Former Falcon Chuck Smith holds ‘bizarre’ news conference to explain Tennessee departure

Chuck Smith’s sudden departure from Tennessee was already curious. But after the former Volunteer star and NFL defensive end held a press conference on Friday to “explain” the circumstances surrounding his dismissal as defensive line coach, I think it’s safe to call it bizarre.



During one 25-minute session, Smith said he was not fired but was not allowed to stay, said he was a “Vol for life” but would consider coaching at another SEC school, compared himself to former UT head coach Lane Kiffin, apologized to recruits for “lying” and saying he’d be there to coach them, and denied rumors he had come to blows with defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.

Smith did manage to thank head coach Derek Dooley and everybody at UT except for Wilcox and the rest of the Vols’ defensive staff. So clearly things aren’t hunky-dory there.

“I put my heart and soul into a job, and I want to let you guys know why I left. The decision to leave the University of Tennessee wasn’t my decision,” said Smith, , an Athens native a former Atlanta Falcon. “The decision was made — let me make sure I say the right thing, this is tough — a mutual decision was brought to me that I’m too big for the program and my stature is too big and I could better help serve this program in a different capacity. Stay and move to another position here or go home. I decided under the circumstances at the school I love and with the effort I put in, in fairness to the program, I probably would need to step to the side. The point is, I never agreed to step to the side.”

Dooley announced that Tennessee and Smith were parting ways on Feb. 6, the weekend after national signing day. Numerous recruits cited Smith’s presence as a big reason they wanted to sign with the Vols.

As for Friday’s news conference — which was conducted outside Neyland Stadium and apparently without the knowledge or blessing of the University of Tennessee — here’s a report from the Knoxville News-Sentinel, here’s a version by longtime UT observer Jimmy Hyams and here’s “Mr. SEC’s” take on it.

The entire exchange is has been dutifully chronicled in two parts on YouTube, which I’ve dutifully provided for you here:

Part I

Part II

95 comments Add your comment


March 5th, 2011
1:56 pm

SHADY programs who know that an assistant is not going to be there after signing day are a sad story. These kids think they have a position coach and then when they sign…………………..He is gone.

The bad news just keeps comong for TENN VOLS.

Flatwoods Dawg

March 5th, 2011
2:03 pm

Ever since the Vols stupidly exiled Fulmer, they have wobbled from one scandal to another.

Noles Rule!

March 5th, 2011
2:13 pm

Don’t overly knock Tennessee or other great southern programs…we all have our darksides!!! UGA with a supposedly great christian coach but who seems to recruit only the darkside (has it stopped??? LeMay was kicked off high school team…). Auburn with Newton. Bama certainly seems to get whomever they want (Wonder HOW!). Florida had Newton (nuff said). South Carolina was letting players stay in hotel rather than athletic dorms. ETC. My own beloved school has cheated on tests for athletes to keep them eligible and been know to provide new shoes and other products. Hey…if you aren’t caught cheating then you aren’t trying hard enough to win. Cheaters win….integrity misses out on BCS Championships!!!

Beast from the East

March 5th, 2011
2:19 pm

@ Noles Rule!,
Cheaters do not win. I’d have have UF go 6-6 every year than have to cheat to win. Typical Semi fan.


March 5th, 2011
2:21 pm

Noles Rule:

Do not put CMR in the same category with the likes of Kiffin, Pearl, Saban and others. If you knew the Bible, you would understand that CMR is doing his best to try and guide these 18 + year old “boys” in a Godly fashion and not give up on them when they fall short. Get a life and worry about your own school…you guys have enough to concern yourself with!!


March 5th, 2011
2:23 pm

Cosey Coleman, Jabari Davis, Jamal Lewis, Deon Grant, Jason Respert, Chuck Smith


March 5th, 2011
2:29 pm



March 5th, 2011
2:42 pm

I am very disappointed that CDD waited until the day after signing day to let Smith go. Those recruits deserve better. I would be very upset if UGA did that.

Dawg Tired

March 5th, 2011
2:49 pm

Too many hits to the head.


March 5th, 2011
2:49 pm

Smith, Just another football payer who’s taken one too many hits to the head.

P.S. Flatwoods Dawg: Remember that when everyone starts to complain about CMR next fall.

Joe Cool

March 5th, 2011
2:59 pm

UT Athletics = dumpster fire.

Flatwoods Dawg

March 5th, 2011
3:05 pm


Richt is best coach in UGA history. His record as head coach and offensive coordinator is fantastic.
Last year was terrible in every way. But,In 2011, UGA will rebound to UGA’s winning ways like they had 2002 thru 2008.

