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Tennessee Confirms WRs Coach Hire; Other New Staffer

Photo Credit: UT Athletics

Tennessee officially named Kevin Beard as its new wide receivers coach on Wednesday afternoon, confirming multiple reports that came out on Tuesday.

Beard, who played at Miami and made a previous coaching stop as the wide receivers coach for the Hurricanes as well, will replace Zach Azzanni, who left to become the receivers coach for the Chicago Bears last week.

A Ft. Lauderdale native, Beard played receiver for the Hurricanes from 2001-03, helping the ‘Canes win a national title in 2001. He finished his collegiate career with 67 receptions for 920 yards and seven touchdowns before moving on to various professional football opportunities.

He began coaching at the high school level in 2010 and worked his way to a support staff opportunity with Miami in 2014. He was named Miami’s receivers coach in 2015 and worked with current Tennessee offensive coordinator Larry Scott on that staff. Scott, who started that season as Miami’s tight ends coach, ended the year as Miami’s interim head coach after Al Golden was fired. Miami finished second in the ACC in passing in 2015 with 277.1 yards per game.

Beard wasn’t retained by new Miami coach Mark Richt and worked as a quality control coach for Georgia in 2016. He was then named FIU’s wide receivers coach under new head coach Butch Davis in December of 2016.

He inherits a Tennessee group of receivers that lost former five-star recruit Preston Williams to transfer during the 2016 season and leading receiver Josh Malone to early entry into the NFL draft following the season. Rising junior Jauan Jennings is Tennessee’s leading receiver with 40 catches for 580 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. No other receiver had more than 15 catches last season.

Beard is the fifth new full-time assistant coach for the Vols heading into 2017, joining quarterbacks coach Mike Canales, offensive line coach Walt Wells, defensive line coach Brady Hoke and defensive backs coach Charlton Warren. Scott also transitioned from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator.

Tennessee also confirmed the staff addition of Tony Sorrentino, who served as the assistant receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in recent year. Sorrentino will serve as an offensive quality control coach for the Vols.

“We are really excited about the additions of Coach Beard and Coach Sorrentino,” said Jones. “Coach Beard is a young, energetic football coach that has championship pedigree from his college playing days. He will do a great job working with our receivers and be a huge asset on the recruiting trail. Coach Sorrentino comes to Knoxville after the last four years working with receivers such as Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s going to bring a high-level of expertise to our entire coaching staff.”

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