Heupel completes staff with addition of special teams, linebackers coach Mike Ekeler

Orange and White Nation

Georgia assistant coach Mike Ekeler reacts in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Southern Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The final piece to first-year Tennessee coach Josh Heupel’s staff is now officially in place.

Mike Ekeler will coach outside linebackers and special teams for the Vols. Ekeler returns to the Southeastern Conference after coaching last year at North Texas. Ekeler has 15 years experience coaching at Power Five collegiate programs across the country including Southern Cal, Nebraska, Indiana and North Carolina

Ekeler coached inside linebackers and special teams at Georgia from 2014-15, and he served on LSU’s 2007 SEC and national championship staff. He reunites with Heupel as the two served as graduate assistants together at Oklahoma in 2004.

“Mike is one of the most engaging and charismatic leaders I know,” Heupel said. “The energy he will bring to our football team, in addition to his track record of guiding successful special teams and defensive units will enhance our program. We are excited to welcome Coach Ekeler and his family to our Tennessee football family and look forward to watching him make a difference in the lives of our student-athletes.” 

According to a memoriam of understanding, Ekeler is expected to sign a two-year deal worth $700,000. He will also receive a moving stipend and a vehicle allowance.

Ekeler has coached a number of NFL linebackers including Roquan Smith and Leonard Floyd of the Chicago Bears, Andre Smith of the Carolina Panthers and Will Compton of the Tennessee Titans.

Compton voiced his support for Ekeler earlier this week. Comptom was recruited by Ekeler at Nebraska. The coach went as far as to get a tattoo of Compton’s name.

Full staff:

  • Josh Heupel, head coach
  • Alex Golesh, offensive coordinator/tight ends
  • Joey Halzle, quarterbacks
  • Kodi Burns, wide receivers
  • Jerry Mack, running backs
  • Glen Elarbee, offensive line
  • Tim Banks, defensive coordinator
  • Mike Ekeler, outside linebackers/special teams coordinator
  • Brian Jean-Mary, inside linebackers
  • Willie Martinez, secondary
  • Rodney Garner, defensive line

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