New Castle News

October 6, 2012

SEC Success: New Castle native Brian Wajert on Tennessee football staff

David Burcham
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Brian Wajert’s job is to help configure a plan to shut down potent football offenses in the Southeastern Conference.

It might be a easier to climb Mount Everest in high heels.

But the former New Castle High School football player embraces the challenge in his role as administrative intern for the defense on the University of Tennessee coaching staff. As a quality control coach, Wajert is not on the field during game days. His duties include breaking down films of UT opponents and helping compile scouting reports and game plans.

Wajert said the staff is busy 16 to 18 hours each day, seven days a week. “I’ve never worked so hard and in such detail as we do in the SEC,” Wajert said. “The hours we put in are incredible.

“The Akron game ended about 11 p.m. (three weeks ago) and we were in the office at midnight to start preparing for Georgia,” he said. “The film has to be broken down before the coaches meet at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.”

Wajert’s previous most high profile job came as a member of the University of Pittsburgh coaching staff with Sal Sunseri in 1992. The two also worked together at Alabama A&M. So when Sunseri was named defensive coordinator for the Vols, Wajert got an invitation to come aboard.

Wajert has coached several places, including Salisbury State, Md., Benedict College and Southern Utah. He served as head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Maryville, Tenn. College, located just a few miles from the UT campus.

But Wajert said there’s no place like the SEC. “The athletes in this conference are amazing. If you think you are one of the best, the SEC is where you prove it.”

“It’s been so exciting with 105,000 people in the stands for every home game and watching the Vol Walk (when UT players walk through the crowd into the stadium).”

The Vols, who are idle this week, have a 3-2 record after narrow losses to top 10 powers Florida and Georgia. Next week, they travel to unbeaten Mississippi State before facing  No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 South Carolina. Tennessee is still waiting for its signature victory in two years under head coach Derek Dooley. “I thought we had one at Georgia,” said Wajert, referring to the game two weeks ago when the Vols rallied from a 27-10 deficit to take the lead before falling, 51-44.

His father, Tom, a retired pharmacist, plans to travel to Knoxville later this month to watch his first Vols’ game.

Brian said he gets back to New Castle about twice a year, including around Thanksgiving. That won’t be happening this year because the Vols will be playing Vanderbilt that weekend.

Wajert played quarterback and fullback for Lindy Lauro’s ‘Canes during the 1980 season.

Wajert got the coaching bug at Hobart College, where he served as a student assistant after a knee injury ended his playing days.

“I really enjoyed it,” said Wajert, who later entered the work force as a manager trainee with Pier One.

“Lindy was a great influence on me, right down to being on time and doing things the right way,” Wajert said.