Vols' search for Dooley replacement continues

Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong speaks with reporters Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. Strong announced this morning that he has turned down the head coaching job offer from the University of Tennessee and will stay at Louisville. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong speaks with reporters Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. Strong announced this morning that he has turned down the head coaching job offer from the University of Tennessee and will stay at Louisville. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's coaching search is nearly three weeks old, and the Volunteers still haven't found someone to accept the challenge of turning this program around.

Tennessee contacted ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, but it was announced Nov. 30 that the former Super Bowl-winning coach wasn't interested. The Volunteers then pursued Charlie Strong, who said Thursday he had turned down their offer and would stay at Louisville.

Of the four Southeastern Conference schools to make coaching changes, only Tennessee hasn't filled its vacancy. The Vols are trying to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired Nov. 18 after going 15-21 overall and posting a losing record in each of his three seasons.

Kentucky selected Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops last week to replace Joker Phillips. Arkansas and Auburn made their picks Tuesday. Arkansas lured Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin, while Auburn hired Arkansas State's Gus Malzahn.

Strong indicated Tennessee contacted him Friday, the day after Louisville closed the regular season with a Big East-clinching 20-17 victory over Rutgers. Strong said he met with a Tennessee official Monday and received an offer Tuesday. Strong said his relationship with his players and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich caused him to stay.

"Some people will say, 'How do you not go to the Southeastern Conference?'" Strong said. "But I keep going back to (that) it's about relationships."

Tennessee officials have said they wouldn't comment on the dynamics of the search until it was complete, but athletic director Dave Hart noted the challenges facing the program at his news conference announcing Dooley's dismissal. Hart also said at the time that he had no timetable on when he'd want to pick a coach and that it was more important to get "the best person that we can possibly attract."

The Vols are seeking their fourth coach in a six-year stretch, not including offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's stint as interim head coach in the 2012 season finale after Dooley's dismissal. Phillip Fulmer was fired in 2008. Lane Kiffin stayed one year before USC hired him away. Dooley's tenure lasted three years.

"We haven't had success in five to six years, and we have had five very difficult years," Hart said. "I look at that from a positive perspective. I always put myself in the other role. Trade places. (If) I am the candidate, how am I viewing this? I would view it as a heck of an opportunity. If the support is there — and it is — I would have every level of confidence that I can turn it around."

Hart had indicated at that news conference that head coaching experience was "critically important" and that he wanted a coach who "knows the difficulty of climbing the ladder in the SEC."

This search's length has subjected Tennessee to some unwanted national attention. The hashtag "TurnedDownTennessee" was trending on Twitter late Wednesday night.

But a long search sometimes pays off.

Vanderbilt's James Franklin was hired about three weeks after the firing of Robbie Caldwell and emerged as the front-runner only after Malzahn withdrew his name from consideration. Nick Saban took over Alabama's program about five weeks after the firing of Mike Shula and nearly a month after Rich Rodriguez turned down the job.

Hart can only hope his search turns out equally well.

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Comments » 145

jhnshft writes:

Looking for love in all the wrong places...

John_10065 writes:

I think we ought to go interim coach for as long as it takes to prove to the rest of the nation that we're actually serious about rebuilding this program. We fired two NC winning coaches in the past 20 years.

I can think of only one other program that fired a winning coach that had a NC in his pocket. That was Tubby Smith at UK. That's who we are people, the SEC football version of UK. Win championships or be fired. Who the heck would want to come here and be on the chopping block the moment they didn't compete for the SEC East crown or the SEC crown?

We're a bunch of spoiled brats who think we are entitled to 10 wins seasons every year. We deserve to reside in the cellar for a decade. Maybe after then when we finally get a decent up and coming coach, we might appreciate him.

rkw2 writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Looks like someone's got a man crush on the "Zooker"...ya keep bringin' him up...

cvol1990 writes:

This story adds nothing.