Mark C

March 5th, 2011
3:08 pm

“Cheaters win….integrity misses out on BCS Championships!!!”

That’s pretty hard to square with FSU’s recent seasons, eh?


March 5th, 2011
3:16 pm

I have met Chuck Smith a couple times he is nice guy i wounder if the recruits that have committed to Voles will start looking around .

June Jones' revenge

March 5th, 2011
3:19 pm

If you sit and watch this full rant you’ll have no question as to why he was let go. This dude makes Charlie Sheen appear sane. What a self-absorbed, rambling, confused freak. Can you imagine poor Derek Dooley trying to maintain any kind of chemistry on a coaching staff while dealing with this ego? Anyone remember the way Chucky stabbed June Jones in the back and was put in his place in Jones’ last act before leaving town? There’s more to coaching than talking jive with recruits. This guy is poison.

El Dudearino

March 5th, 2011
3:25 pm

“Miss me yet?”- Philip Fulmer

c'mon man

March 5th, 2011
3:41 pm

Charlie Sheen want a be…… sad!

Dr. Edmond

March 5th, 2011
3:44 pm


I just viewed the interview. Contrary to the headline in the article, the interview was not bizzare.

Clearly, Chuck Smith was fired. He is hurting. And, he clearly had a drink or two prior to the “interview.”

What I got from the interview is that he loves UT, gave all he had to the program, was fired and is hurt.

That is it. I hope that folks do not try to sensationalize this situation more that it is.

For the record, I have never met Chuck Smith and don’t care one way or the other about UT football. Dr. Rod Edmond

c'mon man

March 5th, 2011
3:53 pm

You wanted to say “good bye”…. GOOD BYE!

Facts remain….. sour milk is still sour. Sad sad day in Vol nation.


March 5th, 2011
4:04 pm

Clearly this dude is on drugs……


March 5th, 2011
4:07 pm

Wonder if Antonio Richardson signed with UT because of Smith? Explains the firing after NSD. Wish we could have snagged Richardson.

Noles Rule!

March 5th, 2011
4:09 pm

jsmooth….hard to justify playing players that steal from other students as justifying “just trying to help out young men”. Face it…he is out to win regardless of character or he would not recruit such shady characters to begin with. The bible also makes a point of hanging out with godly folks rather than those tempted to do evil. How does that justify whom he recruits?

Mark C…I believe we won a couple of national titles during that era. If you pay attention to college athletics you’ll also notice that we have had two consecutive top 5 recruiting classes under current coach and thus are likely BACK. If we beat Oklahoma at home we very well may play for the title this year but we are really young and are likely one or two years away from a top ranking. (Don’t ask how we are getting them. Like any top recruiting school there are plenty of ways to funnel…ummmmm…the athletic desire to attend our school.

Real Deal

March 5th, 2011
4:12 pm

LOL, what a butt clown. Chuckie and Charlie Sheen must be on the same crack.
Ask anyone at 790 what kind of back stabbing dram queen chuckie is. Ask around
and see if you don’t find that this clown hates having a boss.
Chuck is an immature wanna be. he should try to be a real man and admit that he
was a cancer on the staff.


March 5th, 2011
4:14 pm

This is why recruits should never sign because of a relationship with a coach. Coaches will get fired or leave for greener grass. But the recruit cannot depend on the coach. It is just the nature of the business.

How many coaches have UGA and GT lost or fired in the last couple of years? Heck Florida has about turned over their entire staff.

Recruits you would be just as well off making your decision based on the weather than on a relationship with the coach. Both change all the time.

@noles rule

March 5th, 2011
4:16 pm

Le may wasn’t kicked out of school.
accepting the suspension and the requisite placement in an alternative school would have meant missing all but the final month of the regular season in football and delaying graduation, Stacy LeMay said.

“Adhering to such a severe ruling would not only prevent Christian from playing until November due to the 10-day conditioning rule, but it would also hinder him academically as the alternative school does not provide the required classes needed for him to finish in the fall of 2010 and move on to the University of Georgia in January,” Stacy LeMay said in statement

Chuck Smuff

March 5th, 2011
4:23 pm

Does he know what the word “mutual” means?


March 5th, 2011
4:27 pm

tennessee is a cheating school

When it rains it um, ah pours

March 5th, 2011
4:55 pm

UGA man here. I do not like UT. Having said that, they are a proud program and I hate to see them like this. It is not good for the SEC with thugs already present like AU and Bama and Florida and SC and MSU and Arkansas and that dope smoking Ryan Mallet.

We are clean except for some stupid jocks that steal helmets, drive drunk and/or w.o. a license. DUMB they are. This summer will be very interesting with the line in McGarity’s sand being drawn. Enough is enough.

