Posted by Chip Patterson
Alabama assistant coach Sal Sunseri will be Tennessee's next defensive coordinator. Early reports from GoVols247 and the Tuscaloosa Bureau were confirmed in an official release from the school on Friday. Sunseri replaces former defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who accepted a position on the Washington coaching staff in September.
"The chance to work with Derek Dooley, who has been around championships and knows what it takes to build an elite program, combined with the rich tradition of the University of Tennessee, makes this opportunity so exciting to me," Sunseri said in the official release. "I am fired up to work with all of the young talent on the defensive side of the ball, and I can't wait to get up to Knoxville and coach them."
After winning two national championships in three seasons on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama, Sunseri will be in good company with head coach Derek Dooley. Dooley spent five years as an assistant to Saban at LSU, then two more on his Miami Dolphins coaching staff.
Like Dooley, Sunseri's family has been surrounded by college football. His oldest son, Tino, is the starting quarterback at Pittsburgh (where Sunseri was an All-American linebacker in 1981) and his youngest son, Vinnie, recorded just finished a 31-tackle freshman campaign as an Alabama linebacker.
"Sal has had unparalleled success over the last decade in not only contributing to team and unit success, but also in his ability to motivate and develop elite individual talent," Dooley said in a prepared statement. "His combination of defensive knowledge, recruiting success, high-energy personality, ability to connect with players, and personal integrity and character make him an exceptional fit for Tennessee."
Sunseri is Dooley's second hire of the week, looking to fill the positions left by other departing coaches. On Thursday Tennessee announced former North Carolina assistant Sam Pittman as the new offensive line coach. Pittman replaces Harry Hiestand, who left to take a job on Brian Kelly's staff at Notre Dame.
For more information on Tennessee's recent coaching hires, follow Daniel Lewis and the Volunteers RapidReports
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