When the Volunteers initially hired Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, his first hire was Chris Spognardi. Jones and Spognardi have worked together for a decade but as of Tuesday night, their working relationship in Knoxville has reportedly come to an end.

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Tennessee sports betting officially launched on November 1, 2020. Tennessee was the first SEC state to legalize sports betting.

According to sources of John Brice of GoVols247, Spognardi was ‘relieved of his duties’ late Tuesday and has been put on administrative leave. Serving as Tennessee’s football operations director, Spognardi could still return pending a university review of the situation. 

Spognardi is a graduate of 2008 graduate of Central Michigan and worked for Jones at his previous two coaching stops of Cincinnati and CMU. According to his Tennessee bio, Spognardi ‘Oversees the Vols football operations and works behind-the-scenes in all aspects of the program.’

According to Brice, Spognardi was not present for Tennessee’s early morning practice – which is atypical behavior for the Tennessee assistant.