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#pounditWednesday, October 4, 2023

Is this why eight Tennessee Vols football coaches declined a pay cut?

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Eight members of the Tennessee Volunteers’ football coaching staff declined to take pay cuts to help out the athletic department through difficult financial times, a report showed on Friday. At a time when people are sacrificing in various ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, including financially, why would these coaches decline to contribute? We have a theory.

The Knoxville News Sentinel’s Blake Toppmeyer broke the news about the pay cuts on Friday and learned the information through a freedom of information request.

Those who declined the pay cut included: offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley, offensive line coach Will Friend, quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke, inside linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer, outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton, tight ends coach Joe Osovet, and strength and conditioning coach A.J. Artis.

Two coaches, receivers coach Tee Martin and running backs coach Jay Graham, were the only assistants to accept a cut.

Head coach Jeremy Pruitt declined to accept a raise he was due, which was considered his contribution.

So why would the coaches decline to help out?

Our best guess is the coaches did not feel much job security and thought it was possible they could end up fired in the near future. There would be no guarantees about them getting jobs in the future, especially with other athletic departments struggling financially. With that risk in mind, they may have felt they needed to get every penny possible while they could. There is no inside information guiding that thought, just some speculation.

The Vols are in their third season under Pruitt, who had a pretty nice endorsement in his first year. They are 2-4 this season, which is below expectations for the program.


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