Tennessee is turning to a familiar face to become its new offensive coordinator. Jim Chaney will return to Rocky Top, leaving the same post at Georgia.
The university announced the hire officially on Wednesday.
Sources close to the situation told GoVols247.com's Patrick Brown on Tuesday night that Georgia's Jim Chaney was expected to be named the new offensive coordinator for the Vols.
According to a memorandum of understanding between Chaney and UT, he will be paid $4.8 million over three years. Chaney will make $1.5 million in 2019, which could make him the highest paid offensive assistant in the country. He made $950,000 at Georgia.
The highest paid offensive coordinator in 2018, Pep Hamilton at Michigan, made $1.45 million. Eight defensive coordinators made more than Hamilton in 2018.
Chaney's salary will increase by $100,000 in each season of his contract. He will also receive a monthly vehicle allowance and a $35,000 moving allowance, plus bonuses for bowl and championship game appearances.
RELATED: Column: Jim Chaney good fit for Vols
“I’m thrilled to announce Jim Chaney as our offensive coordinator,” Tennessee Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt said Wednesday. “Jim couldn’t be a better fit for our program at the University of Tennessee. His track record of success guiding offenses speaks for itself from his time at Purdue with Drew Brees to his time in the NFL and his success in the SEC at Georgia, Arkansas, and, of course, previously with the Vols."
Chaney, a 34-year veteran of the coaching ranks, returns to Rocky Top, where he served as the Vols’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2009-12, following impressive stints coordinating the offenses at Georgia (2016-18), Pitt (2015) and Arkansas (2013-14). He also has experience as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and as the offensive coordinator at Purdue (1997-2005) and Cal State Fullerton (1988-92).
“What most impresses me about Jim is his knowledge of the game and also the way he has adapted his offenses to his players’ strengths. He’s had years where he has guided one of the nation’s top passing offenses and years where his offenses have been near the top in rushing. He could coach every position on offense and is a true teacher of the game."
Chaney replaces Tyson Helton, who was named the head coach at Western Kentucky in December. The Missouri native helped Georgia lead the SEC in rushing in each of the last two seasons. The Bulldogs averaged 37.9 points per game in 2018, which ranked second in the SEC and 14th in the country.
“Jim has proven to be a great mentor for young men, and I’m excited to have him here at Tennessee," Pruitt said.
Chaney would owe UT a buyout equal to 60-percent of his remaining salary if he were to leave before February 1, 2020. That amount goes down to 50-percent if he leaves between that date and the end of his contract on January 31, 2022.
UT would owe Chaney his full remaining salary if it were to fire him before the end of the contract. That buyout would be mitigated by Chaney's salary at his next job.
Tennessee returns every starter on offense and opens the 2019 season on August 31st at home against Georgia State.