Tee Martin, the quarterback who succeeded Peyton Manning and led Tennessee to the 1998 national championship, has declined an offer to become the Vols’ wide receivers coach on coach Butch Jones’ new staff.
Martin visited the Tennessee campus on Monday and was to fly back to Los Angeles on Tuesday. The personable Martin, considered a superb recruiter, has been a receivers coach on Lane Kiffin’s Southern Cal staff for one year after spending two years serving as an assistant coach at Kentucky.
Martin’s decision to not return to his alma mater was first reported by TNSportsRadio. Reports also hit the Twitter circuit in short order.
The receivers position is the lone vacancy on Jones’ first staff. Jones, hired to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired on Nov. 18, is likely to name T.J. Weist to fill the job. Weist was on Jones’ Cincinnati staff in the same position.
Last week, Martin was asked by The Los Angeles Times’ Gary Klein about the chances of being contacted by Tennessee.
“That’s where I went to school, that’s my alma mater, that’s always home for me,” Martin said. “If the opportunity presented itself, at that time, we deal with it.”
If Martin had accepted Jones’ offer, he would have been the third receivers coach in three years to leave Kiffin’s staff.
According to The Times’ story, John Morton left after the 2010 season to join Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers staff. Ted Gilmore replaced Morton and he left after one season before taking a job with the Oakland Raiders. Martin replaced Gilmore.
While UT has not officially announced the hires for assistant coaching positions, Jones has decided to bring five assistants from Cincinnati – offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, offensive line coach Don Mahoney, tight ends coach Mark Elder, defensive coordinator John Jancek and defensive line coach Steve Stripling.
Jones has also kept Vols running back coach Jay Graham, the lone holdover from Dooley’s staff.
He is also adding two assistants from Auburn’s 2012 staff – secondary coach Willie Martinez and Tommy Thigpen, who could either coach in the secondary or linebackers. Martinez and Thigpen were let go after head coach Gene Chizik was fired.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)