Defensive Coordinator Jim Tanara Announces RetirementJim Tanara
coached at EKU
for 26 years. RICHMOND, Ky. -- After 26 years on the sidelines, Eastern Kentucky University Defensive Coordinator Jim Tanara has announced his retirement, effective July 1.
"This is something I've been thinking about for awhile.It was a hard decision, but not a last-minute decision," Tanara
said after announcing his
retirement plans to the team on Thursday morning."You know when it's time, and I feel like this is the right time for me to go."Tanara
continued, "I have been very blessed in my career.I have been a part of four national championships, and I've worked for two Hall of Fame coaches.I have either played or coached this game for 50 years.It's been a wonderful quality of life for me and my family."EKU Head Football Coach Danny Hope commended Tanara for his outstanding service to EKU, and said the team would be missing something when next season gets underway.
"You can get another coach, you can find another defensive coordinator, but you can't find another Jim Tanara
," Hope said."Jim
comes from the loins of football, all the way back to Bear Bryant.He's
been a great example for the young coaches on the staff."He
just loves the game and being around young people.We will definitely miss Jim
, but we're going to take some of what he's
given us and use it to win a championship."Also wishing Tanara well was EKU President Joanne Glasser.
...Coach Tanara has demonstrated a passion for the academic and athletic successes of our student-athletes on and off the field.
We wish him all the very best as he
now looks toward retirement."Tanara began his tenure as defensive coordinator in 1999, while also coaching the defensive line.
In 2001 and 2002, Tanara's defense ranked atop the Ohio Valley Conference, and both units were listed among the top 10 nationally.The Colonel defense produced seven shutouts during his
tenure as coordinator.
Since coming to EKU
has guided two OVC defensive players of the year in Justen Rivers (2004) and Aaron Jones (1987), who went on to be a first-round draft pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers
spent a significant portion of his
career on the sidelines with two of the most legendary coaches the sport has ever produced.He
collegiate coaching career at the University of Alabama
under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant before moving on to EKU
under Hall of Fame coach Roy Kidd.
After Kidd's retirement, Tanara
stayed on with Hope when he
took over as head coach in 2002.The relationship between the two men, however, went back much further as the current EKU head coach played for the Colonels while Tanara was on staff.Tanara came to EKU after spending 11 seasons under Bryant at Alabama.
tenure there, Tanara
helped direct the Crimson Tide to 11 consecutive bowl appearances and two national championships.Tanara
Colonel debut in the 1979, and was a part of the school's first national championship that season.He
would later be a part of the school's second title team in 1982, giving him four national crowns during his
was part of 228 Colonel wins and 17 NCAA Playoff squads, and Eastern posted 10 or more wins nine times during his
was an excellent player in his
own right.He started at both defensive end and tight end for three seasons with Tennessee-Chattanooga, and he went on to earn his B.S. from the school in 1965.From there, he spent three years as an assistant coach at Cleveland (Tenn.) High School before heading to Alabama and the beginning of his collegiate coaching career.While at UA, he also served as the head wrestling coach for his entire 11-year stint in Tuscaloosa.Tanara
is married to the former Charlotte Gibson, and the couple has two children, Julie and Jimmy