Everybody needs to relax. This is going to work out, and we will get a good coach.

redmcman writes:

The UT job is a good job. Best conference in the country, tradition, great fan base, potential to be most popular person in the state. You will have the opportunity to win. The problem appears to be the ineptitude of the people doing the search. I dont think Dave Hart wanted to do this search. A job as important as UT there should have been more feelers put out before Dooley was fired.

vol98champ writes:

Strong got what he wanted. Eight years and a lot of money in a 3 star conference. Easy money versus hard work.

orangepeel writes:

Can not believe that UT would hire a coach that Dooley actually beat. If we have sunk that low bring back Fulmer and see what he can do. Butch jones is not the answer.

jkleno#393970 writes:

in response to John_10065:

I think we ought to go interim coach for as long as it takes to prove to the rest of the nation that we're actually serious about rebuilding this program. We fired two NC winning coaches in the past 20 years.

I can think of only one other program that fired a winning coach that had a NC in his pocket. That was Tubby Smith at UK. That's who we are people, the SEC football version of UK. Win championships or be fired. Who the heck would want to come here and be on the chopping block the moment they didn't compete for the SEC East crown or the SEC crown?

We're a bunch of spoiled brats who think we are entitled to 10 wins seasons every year. We deserve to reside in the cellar for a decade. Maybe after then when we finally get a decent up and coming coach, we might appreciate him.

Fulmer and ......Summitt?

Orangeblood64 writes:

I think Hart should contact all the coach's he helped get raises for and get a cut of the raise. then we really would have stupid money for a new coach.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

LMAO!! Thx for the link..I hate to admit it, but that is very close to the scenario in our household a week ago..

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lil' zz, BIOYA!

wilk58 writes:

in response to John_10065:

I think we ought to go interim coach for as long as it takes to prove to the rest of the nation that we're actually serious about rebuilding this program. We fired two NC winning coaches in the past 20 years.

I can think of only one other program that fired a winning coach that had a NC in his pocket. That was Tubby Smith at UK. That's who we are people, the SEC football version of UK. Win championships or be fired. Who the heck would want to come here and be on the chopping block the moment they didn't compete for the SEC East crown or the SEC crown?

We're a bunch of spoiled brats who think we are entitled to 10 wins seasons every year. We deserve to reside in the cellar for a decade. Maybe after then when we finally get a decent up and coming coach, we might appreciate him.

Your memory is short. Gene Chizik 2 years ago Auburn

mikkim writes:

The trustees need to meet post-search to deal with the total ineptitude of both Cheek and Hart. Why would an Athletic Director ever be hired at a University that had an impending coach on the bubble who had never conducted a big-time college search before? Additionally, allowing him to move forward without the services of a search firm was unthinkable. The fact is Dave Hart has shown arrogance and poor judgement in many of his decisions and as for Cheek, "the fish rots from the head". This is no longer about a football coach, this is now about two individuals that continue to inflict embarrassment on a great university. The result of Hart's short tenure has been equal to that of the Hamilton's incompetence...2 lawsuits, the mangling of the dismissal of Pat Summit, and the slow trigger on Dooley with no real plan to replace him. Not to mention the wonderful sales job he has done at the Dooley news conference basically informing the world the the athletic department was basically broke. Is it any wonder why he can't close a deal.

VFLVFLVFL writes:

NOT BUTCH JONES. Horrible hire!!!! Butch Davis, Hue Jackson is reportedly showing interest. If not then make Greg Roman say no or Jim Mora jr. I got a list of 40 coaches and Butch Jones isn't on it. I'd rather have Tressel. I'd even rather have Tressel with a public announcement ftom tressell saying " we will cheat, good luck catching us bums. Peace out". That would be more acceptable than butch jones. Dooley 2.0

Vols20 writes:

in response to redmcman:

The UT job is a good job. Best conference in the country, tradition, great fan base, potential to be most popular person in the state. You will have the opportunity to win. The problem appears to be the ineptitude of the people doing the search. I dont think Dave Hart wanted to do this search. A job as important as UT there should have been more feelers put out before Dooley was fired.

Bullcrap! You don't put "feelers" out there. As an AD, you support your head coach while he is in the position. Coaches talk, man! If you start putting "feelers" out, coaches see you as a back stabber. Then, absolutely no one wants to come because your AD is a back stabber.

govolsgo8586 writes:

How in the world is Hart even considering Butch Jones he doesn't meet any of the criteria he said he was looking for. This guy is Dooley only with more wins than losses in a conference that doesn't even compare to the SEC.

