Pack's Tenuta decides to stay

Family weighed heavy in choice

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJanuary 5, 2012 

Jon Tenuta is staying at N.C. State.

A day after the University of Illinois announced it had hired the Wolfpack's assistant football coach, the Big Ten school sent out another release Wednesday afternoon declaring Tenuta's intention to stay at N.C. State.

Tenuta needs a new contract with the Wolfpack, but he's expected to sign a new deal to stay in Raleigh. He has coached State's linebackers the last two seasons and has helped improve the team's defense and overall record.

Tenuta's son, Matt, is a senior at Apex High and has committed to play baseball for the Wolfpack.

A former defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Notre Dame, Tenuta mentioned his family ties to Raleigh as a reason for not going to Illinois.

"I've known (new Illinois coach Tim Beckman) for 20 years and I have no doubt that with the staff he is putting together, he will have Illinois at the top of the Big Ten very soon. However, my family comes first and I may have made a decision without fully thinking through the situation with them," Tenuta said in a statement released by the University of Illinois on Wednesday. "My son is a senior in high school and has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at N.C. State, and it is something I just don't want to miss."

Tenuta went on in the statement to wish "nothing but the best" for Illinois and Beckman, who was hired from Toledo in December to replace Ron Zook. Tenuta and Beckman both have ties to Ohio State.

Tenuta joined coach Tom O'Brien's staff at N.C. State before the 2010 season. The Wolfpack finished 2009 with a 5-7 record and ranked 53rd nationally in sacks (with 24) and 116th in takeaways (14).

In 2010, State's defense was fourth in the country in sacks (with 41) and 18th in takeaways (29), and the team's record improved to 9-4.

The Wolfpack ranked in the top 10 in both categories this season -- eighth in sacks (40) and second in takeaways (39) -- and finished 8-5 with its second straight bowl win.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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