Tennessee announced the hiring of a new defensive backs coach on Monday morning.
Charlton Warren, who has been the DBs coach at North Carolina, Nebraska and Air Force, has agreed to terms with the Vols, the team confirmed via a press release.
“We would like to welcome Coach Warren, his wife, Jocelyn, and their three children to the Tennessee family,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said. “Coach Warren is a passionate, knowledgeable and driven football coach that has an outstanding history of developing defensive backs on the collegiate level. He also has a great reputation as one of the top recruiters in the country with strong ties to our recruiting areas. We feel extremely fortunate to add someone of his caliber to our coaching staff and our defensive meeting room.”
Warren, who also served as either the co-defensive coordinator or defensive coordinator at Air Force, his alma mater, from 2008-13, brings an impressive resume to Knoxville.
Under his guidance, North Carolina led the ACC in pass defense in 2016, giving up just 180.8 yards per game. The prior season, he was part of a UNC staff that led the most improved defense in the nation, and only gave up 186 yards per game through the air. During his one season at Nebraska (2014), the Cornhuskers were fifth in the nation in pass defense efficiency. He was part of multiple effective defenses at the Air Force Academy as well, including multiple units that were top five in the nation in pass defense under his watch.
Warren, an Atlanta native, is also known for his recruiting ties in the Southeast region and has been listed as a top-100 recruiter nationally at multiple times by rankings put out by 247Sports. Warren made $314,650 at North Carolina in 2016, according to USA Today’s salary database. His agreed-upon deal at Tennessee is for two years with an annual salary of $450,000, a UT spokesman confirmed to RTI. It is expected to be signed later in the week.
The release from Tennessee also confirmed that Willie Martinez, who has been on Jones’ staff since he came to Tennessee before the 2013 season, won’t be retained.
“I have known Willie Martinez for a long time and have the utmost respect for him as a coach and a person,” Jone said. “I want to thank him for all his contributions to the Tennessee program over the past four seasons. Making changes on your staff is never easy, but we feel it’s necessary as we move forward as a program.”
After finishing fourth in the SEC in pass defense in 2014, the Vols have been heading the wrong direction in that area, finishing eighth in the league in 2015 and falling to 10th (230.7 ypg) in 2016.
Tennessee still has one vacant spot on the offensive side of the ball after the departure of offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, who took the same position at Indiana earlier this month. Offensive line coach Don Mahoney and defensive line coach Steve Stripling also have expiring contracts, though there’s been no official indication given on their futures as of Monday morning.