Jon Tenuta (born February 25, 1957) is a football coach who was previously the defensive coordinator for the Virginia Cavaliers. He attended Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, OH. In his senior season, Upper Arlington played in the state championship game and lost to Warren Harding. He finished his college playing career at University of Virginia. High School nickname was "Punchy," after the Hawaiian Punch character.
On January 31, 2008, Tenuta was named assistant head coach/defense at the University of Notre Dame succeeding Bill Lewis. Tenuta coached the linebackers and ran the defense for three seasons with the Irish. He was hired by Charlie Weis after having worked at Georgia Tech since 2002.
Tenuta is the former associate head coach and defensive coordinator of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. In the wake of the November 26, 2007 firing of Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey, Tenuta was named Interim Head Coach, but was not retained by incoming head coach Paul Johnson. He also coached the Yellow Jackets' defensive backs and was one of the highest paid coordinators in college football. Tenuta's position at Notre Dame ended following the firing of Weis after the 2009 season ended. Incoming Head Coach Brian Kelly chose not to retain Tenuta and replaced him with his then– Cincinnati defensive coordinator Bob Diaco.
January 11, 2017, he was named defensive back coach for University of Cincinnati, under head coach Luke Fickel.
2008 Employment rumors
According to the several sources including the Detroit News, Jon Tenuta was believed to be a candidate, among many, for the head coaching job at Michigan State. Michigan State University eventually hired former Cincinnati head coach Mark Dantonio.
Over the winter off season of 2008, Tenuta's name was speculatively involved in several high profile Division I program's coaching changes. According to several sources on ESPN News and ESPN College Gameday, Jon Tenuta was rumored to be joining current LSU head coach Les Miles as the defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan. However, Les Miles later dispelled the rumours of his defection and signed an extension with LSU, leading to rumors that Tenuta would join Miles at LSU to replace Bo Pelini. Pelini had been hired as head coach for the University of Nebraska after the end of LSU's regular season. Pelini remained with the Tigers to coach the LSU defense against Ohio State in the BCS National Championship.
Other speculation at the time was that Tenuta may join Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, to replace former defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix (who left for Ole Miss), but South Carolina decided to hire former University of Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder for the job, VanGorder left that position without coaching a game to become the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator. Ultimately, Notre Dame hired Jon to replace Bill Lewis as Assistant Head Coach (Defense) and Linebackers Coach.
University of Illinois
On January 3, 2012 it was announced that Tenuta was hired as assistant coach at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign by new head coach Tim Beckman, however Tenuta announced on January 4, 2012 that he would remain at NC State.
University of Virginia
On January 3, 2013, it was announced that Tenuta and former North Carolina State head coach Tom O'Brien would be joining the coaching staff at the University of Virginia. Tenuta served as the defensive coordinator for the Cavaliers until 2015.