MEMPHIS, TENN. -- Memphis coach Tommy West fired defensive
coordinator Joe Lee Dunn on Monday in what he called a business
Dunn had been defensive coordinator since spring 2003, but the
Tigers are 1-2 and blew a 13-point lead in losing 35-20 at East
Carolina last weekend. West said the decision was not based on the
East Carolina loss but on philosophies and the Tigers' recent play.
"I didn't feel that at this time we were moving forward on the
defensive side of the ball. When I feel that way and I can't be
positive about what we are doing, then I've got to make changes,"
West said at his weekly news conference.
"This decision was based on a confidence issue about our
Dunn had been defensive coordinator at Memphis between 1989 and
1991 under Chuck Stobart. He also has had that same job at
Mississippi, Arkansas and Mississippi State.
The Tigers currently rank 65th in total defense, giving up 333
yards per game. But they are 102nd in rushing defense and allowing
185 yards per game.
West said he will take over the defense now through the rest of
"Obviously this is not a good situation, but we do have two
weeks before we play our next game. That's not enough time to put
in a defensive system, but it is enough time to put in a defensive
plan for that game," he said.