Report: Tee Martin Turns Down Lane Kiffin

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    Photo by Nathanael Rutherford/RTI

    Tennessee has already experienced one staff change since the end of their 23-22 victory over Indiana in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, but head coach Jeremy Pruitt was able to retain one of his prized assistants to start this week.

    According to a report from long-time Knoxville reporter Jimmy Hyams, Tennessee wide receivers coach Tee Martin has turned down new Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin’s offer to become an offensive coordinator for the Rebels and will stay on staff at UT.

    Martin is currently the Vols’ assistant head coach, passing game coordinator, and wide receivers coach. Pruitt brought Martin on to Tennessee’s staff following the 2018 season and following Martin’s departure from USC, where he had served as an offensive coordinator and receivers coach from 2016-18.

    As a player, Martin, of course, helped lead the Vols to a 13-0 record and a national championship in the 1998 season as UT’s quarterback. Martin ended his playing career at Tennessee with a 22-3 record as a starting quarterback, and his .880 winning percentage is the best in school history.

    Tennessee’s receivers took a big step forward under Martin in his first year on staff. Jauan Jennings enjoyed his best year as a Vol in his final season, catching 59 passes for 969 yards and eight touchdowns. Jennings’ 969 yards are the most by a Vol receiver since Josh Malone totaled 972 in 2016. Marquez Callaway was a home run threat, hauling in 30 receptions for 635 yards and six touchdowns. Josh Palmer set a career-high in receptions with 34 and was only a few yards shy of his career-high there as well, finishing with 457 yards and a touchdown.

    On the recruiting front, the Vols may not have landed some of the big, five-star pass catchers they were in on, but Martin was key in the Vols landing four-star speedsters Jimmy Calloway and Jalin Hyatt in the 2020 cycle, and his ties to the state of Alabama have also been huge for Tennessee.

    Martin is currently making $450,000 annually with the Vols according to the USA Today coaches salary database. Martin is still receiving buyout money from USC for being terminated from his contract with the Trojans before the contract ran out.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.