Coaching Carousel: Day 1 of the search for Tennessee's new football coach

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart speaks to reporters at a news conference on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn., after it was announced that head football coach Derek Dooley would be replaced by offensive coordinator Jim Chaney for the final SEC regular season game against Kentucky. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart speaks to reporters at a news conference on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn., after it was announced that head football coach Derek Dooley would be replaced by offensive coordinator Jim Chaney for the final SEC regular season game against Kentucky. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2009, file photo, ESPN broadcaster Jon Gruden is shown before an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills in Foxborough, Mass. Gruden has agreed to a new contract with ESPN that would keep him in TV _ and out of coaching _ for the next five years.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2009, file photo, ESPN broadcaster Jon Gruden is shown before an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills in Foxborough, Mass. Gruden has agreed to a new contract with ESPN that would keep him in TV _ and out of coaching _ for the next five years. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said Sunday that he hadn't contacted any candidates, directly or indirectly. He's also unlikely to pester active college coaches until their seasons are over.

So that means Day 1 of Tennessee's search for a new head football coach likely was uneventful.

Here's a roundup of what we learned Monday:Monday night's NFL game between the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers was expected to draw quite an audience in East Tennessee.That's because fan favorite Jon Gruden was doing the ESPN broadcast.

Gruden, a former Tennessee graduate assistant whose wife was a Vols cheerleader, is reportedly considering a return to coaching, either in the NFL or college ranks, which means speculation about his plans are running rampant.

His television partner wants nothing to do with speculation about Gruden's possible return to coaching.

"Like I've done the last three years, I'm staying away from any of the speculation and conversation as we enter the silly season," Mike Tirico told SI.com Monday.

The "silly season" is nothing new to Gruden, who was an NFL head coach at Oakland and Tampa Bay, where his team won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season.

He's been linked to jobs in the past before deciding to remain in television, where he is one of ESPN's most valuable stars.

"Jon remains committed to ESPN," a spokesperson told SI.com Sunday. "With a third of our Monday Night Football schedule still left to be played this season, he is focused on his analyst role and all the preparation that goes into our game each week."Louisville coach Charlie Strong laughed off a question about Tennessee. "No, I have not heard from Tennessee. We have two games left, and I have to finish out here. We have to take care of business."

Miami coach Al Golden tried to dampen speculation that he might bolt after the Hurricanes' self-imposed a bowl ban for a second consecutive season. "We made a commitment to the University of Miami and we want to see it through," Golden told the Sun-Sentinel.

Former Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe was emphatic that he would not be leaving Duke. "I'm very happy here, and this is where I'm going to be. I can put that to rest because that's a fact," he told the Charlotte Observer.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen joked about reports linking him to other jobs. "I'll probably be spotted all over the United States of America. We're very happy here. No one has called me," he told the Clarion-Ledger

Former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley won't have to get a job anytime soon, as he'll be able to enjoy monthly payouts of his $5 million buyout over the next four years. But if Dooley decides to return to the coaching ranks, his old boss Nick Saban might be able to help him out.

"Regardless of what he did or didn't do at Tennessee," