Gray accepts Titans job after brief time in Austin

Jon Parrett

Jerry Gray was supposed to be a perfect fit for Texas as its new defensive backs coach. But the lure of a promotion and a pay raise was too tempting to keep him at his alma mater, and Gray accepted the defensive coordinator position for the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.

“I know the timing of this isn’t ideal, but this was something that I couldn’t turn down,” Gray said in a statement.

Saturday was junior day at Texas, and high school junior recruits were in Austin for official visits to the university. Gray replaced Duane Akina as defensive backs coach 26 days ago, after filling the same position for the Seattle Seahawks last season.

Gray took a pay cut to leave Seattle, and was going to make $425,000 with Texas. He will reportedly make over 1 million annually with
Tennessee. Gray returns to the Titans, where he spent four seasons as the defensive backs coach a decade ago. Current Titans head coach Mike Munchak was offensive line coach while Gray was in Tennessee, and began recruiting Gray for the job as soon as he was hired as Jeff Fisher’s replacement. “I am excited to have this opportunity,” Gray said in his statement. “I have known Mike for a number of years and if he is a head coach like he was a player or a position coach, we are going to be in great shape.”

Texas head coach Mack Brown now has yet another coaching void to fill on his staff, and will make his seventh hire this offseason. He said he was “obviously disappointed” with Gray’s departure in a statement released Saturday.

“But at the same time, we’re really excited about the wonderful opportunity he had to be the defensive coordinator of the Titans,” Brown said. “That’s the only place he would have left here for, and we want to wish him the best of luck.”

Where Brown looks to replace Gray is unclear, but there are a few names on the table. Former Nebraska secondary coach Marvin Sanders resigned earlier this month, citing personal and family reasons. If he is still willing to coach, he may be a good fit for the Longhorns, as the Cornhuskers have had one of the best secondaries in the country the past two seasons.