Smith won't be back with the Vols

Chuck Smith was one of Derek Dooley's most popular hires last year among the fans.

But after just one season, Smith is no longer a part of the Tennessee staff, as Dooley announced Sunday night that the Vols and Smith had mutually agreed to part ways.

Smith was an All-SEC defensive lineman at Tennessee in 1991 and played nine seasons in the NFL. He and Dooley go back to their high school days when they were teammates at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Ga.

"I am grateful for the personal investment, hard work and passion that Chuck contributed to our program this past year,” Dooley said in a release. “He is a dear friend to me, and more importantly, will always be a part of the Tennessee family.”

Smith had taught and trained top defensive linemen as part of his Defensive Line Inc. business before coming to Tennessee for his first collegiate assistant job. He'd served as a pass-rushing consultant to Rex Ryan with the New York Jets the year before and had drawn rave reviews from the defensive linemen he'd tutored.

But there were rumblings before the 2010 season was complete that Smith might not be back for a second season, and it's also worth noting that Smith was more Dooley's hire and not defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox's hire. Wilcox was in play for the Texas defensive coordinator's job back in January, but chose to stay at Tennessee.

With Smith gone, Dooley announced that graduate assistant Peter Sirmon would be promoted to linebackers coach. Lance Thompson will shift over from linebackers to coaching the defensive line.

Sirmon worked with the Vols' secondary last season and played seven seasons in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans. He and Wilcox have been close friends since their playing days together at Oregon, and Wilcox is the one who brought Sirmon to Tennessee from Oregon, where he also was a graduate assistant.