"We lost a heckuva football coach and a great person in Andy McCollum," said O'Brien on Thursday. "He will be missed by our staff and our players and we wish him the best. But we have been very fortunate to be able to hire someone with the experience and wealth of knowledge that Jon Tenuta brings to our staff."
Tenuta's stints as defensive coordinator for 16 years at seven different schools: Notre Dame (2009), Georgia Tech (2002-07), North Carolina (2001), Ohio State (2000), SMU (1990-94), Kansas State (1988) and Marshall (1987).
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to work for Coach O'Brien," said Tenuta. "I'm also happy to be back in the ACC, especially with a program like NC State."
Tenuta has been at Notre Dame for the past two seasons, serving as the Fighting Irish's assistant head coach for defense both years, defensive coordinator last season and coaching the linebackers in 2008 and 2009. In his first year at Notre Dame, he helped the Irish defense allow 61.27 fewer rushing yards per game and improve its ranking from 96th nationally in ‘07 to 45th in ‘08. The Irish scoring defense also improved in ‘08, allowing 6.6 points less per game than in ‘07, the 22nd-best improvement in the nation.
Tenuta helped guide a defense that ranked in the top 50 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense and rush defense — the first time that had happened at Notre Dame since 2002.
Prior to his stint at Notre Dame, Tenuta spent six seasons as the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, where 18 Yellow Jacket defenders earned first- or second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition, and 18 players from his first four units were either drafted or signed NFL free-agent contracts.
In his last five seasons at Georgia Tech, Tenuta's defense ranked in the top 30 nationally in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense, including 20th or better against the run all five years.
In 2001, Tenuta guided the ACC's top-rated defense statistically at North Carolina. Tar Heel defensive end Julius Peppers and defensive tackle Ryan Sims were two of the top three defensive players selected in the 2002 NFL draft.
From 1996-2000, Tenuta coached defensive backs at Ohio State, serving as defensive coordinator in 2000. He helped develop several Ohio State defensive backs into NFL players, including first-round draft picks Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Ahmed Plummer and Nate Clements. Ohio State's pass defense was consistently ranked among the nation's best during this span.
The Columbus, Ohio, native also coached at Oklahoma (defensive backs, 1995); SMU (defensive coordinator/linebackers/defensive backs, 1990-94); Kansas State (defensive coordinator, 1988); Marshall (defensive coordinator/defensive backs, 1986-87); and Vanderbilt (defensive backs, 1984-85).
Tenuta began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Virginia (1981-82) and Maryland (1983).
A 1982 graduate of Virginia, Tenuta was a three-year letterman at defensive back for the Cavaliers and earned the team's John Acree Memorial Football Trophy and Kevin Bowie Award.
Born Feb. 25, 1957, Tenuta is married to the former Dori Gamble, who played basketbal for Debbie Ryan at Virginia. They are the parents of three sons: Zach , who plays tight end at Marshall, Matt (16) and Luke (10).