Clawson takes Vol OC job

After talking to two NFL assistants and the offensive coordinator at a major football power, Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer settled on a Division 1-AA head coach as his new offensive coordinator.

Dave Clawson, head coach at Richmond the past four seasons, was hired Friday.

Fulmer said he was ``excited'' about bringing Clawson aboard to replace long-time friend David Cutcliffe, who went to Duke as offensive coordinator. Dec. 15.

``I have thoroughly enjoyed the search and research process and there certainly was a lot of interest in this position,'' Fulmer said. ``I took the attitude that this was a great opportunity for me to evaluate the coaching talent out there and find the perfect fit for a new era of Tennessee offensive football.''

A new era of Tennessee football excites many Vol fans. But just what that means remains to be seen.

Clawson said he was enticed by Tennessee's tradition.

``This is not the first phone call I've had for a job opportunity like this,'' Clawson said, ``but it was the first one I was excited about pursuing. Tennessee is one of the premier football teams in the country. … I hope I can contribute to helping Tennessee win a national championship.''

A Richmond player, Will Healy, said Boston College spoke with Clawson last year about its head coaching job.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Tennessee offered Clawson $1.2 million over three years. Cutcliffe made $340,000 last year and was scheduled to make $375,000 this year.

UT did not release financial details.

Tennessee is also expected to name Latrell Scott as wide receivers coach. Scott, who coached at Richmond with Clawson, was an All-American tight end in college at a small school. Scott interviewed Friday.

Tennessee hired Stan Drayton from Florida's staff earlier in the week.

Fulmer now has one more position to fill, presumably on the offensive staff.

Clawson said it was difficult to leave Richmond, which he guided to the Division I-AA playoffs two of the last three years, reaching the semifinals this season before losing to eventual national champion Appalachian State.

``Richmond is the best job I ever had and this is the best place I've ever lived,'' Clawson said. ``Personally I would have been content to live in Richmond for the next 20 years. Professionally, coaches are driven … and it's always been a goal of mine to coach at the BCS level.

``This was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I'm extremely excited about where I'm headed.''

Clawson said he is looking forward to coaching against SEC competition.

``It's a great challenge and when you get into this business, people that coach are competitors, and we'll continue to do that at Tennessee,'' Clawson said.

Clawson said he would not have left Richmond for another I-AA job.

Before going to Richmond, Clawson spent five years as coach at Fordham and three seasons as Villanova's offensive coordinator, where he worked with Drayton.

Clawson, 40, took over a Fordham program that had 12 consecutive losing seasons. He went 0-11 his first season and 3-8 in year two, but won 19 game his last two years.

Richmond had won nine games the previous three seasons before Clawson arrived. The Spiders went 3-8 in Clawson's first season, but had records of 9-4, 6-5 and a school-best 11-3 this past season.

In his 14 years of coaching quarterbacks, nine have made all-conference.

``Dave Clawson brings a great work ethic, high energy and is a great teacher of quarterbacks,'' Fulmer said. ``His multiple offensive system using the talents of the players available to their fullest has been impressive. He has a great passion for recruiting, which is important for Tennessee, and his experience as a head coach will serve us well.''


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