Shortly after Tennessee’s 38-13 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday, it was reported that UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt might be moving on from offensive coordinator Tyson Helton after just one year on staff. That report, however, was refuted on Sunday.
Though it looks like Helton may not be fired, now his name is being linked to a head coaching position at a school he’s coached at previously.
According to Chris Low and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, Tyson Helton is a “top candidate” for the vacant head coaching position at Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers fired their head coach, Mike Sanford, on Sunday after only his second season as their head coach. And according to ESPN, Helton is being linked to the job.
Helton served as Western Kentucky’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Jeff Brohm, who is now the head coach at Purdue, was Western Kentucky’s head coach during those two seasons. During his time under Brohm, Helton helped the Hilltoppers’ offense rank in the top 10 nationally in total offense both years.
Jeremy Pruitt hired Helton last offseason to serve as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Helton was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at USC when Pruitt elected to bring him in as OC for the Vols.
Helton signed a three-year, $1.2 million annual contract to be the Vols’ offensive coordinator.
In his first season as UT’s play-caller, Tennessee’s offense was boom-or-bust for most of the season. The Vols did nearly double the amount of plays that went for 30 or more yards from last year to this year (18 in 2017 compared to 30 in 2018), but UT finished last in the conference in total offense for the second straight year. The Vols were 13th in the SEC in points scored per game as well.
Tyson Helton has never been a head coach at the collegiate level, though his brother, Clay Helton, is currently the head coach at USC and was when Tyson was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach there.