ETSU head football coach Carl Torbush announced on July 31 that he has added Kingsport native and former University of Tennessee defensive back Teddy Gaines to his assistant coaching staff.
Gaines, who was a star at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, brings a wealth of both coaching and playing experience to the Buccaneers’ coaching staff, along with significant local recruiting ties.
“Teddy Gaines is a great young football coach, who comes to us with strong recommendations from every head coach he’s ever worked under,” Torbush said. “I had the opportunity to recruit Teddy during my time at North Carolina, and it came down to UNC or Tennessee. He chose Tennessee, but we maintained a relationship over all these years, and I’ve watched him grow as a player, as a young man, and as a coach during that time.
“He will do a tremendous job working with our secondary and special teams, and he will be a huge part of our recruiting efforts both inside Tennessee and in the surrounding states. I know he’s excited about this opportunity to be a Buccaneer, and we believe he will be a huge asset to our program.”
Gaines said he’s ready to get to work making ETSU a championship program.
“I am very honored and grateful to be hired as an assistant football coach at ETSU,” said Gaines, who played under head coach Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee, won a national title with the Volunteers in 1998, and went on to a career in the NFL. “I'm very excited about the opportunity to work for Coach Torbush, and I look forward to the challenge of helping ETSU become a very competitive and championship level football program.”
Most recently Gaines served as an assistant coach at Tusculum College, directing the team’s defensive back and passing defense coordinator. Prior to Tusculum, Gaines served as defensive backs coach and special teams’ coordinator at Maryville College. The Scots’ posted a 6-4 overall record, including a 5-2 mark in league play to capture a share of the USA South Athletic Conference championship, the program’s first league title since 1931. Gaines mentored a pair of all-conference standouts in Jacob Berwind and Kane Crowell as Maryville boasted the top secondary in the USA South. The Scots led the league in pass efficiency defense (92.91), total defense (340.3 ypg), scoring defense (21.6 ppg), and pass defense (149.9 ypg).
From 2008-2011 he served as the defensive back coach and special teams coordinator at South Atlantic Conference member Brevard College. His Tornado secondary hauled in 11 interceptions in 2011, pacing the SAC in total picks. On three occasions his defensive backs earned all-conference honors including two-time honoree Michael Gist in 2009 and 2011
In his second year on the Brevard staff, the 2010 Tornados enjoyed a six-win improvement by posting a 7-4 record and capturing the program’s best finish in the league. Prior to Brevard, Gaines was a defensive assistant at Chattanooga in 2008, where he served as the strong side linebacker coach.
He was a standout student-athlete at the University of Tennessee and was a top contributor in the Vols’ secondary. A member of the 1998 National Championship Tennessee squad, Teddy was drafted in the seventh round of the 2002 National Football League Draft. He enjoyed stints with the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears. He also gained playing experience with the NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire in Germany and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
Gaines was a three-year starter and All-State defensive back at Dobyns-Bennett High School for prep coach Graham Clark. The two-time All-Big East selection was selected to play in the Tennessee-Kentucky all-star game. During his prep career, he recorded five interceptions, while blocking five field goals and five punts. As senior, he led the Indians to an 11-2 record and a semifinal berth in the state playoffs. He also shined at receiver, where he caught 42 passes for 888 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.
He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Tennessee in 2004 and began a career in education as he gained experience in Knoxville, Cleveland and Kingsport as an educator and coach.