Veteran coach Mike DeBord will be Tennessee’s new offensive coordinator, according to a source.
It’s a reunion for DeBord and Volunteers head coach Butch Jones, the latter of whom is entering a crucial third season in Knoxville with high expectations after a 7-6 record this past year. When DeBord was the head coach at Central Michigan from 2000-03, Jones was his running backs coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator for DeBord’s final two seasons.
The 58-year-old DeBord has been out of coaching the last two seasons but did oversee Michigan’s program last month while the Wolverines conducted their coaching search that ended with the hiring of Jim Harbaugh. Jones was contacted by Michigan early on about its vacancy, and he received a new contract at Tennessee last month.
DeBord spent the last two years as sports administrator for Michigan’s Olympics sports teams. Before that, he coached tight ends in the NFL for the Chicago Bears (2010-12) and Seattle Seahawks (2009).
He was also an assistant offensive line coach for the Seahawks in 2008 after he spent four years as an assistant at Michigan, the last two as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. During his four-year stint at Central Michigan, he had a 12-34 record.
Prior to taking over the Chippewas, DeBord was an assistant at Michigan from 1992-99. He coached the offensive line for five seasons before helping the Wolverines win a national championship in 1997, his first year as offensive coordinator.
DeBord built his career coaching the offensive line at Colorado State (1990-91), Ball State (1988-89) and Eastern Illinois (1987-88). He was the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach at Fort Hays State from 1985-86 and previously spent a season as the program’s offensive line coach.
A Muncie, Ind., native, DeBord got his start in coaching as an offensive line coach at Franklin (Ind.) High from 1982-83. He played on the offensive line at Manchester College from 1974-77.
At Tennessee, DeBord replaces Mike Bajakian, who left earlier this month to become quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bajakian was the quarterbacks coach during DeBord’s last two seasons at Central Michigan.
Jones has a 12-13 record at Tennessee but returns 18 starters for next season, including junior quarterback Josh Dobbs. Dobbs was the most valuable player of the Volunteers’ 45-28 win against Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl, the program’s first bowl appearance since 2010. Jones has also excelled in recruiting, hauling in the No. 5 class in the nation last year, according to Rivals.com, with the No. 5 class for 2015 set to sign on National Signing Day on Wednesday.