Tenarius “Tank” Wright, Wolverine

Tenarius “Tank” Wright, Wolverine


January 17, 2020
Tenarius “Tank” Wright (image via Twitter)

The headline is doubly redundant, because Tenarius is Tank, and he was already a Wolverine.

Let’s back up a little bit.

Linebackers coach Anthony Campanile said “no thanks” to defensive coordinator roles at Boston College and Rutgers, only to say “yes please” to the Miami Dolphins. So Michigan was in need of a linebackers coach.

In steps Tenarius “Tank” Wright, who has been an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the past two seasons. He was at Arkansas with S&C coach Ben Herbert and followed Herbert to Ann Arbor in the lead-up to the 2018 season.

Wright was a 3-star recruit, the #30 weakside end, and #1055 overall in the 2008 class out of Memphis (TN) Whitehaven, a school that Michigan has tried to recruit from a couple times over the past several years. He played defensive end at Arkansas (123 tackles, 20 TFL, 9 sacks, 5 FF; some highlights can be found HERE) and then a little in the NFL with the Buccaneers. Afterward he became a strength coach with Arkansas, eventually moving to Michigan.

In the meantime, Wright picked up a DWI back in 2013 and got married in Michigan’s weight room.

I know very little about Tank Wright, so I’ll talk about him in vague terms. I have seen interviews where some players have mentioned Wright by name and talked about him positively. He’s young, he’s from the SEC region, and he has some personal success in college and the NFL to draw from. The current players already know him, and he knows how the program works.

On the negative side, Wright has never been a position coach. He does not bring connections to New Jersey (which Campanile and Chris Partridge had), and since he hasn’t been out recruiting, his connections to any school are likely very thin. He will be building those from scratch.

The upshot is that Michigan has a new linebackers coach that the players/recruits will probably connect to very well, even if he’s not a top-notch X’s and O’s guy right now. But with two former defensive coordinators on board right now, does he need to be? Probably not. Partridge was a high school coach and was at least serviceable when it came to scheme. Furthermore, Jim Harbaugh has a pretty good track record of hiring young coaches, and coaches in general. Al Washington came in for a year and immediately went to OSU, where the Buckeyes had a great season. Partridge turned into an elite recruiter. Jay Harbaugh has done a good job with several position groups. Tank Wright might not be a sexy splash hire, but sometimes those guys are just as good.

And one thing I have not seen mentioned: you build loyalty by giving guys their first shot. Michigan has suffered a lot of departures after just one year on staff (Washington, D.J. Durkin, Jim McElwain, Greg Jackson, etc.), but Chris Partridge shooed away other potential jobs because he felt loyal to Harbaugh for giving him his first big-time college gig. For those people worried about continuity and coaching turnover, Wright is someone who could be at Michigan for five years, make a name for himself, and then wait for the right opportunity to go to another big program like Partridge did when he left for Ole Miss.

16 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 28
    Joined: 9/24/2017
    bluegoinggray
    Jan 17, 2020 at 2:47 PM

    Not a splashy hire, but maybe it will work out well. Many questions going into next season, as there often are.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 379
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Jan 17, 2020 at 3:56 PM

    Wait a minute………
    When do we hear about Harbaugh getting either an extension of the current or a new 4 or 5 year contract? harbaugh has less than 2 year remaining & I mean this as a toss it out there Q not directly pointed at Thunder.

    IF harbaugh is leaving then it makes sense to make a quick lower tier hire of someone already on staff so the next HC doesn’t have to fire a big Assistant contract. This also explains the Partirdge departure to Kiffan after turning down Saban last year , too? turning down Saban then running to Kiffan at Ole Miss a year later can be construed as a ‘time to run’ move. ain’t sayin; Jus sayin’. Campinile , too?

    On the other hand my above paragraph is not apparently consistent with the apparent Shoop hire, but then again upon further study maybe it is?

