John Jancek out as Tennessee's defensive coordinator
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) John Jancek won't be back as Tennessee's defensive coordinator.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones announced Wednesday that he and Jancek ''have mutually agreed to part ways.''
''John and I had a long discussion this morning and we both came to the conclusion that it was best to part ways,'' Jones said in a university release. ''I want to thank Coach Jancek for his contributions to the University of Tennessee football program the past three years. His hard work and dedication to this program played a major role in our back-to-back bowl wins. These decisions are never easy especially for someone I have worked with at three different schools. `'
Jancek had been Tennessee's defensive coordinator during Jones' three years as head coach. Jancek also had worked as Jones' defensive coordinator in Cincinnati from 2010-12, and he worked alongside Jones in 2003-04 when both were assistants at Central Michigan.
Tennessee athletic department spokesman Ryan Robinson said Jancek will receive the balance of his $520,000 salary plus a bowl bonus in the first two months of this year. The amount Tennessee owes could be mitigated depending on whether he gets another job.
Jancek sent out a tweet Wednesday saying, ''I just want to say thank you to (hash)GBO (Go Big Orange). I loved your passion and I never wanted to let you guys down!! I enjoyed improving the defense! (hash)VFL (Vol For Life).'' Jancek sent a separate tweet later in the day saying he appreciated ''all the calls and texts from all the players.''
The 47-year-old Jancek helped rebuild a defense that statistically had posted one of its worst seasons in school history the year before his arrival.
Tennessee allowed 20 points per game this year to rank fifth in the Southeastern Conference and 16th among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in scoring defense. The Volunteers yielded 362 yards per game to rank seventh in the SEC and 36th nationally in total defense.
The Vols did show an inability to hang on to big leads early in the season. Tennessee went 9-4 but led in each of its four defeats. The Vols led by at least 13 points in losses to Oklahoma, Florida and Arkansas. They also couldn't preserve a fourth-quarter lead in a 19-14 loss to Alabama.
But the defense got better as the season wore on. Tennessee gave up more than eight points in only one of its last four games.
''We feel strongly about the direction our program is headed and will work diligently to find the best person available to lead our defense,'' Jones said.
Jancek becomes the second Tennessee assistant to leave the staff. Special team coach/tight ends coach Mark Elder was hired last month as Eastern Kentucky's head coach, though he remained with the Vols for their 45-6 Outback Bowl victory over No. 12 Northwestern.
Tennessee announced Monday that former Miami interim head coach Larry Scott had agreed in principle to become the Vols' tight ends coach.
AP college website: collegefootball.ap.org