Jason Tarver, one of the brightest defensive coaches in the nation with experience in both collegiate and professional football, joined the Commodores in 2018. He enters his second year as defensive coordinator and will mentor Vanderbilt inside linebackers in 2019.
Tarver, who worked with Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason at Stanford University in 2011, brings 16 years of NFL experience to Nashville after working with the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders.
During his career, Tarver has worked with many outstanding coaches, including Mason and David Shaw at Stanford, Bill Walsh, Steve Mariucci, John McVay, Mike Singletary, Chip Kelly and Kyle Shanahan at San Francisco, Dennis Allen of Oakland, and Bob Toledo at UCLA.
Tarver comes from the 49ers where he served as a senior defensive assistant (OLBs)in 2017. He also worked with outside linebackers in 2016 and linebackers in 2015 during his three-year San Francisco stint.
From 2012-14, Tarver served as defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders under head coach Dennis Allen. Tarver’s innovations helped the Raider defense to overall improvement in his first two years with the team.
In 2011, Tarver joined the Stanford staff, working as a co-coordinator with Mason under Shaw. That year, he and Mason molded the Cardinal defense into one of the Pac-12’s top units, ranking either first or second in the conference in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and quarterback sacks among other categories.
From 2001-10, Tarver worked on the San Francisco staff. He joined the 49ers as an offensive quality control from 2001-03, moved to an assistant running backs position in 2004, then became an outside linebacker coach from 2005-10.
Tarver served as a graduate assistant at UCLA from 1998-2000.
Tarver started his career as a defensive and special teams coach at West Valley (Calif.) College from 1996-97.
Tarver, a native of Northern California, entered Santa Clara (Calif.) University in 1993 on scholarship but the football program was cut by university officials just months later. He later played the 1994-95 seasons as a defensive back at West Valley (Calif.) College before returning to Santa Clara to complete his undergraduate degree.
Tarver earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Santa Clara in 1997, and a master’s degree from UCLA in 2000.
Tarver and his wife, Katie, are the parents of two boys, Merrick and Keegan.
Tarver’s Coaching Career:
2019 – Vanderbilt – Defensive Coordinator, Inside Linebackers Coach
2018 – Vanderbilt – Defensive Coordinator, Outside Linebackers Coach
2015-17 – San Francisco (NFL) – Senior Defensive Assistant
2012-14 – Oakland (NFL) – Defensive Coordinator
2011 – Stanford – Co-Defensive Coordinator
2005-10 – San Francisco (NFL) – Outside Linebacker Coach
2004 – San Francisco (NFL) – Assistant Running Backs Coach
2001-03 – San Francisco (NFL) – Offensive Quality Control
1998-2000 – UCLA – Graduate Assistant
1996-97 – West Valley (Calif.) College – Special Teams and Defensive Assistant