    Its all easily cleared by Warde giving Harbs some more years – assuming Harbs and Michigan want to share those years.
    IF they both want ‘those years’ then why aren’t they being shared, contractually, that is?
    Enquiring minds want to know…………..INTJohn

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 173
    Joined: 9/15/2015
    ragingbull
    Jan 17, 2020 at 4:38 PM

    great point re having 2 DCs on staff. brown still coaches LBs too so wright has plenty of support for coaching points, drills, etc. im sure theyll send him out to other shops and clinics this offseason to pick up what he can. being able to learn is a skill and i cant imagine harbaugh and brown hiring a young coach if they werent confident in his ability to learn rapidly and adapt. i actually think hell do a nice job.

    im always a fan of finding talented up and comers with passion, energy, and football minds and setting them loose – if theyre capable and truly motivated to prove their worth and climb, good things happen. harbaugh is a strange dude with a stubborn streak but he has a great record of identifying young coaches

    • Avatar
      Comments: 379
      Joined: 12/24/2016
      INTJohn
      Jan 17, 2020 at 9:12 PM

      …….talented, with passion, energy, football minds……..

      Umm isn’t the ND Gerry Faust expereince alil bit dated?
      ……..as well as the results well known?

      We all know why many of Harbs staff including ‘Den Mothers’ got hired. What proven pull does this hire have? Coaching experience – none.
      Recruiting ……..none AND his last name isn’t Harbaugh so nepotism or a reference from Uncle John can’t be argued either.
      None of this shit makes any sense……….Intjohn

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3500
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Jan 17, 2020 at 9:24 PM

        He’s a position coach. I think the reaction is overblown. Who is Ben McDaniels? Who was Al Washington? Who is Sherrone Moore? Who was Jedd Fisch? It’s not the case with every position coach (such as Shoop, McElwain, etc.), but a lot of position coaches are “nobodies.” You can’t have an all-star cast coaching every single position group.

        Alabama’s wide receivers coach is the legendary Holmon Wiggins. You’ve heard of him, right? Their tight ends coach is a former Washington State punter named Jeff Banks.

        Sure, it would be nice if Michigan’s coaching staff consisted of Mike Hart (RB), David Harris (LB), Charles Woodson (DB), Elvis Grbac (QB), etc., but that’s not how it works.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 379
          Joined: 12/24/2016
          INTJohn
          Jan 19, 2020 at 8:42 PM

          Yep as usual,
          I’m just a stupid fukin dumbass.
          What makes any sense ?
          Not me
          I’m just fukin stupid…….INTJohn

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3500
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Jan 19, 2020 at 11:32 PM

            Don’t be so hard on yourself.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5793
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Jan 19, 2020 at 10:07 PM

          I would be super worried if M was only hiring alums as position coaches.

          There are often better candidates. If a guy is overqualified and willing to take a demotion to coach at Michigan go ahead and bring them in. Otherwise it’s dubious, IMO.

          Alums make fans happy but Wheatley ended up being one of the worst hires in the Harbaugh era.

  4. Avatar
    Comments: 1748
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jan 17, 2020 at 4:38 PM

    I’m optimistic. Tank will have Brown to mentor him through LB duties, and – from all I’ve read – has all the ingredients to be a great recruiter. We need that!

    Welcome, and Go Blue

  5. Thunder
    Comments: 3500
    Joined: 7/13/2015
    Jan 18, 2020 at 12:20 PM

    I guess I won’t be trusting MGoBlog for breaking news anymore.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1748
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Jan 18, 2020 at 12:29 PM

      Yeah, that sucks for Tank. Was he misled? Did we mislead both him & Bush Sr?

      Can’t say I blame Campinele if so

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3500
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Jan 18, 2020 at 12:43 PM

        I doubt it. I wonder if he was temporarily elevated to “coach” while Michigan replaced Campanile and Partridge for recruiting purposes.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1748
          Joined: 1/19/2016
          je93
          Jan 18, 2020 at 1:21 PM

          I don’t see it, not for a day. You’re not developing a relationship in a day. At least when Bush covered Bowl season, it was 1) for a few weeks; 2) known to be temporary; and 3) was known as an Analyst, going back to an analyst… no mixed message, or confusion, at all

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 5793
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jan 19, 2020 at 9:55 PM

    I for one enjoyed the Tank Wright era.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3500
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jan 19, 2020 at 11:29 PM

      He was undefeated.

  7. Thunder
    Comments: 3500
    Joined: 7/13/2015
    Jan 20, 2020 at 2:42 PM

    FYI: Tank Wright was indeed elevated to “coach” status temporarily to go out and recruit while Michigan was hiring new coaches.

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