Tracy Rocker, an All-American at Auburn and an assistant coach on that school’s BCS championship team last fall, joined the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday as defensive line coach.
“This is something that I dreamed about, reaching the top of the line in the football world,” Rocker said in a release announcing the move. “Growing up you dream about playing in the NFL and once I made the transition to the coaching world, this was the ultimate goal.
“Now it is up to me to prove myself at this level.”
Rocker is a veteran of 17 years as a college assistant, the last two with Auburn.
Prior to that, he worked at Ole Miss, Arkansas, Cincinnati and Troy. At every stop, he helped develop NFL players, including Demarcus Ware, Osi Umenyiora, Jamaal Anderson, Greg Hardy and most recently Nick Fairly, considered by some to be the top prospect in the 2011 draft class.
He replaces Jim Washburn, who joined the Titans in 1999 and left recently to take a similar position with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I realize I have big shoes to fill and have a lot of respect for Coach Washburn and what he got from his players,” Rocker said. “There is nothing that says you can’t follow up a great coach with another great coach and that is what I will work to achieve.”
Rocker is the first person hired by coach Mike Munchak who does not have previous ties to the franchise.
“I really like the way Tracy has worked his way up the coaching ladder after being such a successful player,” Munchak said. “He has shown the ability to develop players at all of his stops, which is a testament to him being a great teacher. He is a rare combination of a great player who becomes a great teacher. He has a passion for the game and has shown the ability to relate to his players.”