I am also starting to not believe anything the media reports on this topic everything they have reported has been bogus for the most part.

John_10065 writes:

in response to jkleno#393970:

Fulmer and ......Summitt?

I was only thinking of one sport but now that you mention it, that makes 3 firings.

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

I guess we're down to Bobby

John_10065 writes:

in response to wilk58:

Your memory is short. Gene Chizik 2 years ago Auburn

WTF does Auburn have to do with UT?

NADA!!!

Vol_in_Mich writes:

I needed that! Funnier than heck.

bob.bigorange#605842 writes:

we have seen a circus the past couple days. We really don't need that - however, it is what it is. I don't understand why we now do a knee jerk reaction and hire a guy who has attracted offers from Purdue and Colorado. We don't need to hire anyone right now! step back and keep searching behind the scenes. Get the best guy out there if we have to wait. Someone who REALLY wants it and brings the experience to the table along with his name. Roman of SF is a great example. Go ask him before we sign up another 3rd tier coach such as Jones..............we are just hiring a coach to hire a coach..............might as well bring Dooley back...............

John_10065 writes:

in response to John_10065:

WTF does Auburn have to do with UT?

NADA!!!

P.S. Chizik had a lot more problems than a losing season. Far more than Majors or Fulmer and including Smith.

None of those three had a NCAA investigation hovering over their head and had a top 10 recruiting class with a 3 win season. We didn't have a talented a class on the field when either Fulmer or Majors got the ax. Majors deserved an opprotunity to exit gracefully and Fulmer should have never been hung out to dry in the middle of a season like Hammy did to him.

Both acts were cowardly and stunk of an adminstration with no respect for their own who played and coached on the checkboard. When we treat our own like that, why wouldn't an outsider have that on the back of their minds?

A goat in UT or a god elsewhere. That's exactly what Strong what thinking. Bank on it.

Vols_fan_27 writes:

Dooley and Fulmer are probably having a drink somewhere, counting their money and having a good laugh together... no matter who we hire, 50% are going to say it's a bad hire, 50% will be willing to give it a chance...GBO!

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

as a gater troll how would you know what the bammers think

John_10065 writes:

Just remember this....it isn't December the 13th yet!

The Grudometer is still stuck on 100!!!!!

P.S. Saban you are a SOB!

RockyBears2009 writes:

i said it on the other board, but if we're willing to spend $4million/year of a coach, why not go get the guy that's 83-8 in the last 7 seasons?? surely we could get chris petersen out of idaho for that kind of money...

illinoisvolfan writes:

Kinda puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?

reachkim00 writes:

Nobody wants to come to Tennessee and I LOVE it! Pay back for the wrong doing to our beloved Coach Pat Summitt. I hope the football program continues to fail while our Lady Vols continues to hang banners. GO LADY VOLS!!!

payton1 writes:

i vote chris peterson!!!!!

FanNotSheep writes:

Lots of coaches would be 83-8 over the past 7 years if they only played 8 good teams. Sorry but wins over S.W. Montana State ain't doing it for me. SEC experience please, or let's just go back to Fulmer. Or Majors. Hell what's Wade Houston doing?

CoverOrange writes:

So Charlie Strong didn't realize he had a relationship with his players and AD until after UT made an offer. Yeah. I think he enjoyed turning down a school that didn't call him four years ago.

lomas98 writes:

in response to John_10065:

I think we ought to go interim coach for as long as it takes to prove to the rest of the nation that we're actually serious about rebuilding this program. We fired two NC winning coaches in the past 20 years.

I can think of only one other program that fired a winning coach that had a NC in his pocket. That was Tubby Smith at UK. That's who we are people, the SEC football version of UK. Win championships or be fired. Who the heck would want to come here and be on the chopping block the moment they didn't compete for the SEC East crown or the SEC crown?

We're a bunch of spoiled brats who think we are entitled to 10 wins seasons every year. We deserve to reside in the cellar for a decade. Maybe after then when we finally get a decent up and coming coach, we might appreciate him.

Should hav gone interim route when kiffin left and just put kippy brown in charge. Equivalent of John L at Arkansas. Could have used that season to really conduct a search and not panic with Dooley hire.

