Tennessee poaches CSU coaches Will Friend, Terry Fair

Justin Michael

The Colorado State football staff will have a much different look next season, as the Rams will be looking to replace coaches on both sides of the football. 

Colorado State Offensive Lineman Trae Moxley gestures the fans to quiet down during an important forth down try during the second quarter of play against the Boise State Broncos on Nov. 11. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

Defensive coordinator Marty English announced his retirement in early November and head coach Mike Bobo confirmed multiple national reports that offensive coordinator Will Friend and cornerbacks coach Terry Fair have now accepted coaching positions at the University of Tennessee after practice Thursday.


“I’m excited for those guys,” Bobo said. “I wish them good luck and we’ll always be friends. I’m focused on my team and finishing strong.”

Bobo also confirmed that both coaches would immediately joining recently hired head coach Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee and would not be coaching the Rams in the New Mexico Bowl.

Tennessee recently announced the hiring of Pruitt as head coach after failing to hire a variety of other candidates including Ohio State OC Greg Schiano.

Pruitt had previously served as defensive coordinator under head coach Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. Pruitt and Friend were teammates and roommates at Alabama in the 1990s.

Friend had served as CSU’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach since 2014. With the combination of Friend and head coach Mike Bobo leading the offense, the Rams have produced some of the most successful units in program history.

In 2016 the CSU offense ranked 12th nationally in passing efficiency (157.04), 28th in scoring (35.3), 30th in total offense (462.5) and 31st in rushing offense (217.8).

This season the Rams were just as productive and even more explosive. In 2017 CSU averaged two touchdowns on the ground and a pair through the air, while totaling 502 yards per-game.  Five of CSU’s starters were honored with all-conference honors, including the team’s starting quarterback, running back and No. 1 wide receiver.

Fair played at Tennessee from 1994-1997, earning two All-SEC selections. He was selected 20th overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1998 NFL Draft and played six seasons in the league. Fair joined CSU’s staff in 2015 as the cornerbacks coach and maintained that role through the past three seasons. Prior to his time with CSU, Fair spent two seasons as a defensive quality control assistant at Tennessee.

The Rams will play Marshall in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached at jmchael@collegian.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.