published Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Vols lose two of top assistants

  • photo
    UT defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox watches during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE - A new year is already bringing more of the same for Tennessee's football program: bad news.

This time it's the loss of two key assistant coaches.

Through a football program source, the Times Free Press has confirmed an ESPN report that defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon are leaving the Volunteers to join the staff at Washington.

Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian fired his entire defensive staff last week after Washington gave up 67 points in an Alamo Bowl loss to Baylor and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Both Wilcox and Sirmon have West Coast ties. The Vols were 28th nationally in totally defense despite relying on a a handful of first-year players. Sirmon made his mark both on the field, where he groomed freshmen A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt, and on the recruiting trail, where he was responsible for a handful of key defensive recruits.

UT has now lost four assistants since the season-ending loss to Kentucky in November. Coach Derek Dooley hired Jay Graham from South Carolina to coach running backs and replace receivers coach Charlie Baggett last month. Special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Eric Russell left for a similar position at Washington State in December as well.

Now Dooley has a total of three hires to make with the recruiting season heating up. Signing day is February 1.

More on this story as it develops and in Tuesday's Times Free Press.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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dude_abides said...

Open up the money tap, NOW!

January 2, 2012 at 12:27 p.m.
WHS1970 said...

I guess this makes Wiedmer happy. Too bad the TFP does'nt fire him.

January 2, 2012 at 12:31 p.m.
Salsa said...

No surprise. Wilcox has been expected to leave for a while now.

January 2, 2012 at 2:36 p.m.
hcirehttae said...

So two out of four of the above comments are vitriolic, ad hominem attacks. Ms. Gerber, this article is posted under "Latest News" on the left column of the website -- why doesn't it fall under the new "no comments" rule? Hmm?

January 2, 2012 at 10:33 p.m.
najones75 said...

I was wondering the same thing, hcirehttae.

January 3, 2012 at 6:29 a.m.
wyldmon said...

Oh slam!

January 3, 2012 at 8:07 a.m.
lookinfour said...

I guess sports stories are the only opinion stories that can be commented on now. No facts?

January 3, 2012 at 6:19 p.m.
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