Jan. 12, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - University of Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley announced Thursday that the Vols have hired Sam Pittman as offensive line coach. Pittman, who has spent the last five years at the University of North Carolina staff from 2007-11 in charge of the offensive line, was named associate head coach before the 2011 season.
"Sam has an excellent reputation and track record as an offensive line coach and as a recruiter," said Dooley. "Sam brings a considerable amount to our program as a coach and a person, and we are excited that he is joining our staff."
Pittman fills the position on the Tennessee staff formerly held by Harry Hiestand, who resigned to pursue other coaching opportunities.
The 2011 North Carolina team averaged 6.3 yards per play in the regular season, the second-best mark in the ACC. The UNC offensive line helped redshirt freshman running back Giovani Bernard to 101.8 yards per game, a mark that led all NCAA freshmen and included seven 100-yard rushing games. Bernard's 14 rushing touchdowns ranked second nationally among freshmen.
Additionally, sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner led the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing efficiency, a category in which UNC led the conference as a team as well. The Tar Heels ranked fifth in the ACC in total offense at 396.6 while earning a berth in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.
Named one of the nation's top 25 recruiters by ESPN.COM, Pittman has signed the No. 2-rated offensive tackle in each of the last two years, Alex Hurst in 2010 and Kiaro Holt in 2011. Hurst, who started all 12 games at left tackle for UNC as a sophomore during the 2011 season, joined teammate and left guard Jonathan Cooper as the first Tar Heel tandem to earn All-ACC lineman honors since 1993.
Pittman also worked to develop offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds, who earned second team All-ACC honors in 2008 and was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
Pittman joined the Tar Heels after four seasons as the offensive line coach at Northern Illinois from 2003-06, including three seasons as assistant head coach from 2004-06. During that time frame, the Huskies produced a pair of standout rushers in Garrett Wolfe and Michael Turner. Wolfe led the nation in rushing with 1,928 yards, while Turner, who has earned two Pro Bowl selections with the Atlanta Falcons and has led the NFC in rushing in each of the last two seasons, finished second in the nation as a senior at Northern Illinois in 2003 with 1,648 yards.
His first stint as offensive line coach for Northern Illinois was for two years, from 1994-95. Pittman also previously coached the offensive linemen at Kansas (2001), Missouri (2000), Western Michigan (1999), and Oklahoma (1997-98). He coached offensive tackles and tight ends at Cincinnati at 1996.
Before coaching at NIU, Pittman spent two seasons as the head coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College from 1992-93 after serving as the school's offensive line coach in 1991. He was a head coach in the high school ranks at Trenton (Mo.) High School from 1989-90 and at Princeton (Mo.) High School from 1987-88. He began his coaching career with a two-year stint as a student assistant at Pittsburg State from 1984-85, followed by one season as an assistant coach at Beggs (Okla.) High School.
Pittman, a graduate of Pittsburg State (Kan.), played defensive end at the school and was inducted into the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. He is married to the former Jamie Conrad of Pittsburg, Kan.
SAM PITTMAN COACHING CAREER
2007-11 » North Carolina, Offensive Line/Associate Head Coach (2011)
2003-06 » Northern Illinois, Assistant Head Coach (2004-06)/Offensive Line
2001 » Kansas, Offensive Line
2000 » Missouri, Offensive Line
1999 » Western Michigan, Offensive Line
1997-98 » Oklahoma, Offensive Line
1996 » Cincinnati, Offensive Tackles/Tight Ends
1994-95 » Northern Illinois, Offensive Line
1992-93 » Hutchinson (Kan.) CC, Head Coach
1991 » Hutchinson (Kan.), Offensive Line
1989-90 » Trenton (Mo.) High School, Head Coach
1987-88 » Princeton (Mo.) High School, Head Coach
1986 » Beggs (Okla.) High School, Assistant Coach
1984-85 » Pittsburg State, Student Coach