Look: John Chavis “Shares Wisdom” With Tennessee Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley

Volunteer Country Staff

Tennessee’s current coaching staff met with former defensive coordinator John Chavis on Monday morning, current defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley revealed through a tweet yesterday.

 “It was an honor to spend time and pick the brain of Coach John Chavis,” wrote Ansley. “One of College Football’s most respected coordinators and Vol Legend. We are grateful for him sharing some of his wisdom with our staff.”

Chavis has served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas for the last 2 seasons under former head coach Chad Morris, but was not retained when the University hired former University of Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman to fill the vacancy. Prior to his time in Fayetteville, Chavis spent two seasons at Texas A&M, and was LSU’s defensive coordinator for 6 seasons before that.

The longtime football coach spent nearly 20 years at the University of Tennessee — his alma mater — as well, coaching under both Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer during his time in Knoxville. With Chavis at the helm, Tennessee’s defense was transformed into one of the nation’s top squads; leading the SEC during the Vols’ 1996 season, and finishing near the top of the conference during most of his tenure as the defensive coordinator on Rocky Top.

He was instrumental in the Volunteers’ national championship run in 1998, as well as the Vols’ SEC championship run the year prior in 1997. Chavis would remain at the University of Tennessee until the resignation of Phillip Fulmer in 2008 — after the University pushed him to leave his position as head coach.

Chavis was also a player at Tennessee under head coach Bill Battle, and was even a starter during his senior year due to a knee injury that was suffered by Bill Christian — who was ahead of Chavis on the depth chart. He would serve as a graduate assistant at Tennessee following the end of his playing career, which was the beginning of his long, historic run in the coaching profession.

Nobody — probably not even ‘The Chief’ himself — knows if he will coach again, but it is certainly a wonderful site to see that the 63-year-old is being welcomed back to Rocky Top by the head coach turned athletic director that he was an assistant for. It’s unknown just what exactly Chavis shared with the Vols’ staff, but it certainly could help young defensive minds such as Derrick Ansley to learn from older veterans of the game such as Chavis. 

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