Banner writes:

Why wouldn't have Hart (less) made the change with Dooley earlier? The candidate pool would have been deeper and the job would have had more glamour and appeal. Now we look stupid because all 4 sec schools have filled their jobs. Even Kentucky!!! this is basic 101 stuff. Hart has no business leading this search. You have to recruit to get a coach! You don't put out feelers. If you have a blank check in your hand and nobody wants the job what does that tell you?
1. UT sucks? No - it is a great school!
2. 3 million dollars per - 15 million guaranteed isn't attractive?
Or
3. Nobody in their right mind will get in bed with Hart and the debacle of an athletic department.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to John_10065:

WTF does Auburn have to do with UT?

NADA!!!

"I can think of only one other program that fired a winning coach that had a NC in his pocket."

That's what.

VOLNCAL writes:

in response to John_10065:

I think we ought to go interim coach for as long as it takes to prove to the rest of the nation that we're actually serious about rebuilding this program. We fired two NC winning coaches in the past 20 years.

I can think of only one other program that fired a winning coach that had a NC in his pocket. That was Tubby Smith at UK. That's who we are people, the SEC football version of UK. Win championships or be fired. Who the heck would want to come here and be on the chopping block the moment they didn't compete for the SEC East crown or the SEC crown?

We're a bunch of spoiled brats who think we are entitled to 10 wins seasons every year. We deserve to reside in the cellar for a decade. Maybe after then when we finally get a decent up and coming coach, we might appreciate him.

On the contrary, I would just be happy to atleast continue to beat Kentucky and Vandy and get enough wins to atleast make it to a bowl game. Mediocre is for the Sunbelt conference.

85sugar writes:

LOL Butch Jones LOL REALLY?? Trade Dooley for someone Dooley BLEW OUT.... LOL HEY HEY PAY HIM FOUR MILLION A YEAR WITH A 10 MILLION BUY OUT LOL HA HAAA HAAA, Dave Hart I know things, Very special things hah haaa halol what a Joke

CMKSIDESHOW writes:

We offered to Strong, he said NO!
We offered to Gundy , he said NO!
Gruden was never interested, and those that think HART blew it with Gruden need to get your heads out of the sand Gruden allowed it to go on so it could boost his ego and make a team in the NFL come calling for him bottom line he never was even interested so screw Jon Gruden.

Now we offer it to a guy who wants to possibly be here and be successful and all that is said is , I'm not buying tickets, Dooley 2.0, we should have went after Mullin ( by the way is mullen outrecruiting FL LSU ALA GA TEXAS A&M) well he should be he is in the SEC, Spurrier and Holtz did a pretty great job recruiting in SC, and SC before Holtz was down right horrendous. I'm not saying Mullen couldn't recruit better at Tennessee but by know means is he lighting it up at Miss St. either. I havn't heard Dan Mullin contact Tennessee yet so why would I want a guy that has showed no interest, mullin is no Tressel, Petrino, Shaw, Mora jr., or other big name coach.

If its Butch Jones then lets support him, I hope this guy turns out to be just like Kelly. We gave two Big college coaches the opportunity in Gundy and Strong to come to a Big time program and yes they showed interest and they got their raises and turned us down so the heck with both of them . Wish them luck we offered so they blew it.

TKO writes:

Looks like butch jones tomorrow at 4pm.

TheStupidPolice writes:

in response to rkw2:

Looks like someone's got a man crush on the "Zooker"...ya keep bringin' him up...

You are under arrest for feeding the trolls. You have the right to remain silent...

huntined#565710 writes:

I know things are down right now on the HILL,But no way we are down so low we hire another coach only because he will just take it..HART NEEDS TO PUT HIS BIG BOY PANTS ON and get the check book out and go get us a COACH!!! Get off these second and third tier guys and hire us a coach that can coach and recruit in the SEC. Enough of this sissy playing. If he don't know how to hire a coach stop looking for a coach and hire us a A.D. THAT CAN...CINN should be tickled to death to hire our O.C. not TENN hiring their coach as our head coach...Again I ask Hart to step up and do the job he was hired to do...Corp. people hire all the time first they see their need second they have a list of people they want and they do what they need to do to get the person they want.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to reachkim00:

Nobody wants to come to Tennessee and I LOVE it! Pay back for the wrong doing to our beloved Coach Pat Summitt. I hope the football program continues to fail while our Lady Vols continues to hang banners. GO LADY VOLS!!!

