Middle Tennessee has gone the past six seasons with Jimmy Ray Stephens as its offensive line coach. That won’t be the case when the Blue Raiders suit up for spring practice.
The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reports that Stephens resigned from his position after being informed Tuesday night by head coach Rick Stockstill that Stephens would be sharing O-line duties with a yet-to-be-determined assistant coach. Stephens, who has coached at O-lines at Tennessee and Florida, said “pride” and his disagreement with the decision led to his resignation.
“His pay was not going to be cut, and it was explained over and over that it was not a demotion,” Stockstill said of his decision to bring in another coach. “I really thought having a second set of eyes on the offensive line would help us, and I explained that. Jimmy Ray balked at it because he didn’t want to give up the responsibility of coaching all five (linemen).”
Former MTSU offensive lineman Glen Elarbee has been rumored to be coming back to coach under Stockstill, possibly for center/guards while Stephens was moved to exclusively tackles. Whatever the plan, Stephens didn’t want any part of it.
The resignation leaves three open spots on the MTSU staff, the others being offensive coordinator/running backs coach and defensive line coach.
(Photo credit: MTSU athletics)