Tenuta joins Wolfpack coaching staff

Per Media Relations…

NC State head football coach Tom O’Brien has announced that Jon Tenuta has joined the Wolfpack staff and will serve as linebackers coach, replacing Andy McCollum, who took another job on Tuesday.  Tenuta brings 29 years of experience as a coach and 16 as a defensive coordinator, most recently at Notre Dame.

“We lost a heckuva football coach and a great person in Andy McCollum,” said O’Brien on Thursday.  “He will be missed by our staff and our players and we wish him the best.  But we have been very fortunate to be able to hire someone with the experience and wealth of knowledge that Jon Tenuta brings to our staff.“

Tenuta’s stints as defensive coordinator for 16 years at seven different schools: Notre Dame (2009), Georgia Tech  (2002-07), North Carolina (2001), Ohio State (2000), SMU (1990-94), Kansas State (1988) and Marshall (1987).

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work for Coach O’Brien,” said Tenuta. “I’m also happy to be back in the ACC, especially with a program like NC State.”

Tenuta has been at Notre Dame for the past two seasons, serving as the Fighting Irish’s assistant head coach for defense both years, defensive coordinator last season and coaching the linebackers in 2008 and 2009.  In his first year at Notre Dame, he helped the Irish defense allow 61.27 fewer rushing yards per game and improve its ranking from 96th nationally in ‘07 to 45th in ‘08.  The Irish scoring defense also improved in ‘08, allowing 6.6 points less per game than in ‘07, the 22nd-best improvement in the nation.

Tenuta helped guide a defense that ranked in the top 50 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense  and rush defense * the first time that had happened at Notre Dame since 2002. Prior to his stint at Notre Dame, Tenuta spent six seasons as the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, where 18 Yellow Jacket defenders earned first- or second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition, and 18 players from his first four units were either drafted or signed NFL free-agent contracts.

In his last five seasons at Georgia Tech, Tenuta’s defense ranked in the top 30 nationally in total defense, scoring  defense and rushing defense, ncluding 20th or better against the run all five years. In 2001, Tenuta guided the ACC’s top-rated defense statistically at North Carolina. Tar Heel defensive end Julius  Peppers and defensive tackle Ryan Sims were two of the top three defensive players selected in the 2002 NFL draft.

From 1996-2000, Tenuta coached defensive backs at Ohio State, serving
as defensive coordinator in 2000.  He  helped develop several Ohio State
defensive backs into NFL players, including first-round draft picks Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Ahmed Plummer and Nate Clements. Ohio State’s pass defense was consistently ranked among the nation’s best during this span.

The Columbus, Ohio, native also coached at Oklahoma (defensive backs,
1995); SMU (defensive coordinator/linebackers/defensive backs, 1990-94);
Kansas State (defensive coordinator, 1988); Marshall (defensive
coordinator/defensive backs, 1986-87); and Vanderbilt (defensive backs,

Tenuta began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Virginia
(1981-82) and Maryland (1983).

A 1982 graduate of Virginia, Tenuta was a three-year letterman at defensive back for the Cavaliers and earned the  team’s John Acree Memorial Football Trophy and Kevin Bowie Award.

Born Feb. 25, 1957, Tenuta is married to the former Dori Gamble, who played basketbal for Debbie Ryan at Virginia.  They are the parents of three sons: Zach , who plays tight end at Marshall, Matt (16) and Luke

Year    School  Position
1981-82 Virginia        Graduate Assistant
1983    Maryland        Graduate Assistant
1984-85 Vanderbilt      Defensive Backs
1986    Marshall        Defensive Backs
1987    Marshall        Defensive Coordinator
1988    Kansas State    Defensive Coordinator
1989    SMU     Defensive Backs
1990    SMU     Defensive Coordinators/Linebackers
1991-94 SMU     Defensive Coordinator
1995    Oklahoma        Defensive Backs
1996-99 Ohio State      Defensive Backs
2000    Ohio State      Defensive Coordinator
2001    North Carolina  Defensive Coordinator
2002    Georgia Tech    Defensive Coordinator
2003-07 Georgia Tech    Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2008    Notre Dame      Asst. Head Coach (defense)/Linebackers
2009    Notre Dame      Asst Head Coach (defense)/Defensive

'10 Football ACC & Other College Football Tom O'Brien

46 Responses to Tenuta joins Wolfpack coaching staff

  1. winstonwolf1 02/11/2010 at 3:27 PM #

    Is it just me, or is this extremely good news? Perhaps the best we’ve had for anything relating to our sports programs since…?

  2. tjfoose2 02/11/2010 at 3:35 PM #

    It is GREAT news… so much so, that I am shocked. It’s almost like we finally did something right!

  3. rtpack24 02/11/2010 at 3:37 PM #

    This is a great hire. Plain and simple our football staff just got alot stronger.

  4. packplantpath 02/11/2010 at 3:39 PM #

    HOLY CRAP!!!!!

    I’m speakless. Well, lets start righting the ship that is wolfpack football.

