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.
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