Programs tend to hire coaches who provide them with the quality most lacking in the coaches they replaced. Tennessee's basketball program can vouch for that.
When it fired laid-back coach Wade Houston, it replaced him with Kevin O'Neill, a human volcano that was never dormant.
O'Neill was an excellent coach except when the ball was in his team's hands.
When he left, UT replaced a defensive-minded coach with an offensive-minded coach.
There was more to the transition from O'Neill to Jerry Green.
O'Neill preferred to keep a tight grip on his team. Green was more adept at rolling the ball onto the floor and getting out of the way.
For all of his success, Green rubbed fans the wrong way.
So UT replaced him with Buzz Peterson, one of the most likable coaches you will ever meet. He also was laid-back.
His successor, Bruce Pearl, is anything but laid-back.
If you apply the same hiring theory to UT football, what would you look for in Phillip Fulmer's replacement?
UT's program obviously needs more discipline. And its players need to be made more accountable for their actions on and off the field. So maybe you would look for a taskmaster.
But there is another shortcoming that must be addressed. UT ranks 116th out of 119 Division I-A teams in total offense.
Maybe that explains why I've had so many e-mails in favor of hiring South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.
They don't care that he's 63 or that he tormented UT for so many years in his coaching heyday at Florida. They care about his offense.
That also helps explain the interest in Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.
I've heard negative comments about Leach in conjunction with the UT job: "He's too quirky." "He wouldn't fit in Knoxville."
Leach is a native Californian who grew up in Wyoming, where he was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has a law degree from Pepperdine University, is obsessed with pirates and never played a down of college football.
Oh, one other thing: His offense averages 566.3 yards - or about 300 more yards per game than the Vols. That alone makes him worthy of consideration.
You can't fault UT for wanting to hire North Carolina coach Butch Davis. But if the interest isn't mutual, then the Vols at least should do their homework on Leach.
He has never had a losing season in nine years at Texas Tech and is averaging almost nine wins per season for the last seven years. Moreover, his innovative offense is about as far removed from UT's offense as a space shuttle is from a horse and buggy.
UT's offense needs more than a makeover. It needs a transplant.
So if you can't get Davis, check out Leach. And if it works out, how hard would it be to convert the Vol Navy to pirate ships?
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.