KNOXVILLE -- The University of Tennessee announced Ron McKeefery as its new football strength and conditioning coach Monday afternoon.
McKeefery spent 11 seasons (2000-10) at South Florida and earned the 2008 Under Armour Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year award. As UT's fifth strength coach since the start of the 2008 season, McKeefery replaces Bennie Wylie, who left earlier this month for the same position at Texas.
"I am very excited to be at the University of Tennessee and to work with some of the best student-athletes in America," McKeefery said in a release. "Coach [Derek] Dooley, the staff and administration have the utmost character and integrity, and I am eager to begin working with the student-athletes and to contribute to the positive impact that the university is having in their lives."
McKeefery's tenure at South Florida coincided with the Bulls' rise from the Football Championship Subdivision to competitor in the Big East Conference. South Florida made six consecutive bowl trips and had 16 players drafted into the NFL.
"Our program improved significantly today with the addition of Ron McKeefery as our football head strength and conditioning coach," Dooley said. "Ron has a track record of proven success in the South over a sustained period of time and is a man of high character and integrity who views Tennessee as a program with unlimited potential.
"We are excited to add a strength and conditioning coach of Ron's caliber and background to our football program, and we believe his efforts and intensity will play a critical role in our program's return to a perennial championship contender."
McKeefery also has some NFL experience, having spent a year working with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before taking the position at South Florida. His most recent job was with the U.S. Army Special Forces in Fort Campbell, Ky., where he was the human performance coordinator with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
Lathers has surgery
Sophomore linebacker Herman Lathers underwent successful surgery on his right shoulder last week. He's expected to be limited during spring practice and return for summer workouts and preseason camp.
Lathers has started 17 games in his two years at UT, including 12 at outside linebacker in 2010. He suffered the injury in practice during the Vols' preparations for the Music City Bowl last month.
He was UT's second-leading tackler and had 2.5 sacks this past season.
Contact Patrick Brown at email@example.com or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrownTFP.