Tennessee is set to hire Penn State co-defensive coordinator Tim Banks as the Volunteers’ defensive coordinator, sources told ESPN.
Banks, 49, has spent the past five seasons at Penn State, where he also coached the Nittany Lions’ safeties. Before that, he was the co-defensive coordinator at Illinois, the co-defensive coordinator at Cincinnati and the defensive coordinator at Central Michigan, which is his alma mater. Yahoo Sports first reported Monday that Tennessee was finalizing a deal to hire Banks.
This will be Banks’ first coaching stint in the SEC, although he was an assistant at Memphis in 2001 and 2002. While at Cincinnati, Banks was nominated for the Frank Broyles Award in 2011 as the top assistant coach in college football.
The hiring of Banks completes a long and winding search by new Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel to find his defensive coordinator. This past weekend, Tennessee was in extensive talks with Kansas City Chiefs linebackers coach Matt House, sources told ESPN, but House decided to stay in the NFL. Heupel also made a hard push for Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington and then Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers and, earlier in the process, reached out to USC defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and Louisville defensive coordinator Bryan Brown, among others.
The Vols still have to fill out the bulk of their defensive staff, but veteran defensive line coach Rodney Garner was hired last week. Garner has spent the last 30 years coaching in the SEC. This is his second stint at Tennessee.