Fighting Irish players meet with media before heading out for first practice of 2009 season
Head coach Charlie Weis and his staff spoke during Friday's football media day on the Notre Dame campus.
Has served as defensive coordinator for 15 previous years in his career at six schools: Georgia Tech (2002-07), North Carolina (2001), Ohio State (2000), SMU (1990-94), Kansas State (1988) and Marshall (1987). In 2008, Tenuta had 26 former players on NFL rosters.
In his first year at Notre Dame, he helped the Irish defense allow 61.27 fewer rushing yards per game and improve its ranking from 96th in '07 to 45th in '08.
The Irish scoring defense also improved in '08, allowing 6.6 points less per game than in '07, the 22nd-best improvement in the nation.
Tenuta helped guide a defense that ranked in the top 50 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense and rush defense - the first time that had happened at Notre Dame since 2002.
Under his watch, the Irish linebackers combined to make 220 tackles, including 22 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in '08. Three of the top five tacklers on the team came from Tenuta's linebacker corps.
Maurice Crum Jr. led the linebackers with 65 tackles in '08 and became the ninth player in school history to reach 300 career tackles.
Harrison Smith had never played linebacker before but with Tenuta's guidance, Smith - a converted safety - led the Irish with 8.5 tackles for loss and tied for team-high honors with 3.5 sacks.
Brian Smith moved to middle linebacker in '08 and recorded career highs in every statistical category while starting 10 of 11 games played.
Prior to Notre Dame, Tenuta coached at Georgia Tech for six seasons where 18 Yellow Jacket defenders earned first- or second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition, and 18 players from his first four units were either drafted or signed NFL free-agent contracts.
In his last five seasons at Georgia Tech, Tenuta's defense ranked in the top 30 nationally in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense, including 20th or better against the run all five years.
In 2001, Tenuta guided the ACC's top-rated defense statistically at North Carolina. Tar Heel defensive end Julius Peppers and defensive tackle Ryan Sims were two of the top three defensive players selected in the 2002 NFL draft.
From 1996-2000, he helped develop several Ohio State defensive backs into NFL players, including first-round draft picks Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Ahmed Plummer and Nate Clements. Ohio State's pass defense was consistently ranked among the nation's best during this span.
Tenuta began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Virginia and Maryland and then served as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt, Marshall, Kansas State, SMU and Oklahoma.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Tenuta is a graduate of Virginia. He lettered three years as a defensive back for the Cavaliers and earned the team's John Acree Memorial Football Trophy and Kevin Bowie Award.
Born Feb. 25, 1957, he and his wife Dori are the parents of three sons: Zach, Matt and Luke