    So, for those who understand these kinds of things. How quickly do you think he can make an impact?

  5. section2chuck 02/11/2010 at 3:40 PM #

    This is good, Tenuta likes a blitzing style of play..Hmmm you think he and Archer will disagree a few time this season? I think Archer is on the way out, we just dont know it yet.

  6. old13 02/11/2010 at 3:42 PM #

    Who now coordinates recruiting?

  7. packbackr04 02/11/2010 at 3:44 PM #

    this is terrific news. hopefully, tenuta will replace Archer as DC next year.

  8. choppack1 02/11/2010 at 3:45 PM #

    I think it’s good news.

    I find it extremely interesting that the last 3 coaches Tenuta worked for were NFL guys (Bunting, Gailey and Weiss). His work in the ACC at Tech and UNC was fantastic…(I’m pretty sure that when he was DC at UNC that was our lowest point total ever w/ Rivers at qb.)

    If you’re looking for something to complain about – someone will likely have to pick up the slack w/ recruiting – supposedly, he’s not a big fan of it – and if you listen to UNC people, they believe his attitude may have cost them some prospects. Also, he struggled at Notre Dame.

    OTOH – he managed to hold at Tech for a long time – and their D didn’t seem to lack talent OR production.

    Overall though – I see this as a great hire for our program. Even if you believe the recruiting stories, his results in the ACC are impressive.

  9. Alpha Wolf 02/11/2010 at 3:46 PM #

    Great tweet:

    RT @ArmstrongWTVD: @joeovies Tenuta working under Archer. That’s ike me hiring Pacquiao as a sparring partner.

  10. ryno84 02/11/2010 at 3:48 PM #

    This to me is a very good thing. Hopefully it will give TOB some wiggle room if he were to let Archer go.

  11. tjfoose2 02/11/2010 at 3:49 PM #

    I’m hoping this is just a prelude of things to come… and Tenuta will be doing a lot more than coaching LB’s.

  12. tjfoose2 02/11/2010 at 3:49 PM #

    … officially or unofficially.

  13. tjfoose2 02/11/2010 at 3:55 PM #

    “So, for those who understand these kinds of things. How quickly do you think he can make an impact?”

    Considering the poor play of our defense, and its general disarray, he will make an immediate impact, ie, spring ball next month. Seriously.

    Aside from his coaching, he brings credibility and, dare I pull in a term from recent political vernacular, gravitas.

  14. Par Shooter 02/11/2010 at 3:56 PM #

    Definitely a great hire even though our recruiting, specifically in GA, will likely take a hit. Hopefully we can replace Archer with a younger, more dynamic recruiter in the near future to balance that out and elevate Tenuta to DC.

  15. tjfoose2 02/11/2010 at 3:58 PM #

    “Also, he struggled at Notre Dame.”

    Anyone would have struggled at ND during his tenure. No speed on defense, limited options.

  16. anti-smurf 02/11/2010 at 4:02 PM #

    Great hire for State. I think this gives TOB room should things go south next season and he needs to make a change. ARcher should feel some pressure.

    Regarding Tenuta’s stint at ND. Also keep in mind the team had 3 different coordinators and went from a 4-3 to a 3-4 back to a 4-3 in the years he was there. That makes it tough on anyone.

  17. VaWolf82 02/11/2010 at 4:05 PM #

    Anyone would have struggled at ND during his tenure. No speed on defense, limited options.

    Then he won’t be shocked by what he sees in spring practice.

  18. SuperStuff 02/11/2010 at 4:17 PM #

    Jon Tenuta is an amazing pick-up for us. I wanted him as our DC so I’m tickled he’s going to be on our staff.

  19. packbackr04 02/11/2010 at 4:26 PM #

    hopefully he will be doing MUCH more than coaching linebackers

  20. choppack1 02/11/2010 at 4:40 PM #

    “So, for those who understand these kinds of things. How quickly do you think he can make an impact?”

    That’s the $1 million question isn’t it? We could improve a great deal and still be a “bad” defense.

    However, if Tenuta can improve our tackling and our 3rd down effectiveness – which, I believe is possible w/ the talent that we return – we’ll see significant improvement. Mind you, we still won’t be a great or even a good defense – but hopefully, we won’t be the sieve we were this year.

  21. wolfbuff 02/11/2010 at 4:47 PM #

    Is it April Fool’s Day already?

  22. BoKnowsNCS71 02/11/2010 at 4:51 PM #

    This is good news like Norm Chow news back when Chuck first came. The man is a genius at defense.

  23. GAWolf 02/11/2010 at 4:57 PM #

    The Archer phase out with dignity in tact should begin immediately….

  24. tvp1 02/11/2010 at 4:59 PM #

    stellar hire.

    ND’s defense was bad last year, but I think that’s the only bad D he’s had in his years as a DC, there are some extenuating circumstances. I think he was only co-DC, actually.

  25. packpowerfan 02/11/2010 at 5:02 PM #

    Who made this hire, and why aren’t they AD?

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