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Tennessee Volunteers football hires Tim Banks as new defensive coordinator

Tennessee has hired Penn State co-defensive coordinator Tim Banks as its new defensive coordinator, the school announced Monday.

Banks, 49, had spent the past five seasons at Penn State, where he also coached the Nittany Lions' safeties. Before that, he was the co-defensive coordinator at Illinois, the co-defensive coordinator at Cincinnati and the defensive coordinator at Central Michigan, which is his alma mater.

This marks Banks' first coaching stint in the SEC, although he was an assistant at Memphis in 2001 and 2002. While at Cincinnati, Banks was nominated for the Frank Broyles Award in 2011 as the top assistant coach in college football.

The hiring of Banks completes a long and winding search by new Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel to find his defensive coordinator. This past weekend, Tennessee was in extensive talks with Kansas City Chiefs linebackers coach Matt House, sources told ESPN, but House decided to stay in the NFL. Heupel also made a hard push for Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington and then Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers and, earlier in the process, reached out to USC defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and Louisville defensive coordinator Bryan Brown, among others.

"Tim brings great energy, passion and experience to the Tennessee football family," Heupel said in a statement. "His defenses are known for their aggressive style, as well as their multiple coverages and fronts. He's coached in big games and has a proven track record of success on the field and in recruiting. I know our student-athletes are going to enjoy playing for him. We are fortunate to have someone with Tim's experience and caliber leading our defense."

The Vols still have to fill out the bulk of their defensive staff, but veteran defensive line coach Rodney Garner was hired last week. Garner has spent the past 30 years coaching in the SEC. This is his second stint at Tennessee.

Heupel also announced his offensive coaching staff on Monday, including three offensive assistants who are following him from the UCF staff.

Tennessee's offensive coordinator will be Alex Golesh, who was UCF's co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in 2020. He previously spent four seasons as Iowa State's tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator.

Joey Halzle was hired as quarterbacks coach, and Glen Elarbee as offensive line coach. Both held the same positions at UCF and also used to work with Heupel at Missouri.

Heupel's staff also includes Kodi Burns as wide receivers coach and Jerry Mack as running backs coach. Burns coached receivers at Auburn from 2016 to '20 and also was passing game coordinator from 2019 to '20. Mack was Rice's offensive coordinator from 2018 to '20.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.