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UT Hires Conklin From The Citadel; UT’s Not An Easy Sell Right Now

Just days after losing safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph to Nebraska, it appears Derek Dooley has once again — barring any more departures — completed his coaching staff. 

The University of Tennessee has announced the hiring of Josh Conklin, who is currently serving as the defensive coordinator at The Citadel.  Conklin also coached safeties at the Charleston school.

Prior to The Citadel, Conklin coached at Wofford.

Yesterday we told you that former UT assistant Eric Russell had admitted that job security issues led him to leave the Volunteer staff for a spot on Washington State’s coaching team.  We suspect five of the other six Dooley assistants to leave Knoxville this offseason — one has retired — left for similar reasons.

So who might be willing to join a staff that could be blown to smithereens at the end of the season?  Let’s see:

* Conklin gets a big step up in moving from The Citadel to Tennessee.

* Sal Sunseri went from linebackers coach at Alabama to SEC defensive coordinator with his jump.

* Derrick Ainsley is a former Alabama grad assistant under Sunseri who had been in his first full-time job (at Central Florida) for less than three months before joining the Vols.

* Special teams/tight ends coach Charlie Coiner coached at North Carolina during their troubled 2010 season before sitting out the 2011 campaign.

* Offensive line coach Sam Pittman was also on North Carolina’s staff, but he stuck with the Tar Heels until the whole group was blown up at the end of this past season.

* Defensive line coach John Palermo has coached at some big name programs, but he moves to UT after a two-year stint at Middle Tennessee State.

* Finally, new running backs coach Jay Graham made the move from South Carolina to work at his alma mater.

It’s quite clear the top names in the biz weren’t too keen on climbing aboard the SS Dooley as it sails into a make-or-break 2012 season.  That’s not to say the current crew can’t win, but it’s understandable if Vol fans are a little underwhelmed at the moment.

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