The arrival of Jim Chaney is news that has been long awaited for by Vol faithful. With the search taking a tumultuous course amidst rampant speculation, Jeremy Pruitt delivered an offensive coordinator that Tennessee fans can be excited about going forward. Hiring a coordinator with Chaney’s reputation, pedigree, and salary is a clear indicator from Jeremy Pruitt and the administration that Tennessee will do what it takes to get back to competing with the top half of the conference.
Jim Chaney’s history as an offensive coordinator stretches back to his time in Purdue where he worked closely with Drew Brees, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, who had a record setting collegiate career under Chaney’s tutelage. After spending the better part of a decade with the Boilermakers, Chaney spent three years in the National Football League with the St. Louis Rams. During those three years, Chaney coached Offensive Line and Tight Ends. He returns to Knoxville after a four year stint spanning both Lane Kiffin’s and Derek Dooley’s tenures with the Orange and White. Chaney served as an interim head coach for the Vols final game of the 2012 season, in which he led UT to their lone conference victory of the season over Kentucky. Chaney followed his time at Tennessee continuing to play call in the SEC at Arkansas for a couple years. He capped that off with a year in Pittsburgh as an offensive coordinator before landing at Georgia where he has been for the duration of Kirby Smart’s time at Georgia until now.
The hiring of Jim Chaney checks off a lot of boxes for the Vols. One of the primary concerns voiced among the fans was that Jeremy Pruitt would seek to hire someone he could manipulate or control into playing conservatively. Hiring a proven commodity who will be the highest paid coordinator in Tennessee’s history answers any of those concerns. There is no doubt that a coordinator of Chaney’s caliber will have the reigns of the offense.
Chaney led the Vols passing attack to average over three hundred yards passing each game during his final year here. His offense that year was one of the most successful that the University has seen since the years with Fulmer at the helm. Dating back to his time at Purdue with Drew Brees, he has been renowned for his work with quarterbacks and could prove to be invaluable to the development of Guarantano.
Spending nine of the last ten years between Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia, Chaney has an extensive amount of experience in the SEC as a play caller. He has competed at the highest level, winning a conference championship with Georgia. Fans will surely remember the level of success that Chaney has had with Georgia over the past few seasons, and will hope he can replicate that as a play caller for the Vols.
Chaney is familiar with Tennessee and the fan base, so he knows expectations will be high, even in year one. It has long been rumored that Chaney loves East Tennessee and saw himself retiring in the area, so this could be a final destination for him if he is able to have success with the offense. He loves Knoxville. Continuity within the coaching staff, particularly the offense, is something that the Vols desperately need going forward if Pruitt is to be successful during his tenure. This hire was paramount, and Jeremy Pruitt has crushed it in regards to experience, longevity, and success. It remains to be seen the course that the program will take under the direction of Jeremy Pruitt, but hiring Jim Chaney was a massive step in the right direction. Go Vols.