Kodi Burns Posts Goodbye Message to Tennessee

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    Tennessee wide receivers coach Kodi Burns is leaving Knoxville for the same position with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Burns, who was on Josh Heupel’s introductory staff for one year, made the announcement himself of Monday evening.

    “I am grateful to Coach Heupel, our players and all of Vol Nation for the incredible experience this past year at Tennessee,” Burns said in a Twitter post on Monday. “We established a strong foundation, set school offensive records and built relationships that will last a lifetime. As I embark on a dream of coaching in the NFL, I can’t wait to see the continued growth of the program under Coach Heupel. Tennessee football is in great hands, and the program’s best days are ahead. Thank you Vol Nation, KODI BURNS.”

    After winning a National Championship as a player with Auburn, Burns began his coaching career in 2012 as a graduate assistant at Arkansas State. During his first six years as a coach, though, Burns was constantly on the move. After Arkansas State, Burns then became a graduate assistant at Auburn in 2013, which turned into a job with Samford as the running backs coach in 2014. One year later, in 2015, Burns would then transition to Middle Tennessee to take over as the wide receivers coach, followed by a job the very next season with Arizona State as the running backs coach. Finally, Burns once again found his home at Auburn, serving as the Tigers’ co-offensive coordinator from 2016 to 2020.

    Tennessee Football: Kodi Burns’ Lone Year Was Vital to Tennessee’s Early Success

    In 2021, Burns joined the first Tennessee staff for new head coach Josh Heupel. Burns was joining a staff that had a lot of pieces together prior at UCF but fit right into the offense that Heupel and offensive coordinator Alex Golesh wanted to run.

    Prior to the news on Monday, Tennessee had been the only team in the SEC to retain their entire assistant coaching staff from the previous year. While Burns’ departure is no disastrous news, it does put Tennessee in an unexpected position to make a hire beneficial for the future. With the entirety of the rest of the staff still in place, Heupel will look to find someone who can slot right into what Tennessee is trying to do with their scheme.

    Tennessee Coaching Staff – 2022
    • Head Coach: Josh Heupel
    • Defensive Coordinator: Tim Banks
    • Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends: Alex Golesh
    • Wide Receivers: ???
    • Outside LBs/Special Teams Coordinator: Mike Ekeler
    • Offensive Line: Glen Elarbee
    • Defensive Line: Rodney Garner
    • Quarterbacks: Joey Halzle
    • Linebackers: Brian Jean-Mary
    • Running Backs: Jerry Mack
    • Secondary: Willie Martinez

    In his lone year at Tennessee, Burns was a critical piece in getting the Tennessee offense where it needed to be. Burns helped turn Cedric Tillman into a household SEC name, Velus Jones Jr into a legitimate NFL Draft prospect, and JaVonta Payton become one of the most dangerous long-threats in all of college football.

    Now, Burns will get to meet a different side of the Tennessee program: the VFLs in the NFL. When Burns starts work in New Orleans, he will be working with former Tennessee receiver Marquez Callaway and former Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara as the Saints look to reload for the 2022-2023 season.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.