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In a year ruled by plenty of manufactured fear and significant job losses caused by COVID-19, members of the Tennessee football staff just said no.
More specifically, eight members of the Volunteers coaching staff rejected pay cuts proposed by the school’s athletic department. The reason for that proposal? To help combat financial losses suffered by the program during the pandemic.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the following coaches declined pay cuts:
- Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney
- Defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley
- Offensive line coach Will Friend
- Quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke
- Inside linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer
- Outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton
- Tight ends coach Joe Osovet
- Strength and conditioning coach A.J. Artis
Meanwhile, two assistants did agree to the pay cut — wide receivers coach Tee Martin and running backs coach Jay Graham.
Head coach Jeremy Pruitt was not impacted. Pruitt was the only Tennessee head coach who didn’t have to agree to a salary reduction at the start of the school year.
“I am very grateful to all the athletic department employees and families that have taken a salary reduction and are showing support to our department during such a difficult time,” Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer said in a statement to Knox News. “They have helped prevent the need to eliminate positions as we continue to battle this pandemic and its medical and financial implications.
“Unfortunately, there were some contract employees who did not agree to a reduction for their own reasons. But I am especially appreciative of all our head coaches and staff members who are doing their part for the greater good of the department.”
Tennessee is expected to lose around $40 million during the fiscal year, mostly from losses generally avoided because of the football program, per the Knoxville News Sentinel.