Teddy Gaines will join the new football staff at East Tennessee State after a brief stint at Tusculum College, where he never coached a game.
Gaines, a former star defensive back at Dobyns-Bennett High School and Tennessee, will be one of the first two assistants hired by new ETSU head coach Carl Torbush, who has been brought in to resurrect a program that had been eliminated by the school after the 2003 season.
Gaines, who has also coached at Maryville College, Brevard College and UT-Chattanooga, was hired at Tusculum in January to serve as defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator. He worked through offseason drills and spring practice.
Tusculum head coach Frankie DeBusk received a call on Friday from Torbush telling him of ETSU’s interest in Gaines.
“The timing is horrible, but that’s also our profession,” DeBusk said Tuesday. “Nothing personal to Teddy or Carl or ETSU. It’s just the nature of the business. I’m in the process of hiring his replacement. I think I’ve already got somebody in place.”
Torbush reportedly recruited Gaines out of D-B while he was at North Carolina. Instead, the speedster went to Tennessee and played on the 1998 national championship team.
“They’ve known each other a while,” said DeBusk, who quarterbacked Furman to the NCAA Division I-AA national championship in 1988. “That’s the way this crazy profession works.”
Gaines’ former coach at Tennessee, Phillip Fulmer, is a special assistant to ETSU Athletic Director Richard Sander and was instrumental in hiring Torbush.
Gaines, who also ran sprints for the Tennessee track team, wound up being a key member of the Vols’ secondary during his last three seasons in Knoxville.
The San Francisco 49ers selected Gaines in the seventh round of the 2002 draft. He also played for the Chicago Bears and spent time in NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League.
“I’m happy for Teddy,” DeBusk said. “He’ll do a great job at ETSU. He’s a great person. We’re gonna miss him here.”
Gaines is a cousin of Gerald Sensabaugh and Coty Sensabaugh. Gerald Sensabaugh was on ETSU’s last team in 2003 before finishing his career at North Carolina and recently retiring from the NFL after an eight-year pro career. Coty Sensabaugh played at Clemson and is now with the Tennessee Titans.