Jim Chaney, who boasts experience in the NFL, SEC and Big Ten, has been named Arkansas’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, head coach Bret Bielema announced Wednesday.
“Jim Chaney’s approach will blend well with my ideas as we work to put together a plan for the team we have and over time develop our specific philosophy,” said Bielema. “While he was at Purdue, several of the best coaches in the nation sought his advice on how to use the spread offense. Jim went on to spend a few years in the NFL and gained a new appreciation for a pro-style offense similar to the balanced attack we will look to incorporate at Arkansas. He has spent his career developing numerous players for the NFL including Drew Brees. He knows the SEC, having coached at Tennessee, and is familiar with what it takes to be successful in this conference. He is an upbeat and positive person who has proven at every stop he is an elite coach in our profession.” Chaney spent the last four seasons at Tennessee as the Vols’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and was the interim coach for UT’s 37-17 win against Kentucky in the 2012 season finale. Prior to his time in Knoxville, he coached the St. Louis Rams for three seasons after nine years as offensive coordinator at Purdue. Chaney also has held recruiting coordinator duties at three different schools. Chaney oversaw the development of UT quarterback Tyler Bray, who was named the Vols’ starter as a true freshman. After playing in 28 career games, Bray moved into the top five in many of the school’s passing categories, ranking fourth in passing touchdowns, fourth in passing yards, fourth in pass attempts and fifth in completions. In 2012, Bray passed for 3,619 yards and 34 touchdowns. His touchdowns were the seventh-most in a season in SEC history, and his passing yards ranked 11th in conference history. Bray also broke the Tennessee single-game record with 530 yards passing, a record previously held by Peyton Manning and the second-highest single-game total in SEC history. Also during the 2012 season, wide receiver Justin Hunter ranked third in the SEC with 1,083 receiving yards and was fourth in the conference with an average of 6.1 receptions per game. His 73 catches ranked as the second-highest single-season total in UT history, and his receiving yards ranked third on the school’s single-season list. As a team, Tennessee led the SEC and was fourth in the NCAA allowing an average of 0.67 sacks per game. The Vols also ranked 16th in the country in passing offense, 19th in total offense, 23rd in scoring offense and 33rd in passing efficiency. In 2011, Tennessee scored at least 40 points in three of their first four games and ended the season third in the SEC in passing offense and fewest sacks allowed. Wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers led the SEC in receptions with 67 and was second in the conference with 1,040 receiving yards on his way to earning first-team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press. The 2010 offense produced 71 plays of 20-or-more yards, 19 which went for touchdowns, despite fielding a new quarterback, new starting running back and an overhauled offensive line. Hunter set the Tennessee freshman record with seven receiving touchdowns and averaged a team-high 25.9 yards per catch as he earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Bray broke Tennessee freshman records with 1,849 passing yards, 125 completions and 18 passing touchdowns and became the first UT quarterback to throw multiple touchdowns in six straight games since Manning. Running back Tauren Poole also excelled, rushing for 1,034 yards in his first season as the starter. Before his time at Tennessee, Chaney spent three seasons with the St. Louis Rams. He coached the offensive line two seasons and worked with the tight ends in 2008. Chaney’s offensive line blocked for running back Steven Jackson, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards all three seasons Chaney was in St. Louis. Chaney made the move to professional football after nine years as Purdue’s offensive coordinator. In his first four seasons, he also was the Boilermakers’ recruiting coordinator and helped break a 13-year bowl drought in his first season. In his time there, Purdue led the Big Ten in passing offense five times and passing offense three times. The Boilermakers were ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA in total offense six times, including in 2000 when they were fourth in the country. While at Purdue, Chaney tutored quarterback Drew Brees, who was drafted in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and was named Super Bowl XLIV MVP and the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009. Brees led the NCAA in total offense in 2000, averaging 349.1 yards per game, and won the Maxwell Award. Chaney also helped direct Tim Stratton to the inaugural John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s best tight end, in 2000. The 2000 team also won the Big Ten and advanced to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 33 years. As recruiting coordinator, Chaney helped Purdue sign some of the country’s top high school talent. The 1998 class ranked second in the Big Ten and 11th nationally, and each of his final five signing classes were in the top 30 in the nation. Before Purdue, Chaney was at Wyoming for four years, serving as offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator from 1994-96 and was a graduate assistant coaching tight ends coach in 1993. Chaney began his coaching career at Cal State Fullerton in 1985. He served in many areas, including offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. A native of Holden, Mo., Chaney earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Central Missouri State in 1985. He played nose guard for Central Missouri State and was named an all-conference performer as a senior. Chaney and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Elizabeth and Sara.