Tenuta joins Wolfpack staff

Staff WriterFebruary 12, 2010 

Jon Tenuta's reputation as a defensive coach is no secret.

"I'm an aggressive guy, and everybody knows that," Tenuta said Thursday after being hired to coach N.C. State's linebackers. "I just want to be aggressive and play within the scheme of what we do."

Tenuta, 52, who is respected as one of the nation's best defensive assistant coaches, is replacing Andy McCollum, who left earlier this week to become Georgia Tech's defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

As a defensive coordinator at seven schools over 16 years, Tenuta developed a reputation for high-pressure football. His stops included North Carolina in 2001, Georgia Tech from 2002 to 2007, and Notre Dame for the last two years.

He coached Julius Peppers and a high-powered defense for the Tar Heels, and had Georgia Tech ranked in the top 30 in the nation in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense for five straight seasons.

"We lost a heck of a football coach and a great person in Andy McCollum," N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said in a statement. "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, a former Virginia defensive back, was a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 1981 and 1982. O'Brien coached guards and centers at Virginia beginning in 1982, and the two coaches have been friends ever since.

Although Mike Archer remains N.C. State's defensive coordinator, Tenuta said he is happy to be working as a position coach without the coordinator title.

"Having the opportunity to come to N.C. State and work for Coach O'Brien and the other coaches, that's a great opportunity for me," Tenuta said. "So that's really the basis of why you coach. You coach because of your passion for the game and these young men and giving them the chance to be as good as they possibly can be."

ktysiac@charlotteobserver.com or 919-829-8942

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