The Tennessee Volunteers have been in the process of breathing new life into the once dominant SEC East program since Butch Jones came from Cincinnati. Entering year two of the process, a little extra job security for the caching staff has already been provided in the form of one-year extensions. Each coach on Jones’ staff received a one-year extension on their respective contracts Monday and linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen received a raise of $25,000 according to the Associated Press.
The contracts for Thigpen, offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, defensive coordinator John Jancek, receivers coach Zach Azzanni, tight ends/special teams coach Mark Elder, running backs coach Robert Gillespie, strength coach Dave Lawson, offensive line coach Don Mahoney, secondary coach Willie Martinez and defensive line coach Steve Stripling were extended through Feb. 28, 2016. The extra year of job security allows Jones and his staff to sell recruits on the stability within the program, one that has suffered in a state of instability since dominating the SEC East at the height of the tenure of former head coach Phillip Fulmer.
Tennessee had the 12th highest paid coaching staff in 2013 according to a database of coaching salaries organized by USA Today, but that was only the eighth highest-paid staff in the SEC and third highest in the SEC East (Georgia, Florida).