Dooley may be close to filling another staff vacancy

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) --Local 8 Sports contributor Austin Price is reporting that longtime NFL and College assistant John Palermo is the leading candidate to become Tennessee's new defensive line coach.

Palermo was most recently at MTSU before resigning last December to pursue other career opportunities. If Palermo is hired, he would replace Lance Thompson who left Tennessee over the weekend to return to Alabama as the linebackers coach of the Crimson Tide.

Palermo has an impressive resume, having coached at Notre Dame, Miami, Wisconsin and in the NFL with the Washington Redskins before joining MTSU in 2010. There has been a revolving door with Tennessee's defensive line coach in recent years. The Vols will be on their fifth defensive line coach in the past five seasons since Dan Brooks was dismissed after the firing of Phillip Fulmer following the 2008 season.

Palermo played college football at Florida State and began his coaching career at the high school level before being hired by North Carolina State in 1977.

Dooley is in the process of replacing six assistants who have left the Vol program since the season ended in late November. Dooley has already added former Vol Jay Graham to coach running backs, Sam Pittman to coach the offensive line and Sal Sunseri as the Vols new defensive coordinator.

Including the defensive line coaching position Tennessee has two other positions to hire, tight ends and one other defensive coach, before Dooley's staff is complete heading into the 2012 season.

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