Former Vols Martin, Graham accept pay cut, other football assistants decline

Orange and White Nation

Tee Martin, left, and Jay Graham, right

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Seven of the University of Tennessee’s nine on-field football assistant coaches and the team’s strength and conditioning coach are declining to take a pay reduction as part of the athletic department’s tiered salary plan.

Only two football assistant coaches, former Vol football players Tee Martin and Jay Graham, agreed to the pay cuts.

The Knoxville News Sentinel first reported and WATE 6 On Your Side confirmed the news Friday morning.

The reduction plan, announced in October, was put in place to mitigate the budgetary impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assistant coaches that declined to take a pay cut include:

  • Defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley
  • Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney
  • Outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton
  • Inside linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer
  • Tight ends coach Joe Osovet
  • Quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke
  • Offensive line coach Will Friend
  • Strength and conditioning coach A.J. Artis

Shared with athletics staff in September, this across-the-board plan, effective Nov. 1, applies tiered reductions to annual compensation to all athletic department staff:

  • The first $50,000 of any employee’s compensation will not be impacted.
  • Compensation from $50,000 to $150,000 will be reduced by 5%.
  • Compensation exceeding $150,000 will be reduced by 10%.

The eight coaches are the only ones in the athletic department to decline to take a pay cut according to the department.

The plan does not affect head football coach Jeremy Pruitt’s salary as he deferred his $400,000 raise until the 2021 fiscal year.

Vol fans will remember Martin as the quarterback who led the team to an undefeated, national championship season in 1998. Graham was an ALL-SEC running back at Tennessee from 1993-1996 and ranks eighth in school history for career rushing yards.


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