John  Chavis

John Chavis

Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers

Associate Head Coach

Defensive coordinator and associate head coach John Chavis instituted a simple but time-tested formula for his 2007 Tennessee defensive unit -- make the big plays when they count. It has been his philosophy since Day One.

The Vols defense rallied from humble beginnings to last season and wound up playing its best football down the stretch. Doing so with a superb mixture of youth and veterans, UT won the SEC Eastern Division title, performed admirably in the SEC Championship Game and then captured the Outback Bowl to finish off a 10-win season.

Key defensive efforts were the norm over the last half of 2007. Chavis' Vols completely stifled vaunted rushing attacks from Georgia and Arkansas to claim easy home victories. Four forced turnovers proved the difference in an overtime win against South Carolina. Key three-and-outs allowed Tennessee to rally against Vanderbilt for its largest home fourth-quarter comeback in school history. And one of the plays of the year, a twopoint conversion stop against Kentucky in the fourth overtime, sent Tennessee to the Georgia Dome as division champions.

UT then held LSU, the conference's top scoring unit, to just one offensive touchdown in a narrow loss for the SEC title. But Chavis' charges were impressive again at the Outback Bowl, when a late interception staved off a 21-17 victory for its fourth 10-win season in the last seven years.

In almost every occasion, the Vols made the big plays when they counted.

One of those making a difference on the field under Chavis' direction was linebacker Jerod Mayo, who led the SEC in tackles with 140 and was a consensus All-SEC first team selection. Mayo was selected 10th overall in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

Chavis was recognized in 2006 as the American Football Coaches Association's Division I-A Assistant Coach of the Year.

"It was a great honor to be selected," Chavis said. "Anytime you're recognized by your peers it's special, it's truly special. The people in this profession know what's happening on a daily basis and they see things other people don't see. They're in the same battles we are in, and to be recognized by your peers is the greatest compliment that can be paid.

"It also shows what we've been able to do here at Tennessee through the years. Obviously, we have a great staff to work with in Dan Brooks, Steve Caldwell and Larry Slade, and Coach Fulmer brings it all together. This award reflects what they've done as well as what I've done."

Chavis enters his 20th year as an assistant coach at Tennessee and 30th overall. He began his coaching career at Tennessee in 1979 as a graduate assistant, then moved to Alabama A&M from 1980-83 as a defensive line coach. Chavis moved to defensive coordinator at Alabama State from 1984-85, then returned to Alabama A&M as defensive coordinator in 1986 and built a unit that ranked No. 1 in total defense in Division II from 1987-88.

He returned to his alma mater, Tennessee, in 1989 and took on responsibilities of the defensive line and linebackers. Chavis was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1995 and has produced some of the stingiest defenses in college football. Since 1995, Chavis' defenses have held their opponents below a 100-yard rushing average in six seasons, and eight times during that span the Vols have ranked among the top three in the SEC in total defense.

Chavis, who originally hails from Dillon, S.C., is married to the former Diane Crisp. They are the parents of sons John and Jason.

Chavis, who originally hails from Dillon, S.C., is married to the former Diane Crisp. They are the parents of sons John and Jason.

Oct. 16, 1956, Dillon, S.C.

Dillon High School; University of Tennessee 1979

Middle Guard, Tennessee 1976-78

Tennessee 1979, Alabama A&M 1980-83, Alabama State 1984-85, Alabama A&M 1986-88, Tennessee 1989-present

Diane Crisp Chavis

John (Sept. 29, 1980), Jason (Dec. 1, 1982)

1979 Bluebonnet, 1990 Cotton, 1991 Sugar, 1992 Fiesta, 1993 Hall of Fame, 1994 Florida Citrus, 1994 Gator, 1996 Florida Citrus, 1997 Florida Citrus, 1998 Orange, 1999 Fiesta, 2000 Fiesta, 2001 Cotton, 2002 Florida Citrus, 2002 Peach, 2004 Peach, 2005 Cotton, 2007 Outback, 2008 Outback.



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