Whether you want to believe it or not, Summitt's issues were affecting the team's play and recruiting. Besides, it wasn't like Hart went out and hired some Alabama crony, he hired her handpicked successor.

85sugar writes:

in response to CMKSIDESHOW:

We offered to Strong, he said NO!
We offered to Gundy , he said NO!
Gruden was never interested, and those that think HART blew it with Gruden need to get your heads out of the sand Gruden allowed it to go on so it could boost his ego and make a team in the NFL come calling for him bottom line he never was even interested so screw Jon Gruden.

Now we offer it to a guy who wants to possibly be here and be successful and all that is said is , I'm not buying tickets, Dooley 2.0, we should have went after Mullin ( by the way is mullen outrecruiting FL LSU ALA GA TEXAS A&M) well he should be he is in the SEC, Spurrier and Holtz did a pretty great job recruiting in SC, and SC before Holtz was down right horrendous. I'm not saying Mullen couldn't recruit better at Tennessee but by know means is he lighting it up at Miss St. either. I havn't heard Dan Mullin contact Tennessee yet so why would I want a guy that has showed no interest, mullin is no Tressel, Petrino, Shaw, Mora jr., or other big name coach.

If its Butch Jones then lets support him, I hope this guy turns out to be just like Kelly. We gave two Big college coaches the opportunity in Gundy and Strong to come to a Big time program and yes they showed interest and they got their raises and turned us down so the heck with both of them . Wish them luck we offered so they blew it.

LOL orange sheep.. BUTCH JONES.. LOL

Volunatic writes:

in response to John_10065:

I think we ought to go interim coach for as long as it takes to prove to the rest of the nation that we're actually serious about rebuilding this program. We fired two NC winning coaches in the past 20 years.

I can think of only one other program that fired a winning coach that had a NC in his pocket. That was Tubby Smith at UK. That's who we are people, the SEC football version of UK. Win championships or be fired. Who the heck would want to come here and be on the chopping block the moment they didn't compete for the SEC East crown or the SEC crown?

We're a bunch of spoiled brats who think we are entitled to 10 wins seasons every year. We deserve to reside in the cellar for a decade. Maybe after then when we finally get a decent up and coming coach, we might appreciate him.

Auburn fired Chizik.

85sugar writes:

Hey What size pants does Butch Dooley Jones wear?

pingkr62 writes:

It's time to break the bank. Tennessee MUST hire Butch Jones, otherwise, the next coach will be a coordinator, or a young head coach from an F.B.S conference. G.B.O.!!!

DownTheField15 writes:

I have been reading for the past couple of weeks that Butch Jones feels like he has a chance at the Tennessee job. He wants it. He wants it enough that he turned down two jobs that are better than where he is now and another lesser job in the SEC, if there is any truth to rumors. I admire the guy for the fact that he has the guts to hold out for what he believes to be the best situation for him. If he doesn't get it, Cincy ain't that bad a deal, and he's already had success there. If he does get it, he sees it as a chance to prove himself against the best of the best in the SEC. He has gambled on a chance to be our next coach. I wouldn't mind Hart being willing to gamble on Jones.

SignalMtnVol writes:

in response to jkleno#393970:

Fulmer and ......Summitt?

Johnny Majors won a NC at Pitt in '76. He was fired in 1992.

MGVOL22 writes:

For all those who say Butch Jones is a horrible hire…you do not know him….Bunch of know it all's….I coached with Butch at WVU and he would be a step up from Dooley for sure….His DC was at UGA until 2010 when he took a full time DC job…I support Butch Jones or whoever the coach is…

02' Lettermen

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

So Charlie Strong didn't realize he had a relationship with his players and AD until after UT made an offer. Yeah. I think he enjoyed turning down a school that didn't call him four years ago.

Yeah, he may have screwed up his best opportunity to coach in the SEC unless he wants to coach at Kentucky in 3 years.

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