Two days after expressing plans to remain at his current post, Texas defensive backs coach Jerry Gray was announced tonight at the Tennessee Titans' new defensive coordinator.
Gray, a former Longhorns' All-America player (1983-84), returned to his alma mater in January as the defensive backs coach after spending last season with the Seattle Seahawks. But Gray, who served as defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills from 2001-2005, found it impossible to turn down an opportunity to coordinate another defense at the NFL level rather than be a secondary coach in college.
Gray will work for new Titans' coach Mike Munchak, a former teammated during Gray's NFL career. Gray interviewed for the post Friday, one day after telling a Longhorn Club audience in Austin that he planned to reman with the school.
In a statement released by school officials, Texas coach Mack Brown said: "We're obviously disappointed that Jerry's leaving, but at the same time, we're really excited about the wonderful opportunity he had to be the defensive coordinator of the Titans. It is a chance for him to reunite with a lot of friends he went to the Super Bowl with who came up just one yard short of winning. That's the only place he would have left here for, and we want to wish him the best of luck."
Gray conceded the timing of his job change was bad but the opportunity in Tennessee was something the "couldn't turn down."
“I am excited to have this opportunity,” said Gray, a 14-year NFL coaching veteran. “I have known Mike (Munchak) 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, because he has had so much success and everything he does. I am looking forward to really getting to know our personnel on defense and creating a defense that takes advantage of our strengths. I am an old school guy that likes to get after the opponent, but you also have to have the players to that – you can’t force those things. Our defense will fit what we can do well. I also want to thank Coach Brown and University of Texas. I know the timing of this isn’t ideal, but this was something that I couldn’t turn down.”
_ Jimmy Burch