published Monday, January 25th, 2010

Chuck Smith to coach Vols’ defensive line

by Wes Rucker

KNOXVILLE — One of the best pass rushers in University of Tennessee history is eager to pay that knowledge forward to current Volunteers.

And Chuck Smith is on the verge of getting that opportunity.

Smith, a former college star and NFL pro-bowler, has left a position with the New York Jets to coach UT’s defensive line.

Jets coach Rex Ryan included Smith’s name in his list today of five assistants who won’t return next season, and he specifically mentioned the Volunteers as his former consultant’s destination.

UT officials haven’t confirmed Smith’s hiring, but that seems a mere formality when combining Ryan’s comments with Smith’s confirmed status as a candidate for the position.

A 40-year-old native of Athens, Ga., Smith eased into the coaching word after retiring from the NFL in 2001. He spent most of his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, and his 58.5 sacks stand as the franchise record.

Smith and new UT head coach Derek Dooley were teammates at Clarke Central High School and have kept in touch through the years, which helped spawn the speculation that Smith would rejoin Dooley in Knoxville.

Read Tuesday’s Times Free Press for more UT coverage.

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