Tennessee Finishes Staff By Hiring Kelsey Pope As WRs Coach

Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel has promoted from within, hiring offensive analyst Kelsey Pope to be his new wide receivers coach, Tennessee confirmed on Monday.

“Kelsey was a natural fit for this role and someone our players trust and have the utmost respect for,” Heupel said.

Pope, 29, worked closely with the wide receivers last season as two Volunteers caught 60 passes or more for the first time in history – Cedric Tillman with 64 for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns and Velus Jones Jr. with 62 for 807 yards and seven touchdowns.

“He has a clear understanding of what it takes for our receivers to be successful in this offense,” Heupel said. “He knows how to connect with people, and he’s going to be a tireless recruiter.”

Pope replaces wide receivers coach Kodi Burns, who left to become the wide receivers coach with the New Orleans Saints after one season with Tennessee. He previously was Auburn’s receivers coach in 2019 and ’20.

Pope was the pass game coordinator and receivers coach at Gardner-Webb in 2020 before joining Heupel’s new staff before last season. A native of Sylacauga, Alabama who played at Samford in Birmingham, Pope was receivers coach at Tennessee Tech in 2019 and an assistant receivers coach at Division II Shorter University in Georgia in 2018. His first coaching job was with the running backs at Ohio Northern in 2017.

He finished his career at Samford in 2013 as its all-time leading receiver with 250 catches.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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