KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UTsports.com ) – Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt announced the hiring of Chris Weinke as the Vols’ running backs coach on Wednesday.
A former NFL assistant coach and player and the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner, Weinke brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Tennessee coaching staff.
He comes to Rocky Top after working as an offensive analyst at Alabama in 2017, helping lead the Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Before his time in Tuscaloosa, Weinke was the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams for two seasons and spent five years as the program director at IMG Academy, where he worked with some of the nation’s top high school football players and trained several NFL players, including Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. He compiled a 19-2 record as the head coach and offensive coordinator of IMG’s high school program in 2013 and 2014.
He spent seven years in the NFL as a quarterback for the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers, following a standout collegiate career where he set numerous Florida State records and led the Seminoles to the 1999 National Championship.
“I’m excited to have Chris Weinke on our staff to coach running backs,” Pruitt said. “He has played the game at the highest level and what he has accomplished on the field speaks for itself. He is also an outstanding coach and teacher of the game, coaching in the NFL, in college this past season and at the high school level. He has a great eye for talent and knows the game on the offensive side of the ball as well as anybody I’ve been around. He will be a great fit for our Tennessee program.”
Weinke worked on the Alabama staff with Pruitt in 2017, and was instrumental in the Crimson Tide’s offensive success. Alabama finished No. 15 in the nation in scoring (37.1 points per game) and No. 13 in rushing (250.6 yards per game).
During his time with the Rams, Weinke mentored quarterbacks Nick Foles, Case Keenum and No. 1 pick Jared Goff. Keenum found success under Weinke’s direction, passing for over 3,000 yards despite starting only 14 games. Weinke also helped Goff, then a 21-year-old rookie, build a foundation for his future success as his first NFL position coach.
Weinke helped launch the IMG Madden Football Academy in 2010 and served as the director through 2014. In addition to his success as a high school coach, he trained several NFL quarterbacks for the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft, including Newton, Wilson, Teddy Bridgewater and Kirk Cousins – many of who continued to work with Weinke in the off-season.
Weinke played for the Panthers from 2001-06 before spending time with the 49ers in 2007. He started 15 games as a rookie in 2001 after being drafted in the fourth round.
The St. Paul, Minn., native is perhaps best known for his remarkable career at Florida State, playing for the legendary Bobby Bowden from 1997-2000. Weinke owns the Seminoles’ career records for passing yards (9,839), completions (650) and touchdown passes (79).
As a senior in 2000, Weinke won the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Unitas Award and the Davey O’Brien Award after leading Florida State to the ACC title, throwing for an FSU-record 4,167 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Weinke led the Noles to a 12-0 mark and the BCS National Championship as a junior in 1999.
He spent six years in minor league baseball after being selected in the second round of the 1990 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays following an outstanding prep career at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul in both football and baseball. He was named a 1989 Parade Magazine All-American and USA Today First Team All-American in football.
Weinke has an 11-year-old son, Carter, and a 9-year-old daughter, Mallory.