Barry resigns from coaching staff

It was made public on Friday afternoon that Tennessee offensive line coach Mike Barry had resigned from his position as an assistant coach on the Vol staff. Barry, who is considered by many people on the national level to be one of the best at his position, began his stay at Tennessee in 1998 and helped to bring home a national championship in his first season at the O-line helm.

Barry, who had been an assistant coach for five years, is widely respected all over the country as being a tremendous offensive line coach. By his own admission, coaching current Houston Texan Tony Boselli into being a top draft pick was one of his finest accomplishments on the gridiron.

Barry was blessed to enter the 2002 season with a strong returning offensive line and tons of talent coming in as true freshmen. He spent several extra hours working with the likes of freshmen Rob Smith and Cody Douglas in hopes of having them in the main O-line rotation going into the 2003 season.

Inconsistent play by guards and centers, Barry's main area of coaching, left questions surrounding his position on the staff. The aforementioned combined with a rumored questionable desire to be coaching at Tennessee, today's announcement was not a complete surprise. The lackluster play by his players was mostly inpart because of injuries sustained by frontmen Chavis Smith, Jason Respert and Anthony Herrera.

Barry's slot will be filled for the moment by tackles/tight ends coach Jimmy Ray Stephens. It is unclear who will be a replacement, but there is speculation that former Tennessee assistant Doug Marrone returning to Knoxville is a possibility. Marrone is currently on the New York Jets staff that is in the middle of the NFL playoffs, so a timetable on Marrone is surely up in the air at this point.

Barry said this upon his departure, "I want to thank Phillip (Fulmer) and the University of Tennessee for the opportunity to be a part of this fine program. I enjoyed working with Coach Fulmer, his staff and especially the players. It is truly a great place. I simply feel at this time there are other opportunities to pursue in or out of coaching."

Head coach Phillip Fulmer also commented on Barry's tenure as an assistant. "Mike did a good job for us and I wish him well in his pursuits. He was a part of our national championship team, two SEC championships and three Eastern Division titles, and I appreciate his contributions."

The former Vol aide could possibly be looking to break into a broadcasting role. In ESPN's pregame coverage of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, the station asked Barry to breakdown the offensive philosophies of Ohio State and Miami. Barry will also be widely questioned by many schools and teams about his interest in coaching on their respective staff.

Stay tuned to InsideTennessee.com for more on the coaching situation and Barry's departure.


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