Glad we do not have these Charlie Sheen coaches at UGA.


March 5th, 2011
5:02 pm

Guys this is a football board not a religious debate but Noles guy…Jesus came for the sick, and the well. The sick(sinners) needed him more so he surrounded himself with them. No doubt CMR has these young men’s best interest at heart. You are correct in that we all have problems other wise…..he who is without sin, cast the first stone!


March 5th, 2011
5:09 pm

If this story shockes you, you have not followed SEC football very long! Just another chapter it what is a very entertaining book for football fans in the South.

E Dawg

March 5th, 2011
5:39 pm

how much backdoor cash did the sleazy tennessee athletic dept people have to pay smith to move him out and avoid a huge lawsuit? Will this be made public or will they cover it up like all the lane kiffin cheating and payoffs? I’m glad Coach Richt runs a clean program and wouldn’t put up with all the stuff they do at tennessee.


March 5th, 2011
5:46 pm

SEC athletics. Made for reality TV.

Home Boy

March 5th, 2011
5:58 pm

Stupid choice playing at Tennesse and now coaching! Athens is your home and the folks there would not have stabbed you in the back!

Brainiac(Dawg For Life)

March 5th, 2011
6:04 pm

Hey, this is 2011. Can’t we just all say “throw” the first stone? Nother thing. Why not occasionally say “Let HER THROW the first ROCK”.

Brainiac(Dawg For Life)

March 5th, 2011
6:11 pm

I have known CCD since he played Little League Football and admire him but the way he handled(or didn’t handle) the bar brawl where D’Prick Rogers and others stomped people to a critical condition, including a police officer. Dooley dismissed only one of those criminals who already had a record as large as a phone book.


March 5th, 2011
6:16 pm

That is sad,this guy is messed up.I don’t think he will ever coach at another SEC school.This was career suicide


March 5th, 2011
6:18 pm

Is it possible that Chuck didn’t pass the drug test and the banned substance was Charlie Sheen?


March 5th, 2011
6:24 pm

Wow! He is really hurt! Call it what you want, but this man is hurt and I feel his pain!!!! Tennessee will miss him!!!


March 5th, 2011
6:37 pm

This one is easy people. Yes, Chuck has a huge ego and he know it. Its seems they wanted him to be a recuriter only and give up the coaching job yes because of his ego. Chuck love to work with the kids so I think his heart is coaching and working with kids. He needs to chil until he can get the defensive coordinator position.

poor thang

March 5th, 2011
6:42 pm

Somebody PLEASE spoof this!! Charlie Sheen would be proud of all the rambling and tangents.!


March 5th, 2011
7:11 pm

bama just got a commit from a GA Ol.


March 5th, 2011
7:12 pm


March 5th, 2011
7:13 pm

CMR should do his mission work in.,,,,,,,,, Athens

Will in Tennessee

March 5th, 2011
7:15 pm

Strong rumors around here after NSD were that Chuck nearly cost us some of our recruits . He was inexperienced but would have become a good coach and recruiter eventually in my opinion. His ego clashed with that of our D-Coordinator and there was definitely conflict there. Dooley and Smith will always be good friends but Derek made a business decision and decided to bank on Coach Wilcox and maintaining chemistry in his coaching staff. Everyone here loves Coach Dooley and though it’s tough we understand why Coach Smith had to go. He’ll always be a Volunteer and my second favorite Falcon of all time (1st is Jesse Tuggle).

Go Vols!


March 5th, 2011
7:27 pm

Chuck’s never been the sharpest tool in the shed…One of the old “prop 48″ bunch that had to go the JUCO route.

Beast from the East

March 5th, 2011
7:36 pm

@ when it rains,
Pretty funny your list includes all of the teams that kicked your teams’ butt this past season.
Petty little man.


March 5th, 2011
7:39 pm

Phillip Fulmer has never been the sharpest tool in the shed either.


March 5th, 2011
8:05 pm

Noles Rule-Bama signs the recruits they want because it is one of the top programs in the country. Look who trained your Head Coach. I know you think they cheat but they are simply good and Saban is a fantastic coach and recruiter. Get used to it.


March 5th, 2011
8:13 pm

Bigtime-Don’t you know the Dawgs did not want this young man. The Dawg Nation will say they did even offer this guy and insult his charecter and talent for the remainder of the night. Then their incredible staff will ask him the be part of Dream Team #2 in about 2 weeks just like the running back out of Atlanta. What a joke. He must be talented if Saban liked him. Dawgs go ahead and begin your oversigning comments it really seems to impact our recruiting.


March 5th, 2011
8:24 pm

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