Vols' defensive line coach leaves team

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (utsports.com) -- Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley announced today that by mutual agreement, defensive line coach Chuck Smith will not return to his position for the 2011 season and will pursue other career opportunities.

“I am grateful for the personal investment, hard work, and passion that Chuck contributed to our program this past year,” said Dooley. “He is a dear friend to me, and more importantly, will always be a part of the Tennessee family.”

Dooley also announced the hiring of Peter Sirmon as linebackers coach. Sirmon, who spent seven seasons as a linebacker with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, spent the 2010 season coaching the Vols’ safeties as a graduate assistant.

After retiring from the NFL, Sirmon coached linebackers at Central Washington before joining his alma mater, the University of Oregon, as a graduate assistant for the 2009 season. He was an All-Pac 10 linebacker and four-year letterman for the Ducks and was selected in the fourth round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the Titans.

Lance Thompson, who has coached linebackers for two seasons at Tennessee (2009-10), will shift to coaching the Vols’ defensive line. Thompson has significant experience coaching defensive linemen, including four seasons at Georgia Tech (1996-98, 2001), two seasons at Alabama (1999-2000) and one year at LSU (2002).

Thompson also spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Central Florida (2004-06) before rejoining the staff at Alabama as outside linebackers coach for the two seasons prior to his arrival in Knoxville (2007-08).

“Lance’s extensive experience coaching defensive linemen combined with Peter’s work product over the past year makes these decisions seamless,” said Dooley. “Lance has experienced tremendous success as both a defensive coordinator and line coach, while Peter’s work ethic, professionalism, coaching ability, and success as a linebacker at both the collegiate and professional ranks precluded me from pursuing any other candidates.”

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