Jon Tenuta is the associate head coach for the defense and the defensive coordinator. Tenuta joined Mike London's coaching staff on Jan. 3, 2013 after three seasons at NC State. The UVa alum returns to Charlottesville for the first time in a working capacity since being a graduate assistant for the Cavaliers in 1981 and 1982. Tenuta also worked with the linebackers in 2013 and 2014, but will coach the safeties in 2015.
Entering his 35th season of collegiate coaching, Tenuta has a wealth of FBS coaching experience, including being the defensive coordinator at various BCS stops: Kansas State, Ohio State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. Tenuta also served Marshall and SMU as defensive coordinator as well during the 1980s and has served as a defensive coordinator in 16 of his 33 seasons as a collegiate coach.
In 2014 Tenuta's defense featured seven starters that earned All-ACC honors. Highlighting the defensive was one of the ACC's best safeties units. Freshman All-American Quin Blanding was No. 2 in the ACC with 123 tackles and Anthony Harris was No. 6 with 108 stops. No other safety duo in the league combined for more tackles. Blanding led the nation's freshmen in tackles and was named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year for his exploits. Blanding and Harris earned All-ACC honors along with Maurice Canady, Henry Coley, David Dean, Eli Harold and Max Valles.
During Tenuta's first season on Grounds he oversaw a defense that featured first-team All-American Anthony Harris, who led the nation with eight interceptions. The All-ACC first-team honoree was third on the team with 80 tackles in 2013. Under Tenuta's tutelage defensive lineman Brent Urban led the nation in pass breaks for a defensive lineman, despite missing four games with an injury.
Prior to UVa Tenuta came from NC State, where his defense included David Amerson, who led the nation in 2011 with 13 INTs.
Tenuta has coached in 16 bowl games during his career and served as the interim head coach for Georgia Tech at the 2007 Humanitarian Bowl. After he arrived at Notre Dame, he helped the Irish defense improve in all defensive categories and coached 2012 Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti-Teo to a freshman All-American season.
While at Georgia Tech, 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 to NFL free-agent contracts. in the six years Tenuta was in Atlanta, his defenses were ranked nationally in total, scoring and rushing defense, including 20th or better against the run the last five years.
In 2001, Tenuta guided the ACC's top-rated defense at North Carolina during his only season in Chapel Hill. Tenuta spent five seasons at Ohio State and he helped develop several All-Americans and first-round NFL draft picks. Ohio State's pass defense was consistently ranked among the nation's best during that span.
In 1989, he was an assistant coach at SMU, where he helped Forrest Gregg rebuild the program. Tenuta also has had stops at Maryland (graduate assistant), Vanderbilt (DBs) and Oklahoma (DBs).
Tenuta has coached more than 30 players who went on to play professional football. A three-year letterwinner as a defensive back at Virginia (1978, `79, `80), he won the team's John Acree Memorial Football Trophy and Kevin Bowie Award. Tenuta graduated with a degree in physical education and health in 1982. He met his wife, Dori, while at UVa. They have three sons: Zach, Matt and Luke. Son Matt is a left-handed pitcher in the Kansas City Royals' organization and opened the 2014 season with the Lexington Legends (Ky.) of the Class-A South Atlantic League.