under coach Chan Gailey.

Utilizing a Yellow Jackets roster that was short on size but had plenty of speed and brains, Tenuta used a dazzling array of blitzes to confuse opponents. Georgia Tech ranked in the top 30 in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense in Tenuta’s last five seasons there.

After Gailey was fired following the 2007 season, Tenuta took over as interim coach for the Humanitarian Bowl as Georgia Tech lost 40-28 to Fresno State. He was not retained by Paul Johnson, who took over for Gailey, and went to Notre Dame.

He coached linebackers and was assistant head coach for defense in 2008 and 2009, and served as defensive coordinator in 2009. Notre Dame improved statistically on defense in 2008, giving up 6.6 fewer points per game than the previous season. But the Irish slid defensively in 2009, allowing 25.9 points per game after allowing 22.2 ppg in 2008.

When coach Charlie Weis was fired after last season, Tenuta was searching for a job again. He found one after McCollum left earlier this week to become recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach.

“We lost a heck of a football coach and a great person in Andy McCollum,” O’Brien said Thursday. “He will be missed by our staff and our players and we wish him the best. But we have been very fortunate to be able to hire someone with the experience and wealth of knowledge that Jon Tenuta brings to our staff.”

Tenuta played in college at Virginia, where he was a three-year letterman at defensive back.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic hire for NC State. Tenuta is thought of as one of the best defensive minds in the game. I hate to see McCollum leave, but Tenuta should be able to pick up the GA recruiting and his experience will be an asset to the Wolfpack.

Anonymous said...

He's also a recruiting liability with a lousy personality and arrogant attitude. This is why he's never been a head coach and never stayed in one place for very long.