Skip to simplified nav

Jon Tenuta
Jon  Tenuta

Associate Head Coach for Defense/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

Alma Mater:
Virginia (1982)


No. 2 Oregon Surges Past Virginia

Kevin Parks led Virginia with 60 yards rushing, and Jake McGee caught eight passes, but for just 53 yards.


Catching Up With Mike London

By Jeff White (


Catching Up With Mike London

By Jeff White (


Final Episode of "The Building of a Program" Debuts Friday Night

Show will replay on Saturday on local Charlottesville TV stations


'Hoos Remain Work in Progress After Spring Game

By Jeff White (

Jon Tenuta concluded his third season as the associate head coach for the defense and the defensive coordinator in 2015. Tenuta returned to Virginia 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 coached the safeties in 2015.

With 35 seasons 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 19 of his 34 seasons as a collegiate coach.

Tenuta’s 2015 defense was led by first-team All-ACC honorees Quin Blanding and Micah Kiser. It’s the first time UVA has had two sophomores earn first-team All-ACC honors since Terry Kirby and Chris Slade in 1990. The duo finished the regular season No. 1 and No. 2 in the ACC in tackles, the only set of teammates across the 10 FBS conferences to accomplish the feat. Through the regular season Kiser led the ACC with 117 tackles, while Blanding finished No. 2 for the second year in a row with 115 tackles. Defensive tackle David Dean earned All-ACC honorable mention in 2015 after concluding his career No. 4 all-time among UVA’s defensive tackles with 25.5 tackles for loss.

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. Blanding, a Freshman All-American, 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 Harris, a first-team All-American, 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 2015 season with the Lexington Legends (Ky.) of the Class-A South Atlantic League.

Coach Tenuta
Hometown Columbus, Ohio
High School Upper Arlington HS, Columbus, Ohio, 1975
College Virginia, 1982
Family wife, Dori; three sons Zach, Matt and Luke
Playing Experience
Virginia (1978-80)
Coaching Experience
1981-82 - Virginia
Graduate Assistant
1983 - Maryland
Graduate Assistant
1984-85 - Vanderbilt
Defensive Backs
1986 - Marshall
Defensive Backs
1987 - Marshall
Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1988 - Kansas State
Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line
1989 - SMU
Defensive Backs
1990 - SMU
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
1991-94 - SMU
Defensive Coordinator
1995 - Oklahoma
Defensive Backs
1996-99 - Ohio State
Defensive Backs
2000 - Ohio State
Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2001 - North Carolina
Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2002-07 - Georgia Tech
Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
2008 - Notre Dame
Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers
2009 - Notre Dame
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2010-11 - NC State
2012 - NC State
Assistant Head Coach for Defense/Linebackers
2013-14 - Virginia
Associate Head Coach for Defense/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2015-present - Virginia
Associate Head Coach for Defense/Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
Postseason Experience
Citrus Bowl (1983)
I-AA National Championship (1987)
Rose Bowl (1997)
Sugar Bowl (1998)
Outback Bowl (2001)
Peach Bowl (2001)
Silicon Valley Classic (2002)
Humanitarian Bowl (2003)
Champs Sports Bowl (2004)
Emerald Bowl (2005)
Toyota Gator Bowl (2006)
Humanitarian Bowl (2007)
Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl (2008)
Champs Sports Bowl (2010)
Belk Bowl (2011)
Music City Bowl (2012)
Former Prominent Players Coached
Keyaron Fox (Georgia Tech)
Tony Hargrove (Georgia Tech)
Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech)
Dawan Landry (Georgia Tech)
Darryl Richard (Georgia Tech)
Daryl Smith (Georgia Tech)
Vance Walker (Georgia Tech)
Phillip Wheeler (Georgia Tech)
Gerris Wilkinson (Georgia Tech)
James Butler (Georgia Tech)
Chris Reese (Georgia Tech)
Gary Guyton (Georgia Tech)
Julius Peppers (North Carolina)
Ryan Sims (North Carolina)
David Thorton (North Carolina)
Dexter Reid (North Carolina)
Michael Waddell (North Carolina)
Nate Irving (NC State)
David Amerson (NC State)
Audie Cole (NC State)
Shawn Springs (Ohio State)
Rob Kelly (Ohio State)
Damon Moore (Ohio State)
Antoine Winfield (Ohio State)
Ahmed Plummer (Ohio State)
Gary Berry (Ohio State)
Nate Clements (Ohio State)
Derek Ross (Ohio State)
Donnie Nickey (Ohio State)
Mike Doss (Ohio State)
Darius Johnson (Oklahoma)
Cedric Jones (Oklahoma)
Marcello Simmons (SMU)
Eli Harold (Virginia)
Anthony Harris (Virginia)
Brent Urban (Virginia)
Max Valles (Virginia)


Top Videos
Jeff White
Hilmar Jonsson
NCAA Quest Begins for Iceland Native
Track & Field, Cross Country
A three-time ACC champion in the hammer throw, Virginia junior Hilmar Jonsson competes Thursday at the NCAA East Preliminary meet in Tampa, Fla.
Daniel Lynch
Lynch Shines Again in His Season Finale
In what was probably his final appearance for UVA, junior left-hander Daniel Lynch struck out seven Tuesday against Florida State in the ACC tournament.
Kent Merritt
UVA Pioneer Ready for Next Chapter
Kent Merritt, who's retiring next month from his position in the history department, was among the first African-American football players at Virginia.

Jeff White

Director of News Content

A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.

More Headlines
Online Stores
Cavalier Auctions
Cavalier Team Shop