KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee officially has just one opening left to fill on its football coaching staff.
The school announced the hiring of former NFL assistant Charlie Coiner as the Volunteers' special teams and tight ends coach Friday afternoon, confirming reports by the Times Free Press and other media outlets.
In nine seasons with the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills, Coiner coached both the positions he'll handle for the Vols, who have one more opening on the defensive staff.
"Charlie has a diverse background in professional and college coaching, and he has had consistent success at both levels," UT coach Derek Dooley said in the school's release. "Charlie has also worked with several of our coaches, which will help make the transition and working dynamic seamless."
During his brief stint at North Carolina as the Tar Heels' defensive line coach, Coiner worked with new UT offensive line coach Sam Pittman. He's previously worked for new UT defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri at Louisville (1995-97) and under new UT defensive line coach John Palermo at Austin Peay in 1990.
The Virginia native and alum of Catawba College and Appalachian State has been out of coaching for a year and began a software startup during that time.
UT's final opening, which could be filled shortly after national signing day next week, likely will be a coach in the secondary to help Terry Joseph, who's also the recruiting coordinator.
Plan into action
In both of his news conferences this month, Dooley has referenced how important it is for the Vols to build better team chemistry during this offseason. He admitted that factor was an issue for his team, and it came out following UT's season-ending loss to Kentucky. The Vols are wrapping up their second week of the offseason program, and it's not been only about getting bigger, faster and stronger.
According to multiple players' Twitter accounts, the Vols held a team Madden NFL video game tournament Wednesday night at Neyland Stadium. Rising junior offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James tweeted he lost in the championship game to classmate linebacker Dontavis Sapp. It might not seem like much, but it's clear the Vols are making efforts to bond as a team through similar activities.
"We are tweaking a couple of things to kind of incorporate a little competitive component to the offseason program," Dooley said on Jan. 13. "But more than anything I told them the two most important things we can achieve are teamwork -- learning how to be a team and work together as teammates -- and understanding the individual investment and commitment it takes every day to be a great player."
It's the final weekend for recruits to take official visits, and schools must stop contacting prospects when the dead period begins at midnight Sunday leading up to Wednesday's national signing day. ... UT stands at 21 commitments, and the biggest concern among those is Dalton Santos, an inside linebacker from Van, Texas. Santos pledged to the Vols in August, but Texas offered him a scholarship this week and he's taking an official visit to the Longhorns this weekend, according to reports. ... UT commitment Otha Peters is officially visiting Arkansas this weekend, though the Louisiana linebacker told the Times Free Press on Thursday night that the Vols shouldn't be worried. "I'm going just to be 100 percent sure Tennessee is the place for me," he said.
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 ...