Vols Hire Azzanni As Wide Receivers Coach

Sunday, December 16, 2012

KNOXVILLE -- University of Tennessee head coach Butch Jones announced today that Zach Azzanni has been named wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator for the Vols. Azzanni joins Tennessee from the University of Wisconsin, where he served as the wide receivers coach for the Big 10 champion Badgers this year.

Azzanni also has coached at Western Kentucky in 2011 and served on Urban Meyer’s staff at Florida in 2010, also coaching for the Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl following the 2009 season.

Azzanni coached at Central Michigan from 2007-09 under Jones, and in 2009, he was named the wide receivers coach of the year by footballscoop.com. He also served under Meyer at Bowling Green from 2001-02.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Coach Azzanni and his family into the Tennessee Football family and to what is historically known as Wide Receiver U,” said Jones. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and a proven track record of developing receivers into reaching their full potential on and off the field. As a recruiter, his relentless approach and diligence will pay dividends for us as we work to attract the highest caliber of student-athlete here to the University of Tennessee.”

The following contains more biographical information on Zach Azzanni:

· Has been a part of six conference championship teams, and the Rose Bowl will be the seventh bowl game and second BCS game in which he has coached (also the Sugar Bowl, following the 2009 season).

· Spent last season as the wide receivers coach at Wisconsin in 2012, coaching Jared Abbrederis to First Team All-Big Ten honors. Abbrederis finished the season as the team’s leading receiver, with 46 catches for 793 yards and five TDs.

· Served as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for Western Kentucky for a single season in 2011. With Azzanni directing the offense, WKU featured the nation's No. 2 rusher in 2011, Bobby Rainey (141.3 rushing yards per game, 1,695 total yards and 13 touchdowns). WKU tight end Jack Doyle was also the top receiving tight end in the Sun Belt and finished fifth among tight ends in the country in receiving yards.

· Was hired by Urban Meyer at Florida following the 2009 regular season and coached in the Gators' appearance in the 2010 Sugar Bowl. In that game, Tim Tebow ended his career with a personal-best 482 passing yards. He spent the 2010 season at Florida, where he coached the wide receivers and served as the passing game coordinator. UF defeated Penn State in the Outback Bowl that season.

· Spent three seasons (2007-09) as the assistant head coach and receivers coach at his alma mater, Central Michigan. His 2009 wide receiver unit was one of the most prolific in college football, as Bryan Anderson established an NCAA mark with a catch in 53 consecutive games.

· His teammate, Antonio Brown had a streak of 40 consecutive games with a catch. Anderson and Brown combined for 49 career touchdown receptions, which at the time tied them for the top active duo in the country for combined touchdown receptions.

· Anderson recorded more than 3,500 yards receiving in his career and Brown eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the second time while also surpassing the 3,000-yard receiving mark for his career.

· Anderson and Brown signed NFL contracts, with Brown starting for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

· Brown was named the Steelers' team MVP in 2011 and earned a Pro Bowl selection after becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 yards receiving (1,108) and at least 1,000 return yards (1,062) in the same season.

· Spent 2001-06 at Bowling Green, where he began as a graduate assistant for the offense. He was hired full-time as the wide receivers coach before the 2003 season. His Bowling Green receivers broke nearly every school receiving record, and Charles Sharon became the school's all-time leader in receptions (232), receiving yards (3,450) and touchdown catches (34). In 2004, he coached a group that produced four receivers with 1,000 yards receiving.

· Five of his receivers at Bowling Green signed professional contracts.

· Azzanni's 2004 receiving corps at Bowling Green was ranked third-best in the nation by Athlon Sports.

· His 2009 group of receivers was ranked ninth in the nation by the same publication and helped him to be named college football's wide receivers coach of the year by footballscoop.com.

· He graduated with a degree in Sports Management in 1999 from Central Michigan, playing wide receiver for the Chippewas from 1994-98. Azzanni and his wife, Julia, have two daughters: Ava and Lyla.

Azzanni Coaching Career

2012 Wisconsin Wide Receivers

2011 Western Kentucky Offensive Coordinator / Wide Receivers

2010 Florida Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coordinator

2007-09 Central Michigan Assistant Head Coach / Wide Receivers

2003-06 Bowling Green Wide Receivers

2001-02 Bowling Green Graduate Assistant, Offense

1999-00 Valparaiso Wide Receivers

(E-mail Stan Crawley at wscrawley@earthlink.net)

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