New Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel has not retained a pair of former Vols’ assistants, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke.
Heupel informed Chaney and Weinke on Friday morning that he would not be keeping them on staff, meaning Chaney is owed $1.7 million on the remaining portion of his contract and Weinke $450,000. Both of those figures could be mitigated if either coach takes another job.
Kevin Steele, who was named acting head coach by university chancellor Donde Plowman following the firing of Jeremy Pruitt, currently remains on staff. Steele was hired as a defensive assistant on Jan. 12 less than a week before Pruitt was fired and while Phillip Fulmer was still Tennessee’s athletic director. Danny White was named Tennessee’s athletic director on Jan. 21.
Steele, the former defensive coordinator at Auburn, is owed $5 million by Auburn from the contract he signed in January 2020, which at the time made him the highest-paid defensive coordinator in college football. His $5 million buyout at Auburn, however, was mitigated by the money Tennessee is paying him, meaning he was going to be capped at $2.5 million this year and $2.5 million the next year even if he hadn’t taken the Tennessee job.
Tight ends coach Joe Osovet remains on Tennessee’s staff at this time. Osovet’s contract ends next January, and he’s making $250,000.
The contract of receivers coach Tee Martin ends on Jan. 31 of this year. Martin quarterbacked the Vols to a national championship in 1998 and is waiting to see if he will be offered a new contract by Heupel.
In addition to being on the hook for the full $900,000 that Steele is owed if he’s not retained, Tennessee owes UCF the $2.5 million buyout to get White out of his contract and also owes UCF the $3.59 million buyout to get Heupel out of his contract. Tennessee is paying the Parker Executive Search Firm $120,000 for assisting with the AD search and another $120,000 for assisting with the head coaching search.