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Sport Management Grad Jerod Mayo Named New England Patriots Head Coach

From New England Patriots/Tennessee Athletics Announcement

Tennessee Vol For Life Jerod Mayo, who left his mark in Knoxville as one of the greatest linebackers in program history, has been tabbed as the 15th head coach of the New England Patriots, the historic franchise officially announced on Friday.

Photo of Jerod Mayo. He has dark skin, dark hair and a beard. He is smiling in the photo.

Jerod Mayo

Mayo succeeds legendary coach Bill Belichick, who he worked alongside the past five seasons and played for from 2008-15. At age 37, Mayo becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL and the first Black head coach in New England Patriots history.

He will be officially introduced in a press conference at noon ET on Wednesday. It will be streamed live on
Mayo quickly became one of Belichick’s right-hand men when he was named inside linebackers coach in 2019. The Patriots have allowed 19.2 points per game (third in the NFL), generated 136 takeaways (second) and held opponents to a 35.8 third-down percentage (second) under his watch since his appointment.

Mayo played for the Volunteers from 2005-07, appearing in 32 games with 26 starts, while helping UT to an SEC East title and multiple Outback Bowl berths. He collected 236 career tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

The 2007 season saw Mayo earn first-team All-SEC laurels with a league-high 140 total tackles, including 8.5 for loss. The highlights included a 34-yard pick six to help beat Arkansas and an epic 19-tackle performance in the regular season finale against Kentucky that clinched the SEC East. He logged 15 tackles against LSU in the SEC Championship Game, which remains the second-most in title game history.

A native of Hampton, Virginia, Mayo was a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member, and he earned his degree in sport management in the department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Management (KRSS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences in December 2007.

“At the end of the day, my main goal was to get my degree,” Mayo said as he declared for the 2008 NFL Draft that January. “I have that piece of paper, and nobody can take that away from me. I have my degree, and I’m ready to start a new chapter.”

Four months later, Mayo fulfilled another dream as he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by New England. He became the highest drafted linebacker in program history and flourished during an eight-year Super Bowl career.

Mayo appeared in 103 games with the Patriots, racking up 905 total tackles. He was named captain for seven consecutive seasons (2009-15) and helped lead the franchise to a Super Bowl XLIX victory.

Mayo made the Pro Bowl after the 2012 and 2010 seasons where he led the league in tackles. He was tops on the team in total tackles in each of his first five seasons and became just the second New England player to win the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2008.

Mayo is the first former Tennessee football player to be named a head coach in the NFL.