Chris Weinke hired by Tennessee to coach running backs

Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt has hired former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Chris Weinke to coach the Vols' running backs, the school announced Wednesday.

Pruitt and Weinke worked together last season at Alabama and were a part of the Crimson Tide's 2017 national championship staff, Pruitt as the defensive coordinator and Weinke as an offensive analyst. Prior to his stint at Alabama, Weinke was the quarterbacks coach for the NFL's Rams during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Weinke, 45, played at Florida State, where he won the 2000 Heisman Trophy. The year before he led the Seminoles to a 12-0 record and the BCS national championship. He still holds FSU career records for passing yards (9,839) and touchdown passes (79).

Weinke also spent seven years in the NFL as a quarterback with the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.

"I'm excited to have Chris Weinke on our staff to coach running backs," Pruitt said in a news release. "He has played the game at the highest level, and what he has accomplished on the field speaks for itself. He is also an outstanding coach and teacher of the game, coaching in the NFL, in college this past season and at the high school level. He has a great eye for talent and knows the game on the offensive side of the ball as well as anybody I've been around. He will be a great fit for our Tennessee program."

Weinke spent five years as the program director at IMG Academy, where he worked with some of the nation's top high school football players and trained several NFL players, including Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. Weinke compiled a 19-2 record as the head coach and offensive coordinator of IMG's high school program in 2013 and 2014.

Weinke received a two-year deal and will earn $350,000 annually. He replaces Robert Gillespie, who was the lone holdover from the Butch Jones staff. Tennessee and Gillespie parted ways last week.