Former Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie has been hired at the University of North Carolina after parting ways with the Vols in mid-February. It has not been announced what role Gillespie will play for the Tarheels, but he will presumably be the running backs coach.
Gillespie was hired by Butch Jones in February of 2013 to be Tennessee’s running backs coach. He held that role for the next five seasons, and he was also the Vols’ recruiting coordinator for a couple seasons under Jones’ reign. Gillespie was the only on-field coach that new head coach Jeremy Pruitt retained from the Butch Jones era when he was initially hired in December of 2017 after Jones’ firing, and Gillespie stayed on staff through National Signing Day in February of this year.
But shortly after that day, it was announced that Pruitt and Gillespie were parting ways. Pruitt has since hired former Heisman-winning quarterback Chris Weinke to replace Gillespie on staff.
Gillespie, a Mississippi native and former Florida Gator running back, was arguably one of Butch Jones’ best assistants at Tennessee. Coaching players such as Jalen Hurd, John Kelly, and the 2017 NFL Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara, Gillespie has made a name for himself in developing productive running backs with the Vols.
Gillespie will join former Tennessee linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen at UNC. Details of Gillespie’s contract have not been released but are expected to be announced in the coming days. Gillespie was named the assistant head coach of the Vols’ offense in 2016 and was set to make $510,000 per year under Pruitt.
The buyout that Tennessee owes Gillespie will be mitigated by his new contract with the Tarheels.