KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart has been ensconced in his office for most of this week, which means he hasn’t taken his coaching search to the road as quickly as expected.
That could mean he’s conducting only background and phone checks right now. It might mean he’ll do all or virtually all of his in-person interviews in New York at the National Football Foundation ceremony. Or it could mean he has other tricks up his sleeve we don’t know about, like late-night airport runs.
But we’ll stick to the concrete stuff for right now. With Jon Gruden possibly out of the picture — at least for now — much of the focus turns to two candidates in Florida who have been mentioned most prominently — Miami’s Al Golden and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher.
We added another fairly strong denial to the catalogue of denials this morning. Miami’s AD doesn’t seem concerned about losing his coach.
As for Fisher, things might get interesting when FSU wraps up its expected ACC championship over Georgia Tech this weekend. Both Tennessee and Auburn are expected to pursue Fisher. Whether he ultimately wants to leave or is merely using this for leverage at his (really, really good) current job is unclear.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Let’s quickly recap Tuesday night’s Grumors for those who were fortunate enough to sleep through it.
Late Tuesday, Memphis television station WREG posted a report saying that Jon Gruden had an offer from Tennessee that would include a partial stake in the Cleveland Browns franchise recently purchased by longtime UT supporter Jimmy Haslam III.
As you might expect, Twitter exploded.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The biggest update today concerns Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.
If he were working from agent Jimmy Sexton’s playbook, Fisher would have offered some vague comment about his commitment to Florida State while keeping the door to other jobs wide open. Instead, he was relatively adamant
about staying at FSU. So maybe he just got off-script.
In any case, we’re not removing him from our list as we enter what is likely to be the first real week of actual “searching” by Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart. Regular seasons are wrapping up and contact can now begin.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The market for a new coach just got a bit more crowded.
As expected, Auburn fired coach Gene Chizik on Sunday, one day after the Tigers ended a 3-9 season with a 49-0 loss to Alabama.
North Carolina State fired Tom O’Brien. One of Tennessee’s five wins this season came in the season opener against the Wolf Pack.
Tennessee’s search is likely to begin in earnest this week now that some regular seasons have come to end in college football. The refreshed list is below…
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After a break for Thanksgiving, our daily look at Tennessee’s coaching search is back.
The real action will begin next week when the regular season comes to an end for many candidates.
We’ve added four names to the bottom of our newly refreshed list. These coaches are outstanding candidates but we don’t expect them to leave their current situations.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — In an un-aired portion of an interview with ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, NFL analyst Peter King says he believes ESPN would be upset if Jon Gruden left Monday Night Football to return to coaching.
The interview was discovered by Deadspin
“I think at some point Jon Gruden definitely will go back to the sideline,” King said. “I think the bosses at ESPN would be miffed, to put it mildly, if it happened this year. They dumped Jaws (Ron Jaworski) out of the booth to go totally with Gruden. If he takes off this year there would be a lot of dissatisfaction, naturally.”
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Speculation continues to swirl around Jon Gruden as Tennessee’s coaching search enters Day 3.
Whatever the outcome, Gruden will have the opportunity to be a very rich man if he decides to leave the cozy confines of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast booth.
At least one report
said Arkansas reached out to Gruden on Tuesday. Commercial Appeal sports writer Ron Higgins
tweeted that Gruden had “supposedly” rebuffed the deal, and Tennessee was preparing its own “mind-blowing” offer to lure Gruden to Knoxville.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Assuming the Vols target a sitting head coach, there probably won’t be much movement in Tennessee’s search until after the regular season ends.
That’s why most of this week, like Day 1
, will probably pass uneventfully.
There’s always the Jon Gruden factor, of course. One Arkansas reporter said the Razorbacks have already made an offer
. Will Dave Hart have the money
to get in a bidding war?
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart won’t be taking any public input on his search for Tennessee’s next head football coach, but that won’t stop the speculation.
So as the most important coaching search of Hart’s tenure gets underway today, we’re unveiling our Names to Watch list.
Let’s make this clear: This list is highly speculative. If we have actual concrete news about a coaching candidate, we’ll post a story about it on GoVolsXtra, link it here and then add or subtract the coach from the list accordingly.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — One of the top prospects in Tennessee’s potential class of 2013 has told the Vols he is looking elsewhere.
The decommitment of Kameron Miles
doesn’t come as a huge surprise, and it might have happened even without Tennessee’s ongoing coaching questions. But the uncertainty surrounding Derek Dooley has made this a difficult climate in which to recruit.