Penn State Football

Bob Shoop agrees ‘in principle’ to become Tennessee’s defensive coordinator

Penn State football defensive coordinator Bob Shoop works with players in 2014.
Penn State football defensive coordinator Bob Shoop works with players in 2014. Centre Daily Times, file

Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop has agreed “in principle” to become the University of Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, the Volunteers’ athletic department announced Saturday night.

The expected vacancy at Penn State will lead to its fifth defensive coordinator in six years.

“We are very excited about the addition of Bob Shoop to our coaching staff,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said in an athletic department statement. “Bob has established himself as one of the premier coordinators in all of college football and is very well-respected as a recruiter, football coach and person.

“He brings a wealth of experience at the highest level and possesses all the qualities we were looking for as we went through this process. He has directed units that have finished in the Top 25 nationally in each of the last five years, and he will do a great job of developing our players on the defensive side of the ball.”

There was no statement from Penn State, but Tennessee released comments from Shoop.

“I would like to thank Mr. (Dave) Hart (Tennessee Director of Athletics) and Coach Jones for giving me this opportunity,” Shoop said. “I also want to thank Coach (James) Franklin, the Penn State players and coaches and the Penn State community for an incredible two seasons.

“This was not an easy decision and one that I didn’t take lightly. Over the last 24 hours I had an opportunity with meet with Coach Jones and his staff. It became evident to me that he is building a great program, a program on the rise and certainly one that will compete for an SEC Championship. I’m looking forward to becoming a part of the team.”

Shoop spent the past two seasons at Penn State as defensive coordinator. He also was a defensive coordinator with Yale (1994-96), Villanova (1997), William and Mary (2007-10) and Vanderbilt (2011-13), and was Columbia’s head coach for three seasons (2003-05). His defensive units finished in the Top 25 nationally in total defense in each of the past five years, including a No. 14 finish last season.

According to FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman, Shoop flew to Tennessee on Friday for an official interview and offer. He has a reported buyout of $800,000, and was making close to $1 million at Penn State after his contract was extended last year.

However, according to 247 Sports reporter Wes Rucker, Shoop has agreed in principle to a three-year, $3.45 million deal with no Tennessee responsibility for the buyout — a number unconfirmed by athletic department representatives.

Shoop’s son, Tyler, is a scout-team receiver at Penn State.

A logical conclusion to replace the defensive coordinator would be the “promotion” of linebackers/assistant head coach Brent Pry to fill the role.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 814-231-4629, @JourdanRodrigue