Virginia's new assistant football coaches have strong Cavalier ties

With the official announcement Thursday of the addition of Tom O'Brien, Jon Tenuta, Marques Hagans and Jeff Banks as full-time assistant football coaches, Virginia added 86 combined seasons of coaching experience, and re-introduced some familiar faces from its football extended family.

O'Brien, who was fired in November after six seasons as North Carolina State's coach, was the most high profile addition. O'Brien will be U.Va.'s associate head coach for offense and tight ends coach, while Tenuta will be the associate head coach for defense and defensive coordinator, Hagans will be promoted to wide receivers coach and Banks will be the special teams coordinator and running backs coach.

O'Brien had a 15-season stint as an assistant coach under former U.Va. coach George Welsh. Tenuta and Hagans, a Hampton High graduate, are U.Va. alums and former graduate assistant coaches in Charlottesville.

"These four coaches are a dynamic group who will be great teachers and instructors for our student-athletes, while maintaining the values we have set for our team," said U.Va. coach Mike London in a statement released Thursday by the athletic department. "Three of them have strong ties to Virginia, and they have first-hand knowledge and experiences of what makes our university a special place. This group will complement our current staff well and help our football program reach its goals."

U.Va. finished 4-8 this season. It fired defensive coordinator Jim Reid, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Jeff Hanson, running backs coach Mike Faragalli and tight ends coach Shawn Moore at the end of the season.

After serving as a head coach at N.C. State and Boston College for the past 16 years, O'Brien, 64, returns to U.Va. to begin his 39th season in coaching. He was U.Va.'s guards and centers coach from 1982-'91 before becoming U.Va.'s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from '91-96.

O'Brien was the coach at BC from 1997-2006. London worked under O'Brien from '97-2000 as BC's defensive line coach.

"I have so much respect for him because of the consistent success he's experienced, while never sacrificing his beliefs and philosophies," London said in the release. "With Tom's experience as a head coach in the ACC and Big East for 16 seasons, I am looking forward to his insights and I'm excited that he will be able to share his knowledge with our coaches and players. He is someone I trust and I value his opinions and evaluations."

Tenuta, 55, will open his 33rd season of coaching by getting back to U.Va. He also was the associate head coach for defense for the last three seasons at N.C. State under O'Brien. Tenuta, who has been a defensive coordinator in 16 of 32 seasons as a coach and who is known for an aggressive blitzing style, graduated in '82 from U.Va. after playing for three seasons in the Cavaliers' secondary.

"It's no secret that Jon brings an aggressive approach to the defensive side of the ball and I think our players will be excited to adopt that philosophy," said London in the statement. "Jon has a great track record of improving defenses."

Hagans, 30, has been promoted after serving as a graduate assistant for the last two seasons. He worked with tight ends in 2011 and receivers this season. He was U.Va.'s starting quarterback in '04 and '05, and also played receiver and returned punts in his college career. Bill Lazor, who is still U.Va.'s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was also the Cavaliers' wide receiver coach last season.

Banks arrives at U.Va. after working the last nine seasons at Texas-El Paso under coach Mike Price as the Miners' special-teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator and running backs and punters coach. Banks, who graduated from Washington State in '98 after punting for two seasons for the Cougars, was also an assistant coach from 2001-03 at Idaho State.

In addition to bringing O'Brien, Tenuta, Hagans and Banks into the fold, U.Va. also announced cornerbacks coach Chip West, a Kecoughtan High graduate, will add the recruiting coordinator role.

O'Brien has been signed to a two-year contract worth $450,000 annually. He's getting a $150,000 signing bonus, and he'll be eligible for a $300,000 bonus at the end of two years.

Before working out the final details of his return to U.Va., he had to deal with a two-year non-compete clause from his coaching tenure at N.C. State. He was owed about $1.2 million from N.C. State as part of his buyout, but in an agreement with N.C. State to dissolve the non-compete clause, O'Brien accepted just $200,000.

Tenuta has been signed to a five-year contract at U.Va. worth $500,000 annually. Banks will earn $200,000 annually during his two-year deal, while Hagans will earn $150,000 annually during his two-year contract.

Under O'Brien, N.C. State finished 7-5 in the regular season this fall. It was 20th in the nation in passing offense (304 yards per game), 50th in total offense (420.9 yards per game), 67th in scoring offense (28.42 points per game) and 105th in rushing offense (116.9 yards per game).

Tenuta stayed on with N.C. State through its 38-24 loss Jan. 1 to Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl. N.C. State was 43rd in the nation in scoring defense (24.58 points per game) this season, and 77th in total defense (419. 7 yards per game).

U.Va. was 29th in the nation in total defense (353.3 yards per game) this season, and 65th in total offense (396.5 yards per game). It was 68th in scoring defense (28.9 points per game) and 93rd in scoring offense (22.8 points per game).

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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