UT Football Assistant Coach’s Alaska Background


OK, I’m a little biased in posting this because I’m a massive college football fan – and I used to work in Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of the University of Arkansas, whose fans even as I write this in May are probably combing over backup tight ends and long snapper prospects who will help the beloved Razorbacks. I know this because I had to write about and listen to discussions about backup tight ends and long snappers in my job!

So here is a cool feature story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on the University of Tennessee assistant football coach Brian Niedermeyer, who has quite a fascinating Alaska background, one that made it complicated for him to pursue football.  Here’s Times Free Press reporter David Cobb with more:

Before Brian Niedermeyer ever wore a pair of shoulder pads, he spent his summers during middle school sorting salmon in the commercial fishing industry on the banks of Bristol Bay in an area of southwestern Alaska accessible only by boat or plane.

More recently, Tennessee’s 29-year-old first-year tight ends coach slogged through the college football ranks to build a prototypical rèsumè that made him deserving of a full-time opportunity on Jeremy Pruitt’s staff.

His personal background just happens to be anything but standard for an assistant football coach in the Southeastern Conference.

Niedermeyer never would have played football if not for a decision made by his mother, Kate, as Brian finished middle school in the rural Alaskan town of King Salmon, about 4,000 miles from Tennessee. …

Back in Alaska, Niedermeyer’s former coaches are thrilled for him.

“I’ve been in this game for almost 40 years, and he puts me to shame in some things,” Shackelford said. “What has really set him apart and what people see in him is he has that old country work ethic. He’s like an Alaskan country boy.”

Shackelford credits that to Niedermeyer’s upbringing in a remote fishing village.

“He had to learn how take care of himself, and he had to learn how to get along with a lot of different people, which does him well at Tennessee,” Shackelford said.

It’s a really fun read and we wish Coach Niedermeyer the best of luck with the Vols. And we know he’ll coach up the backup tight end!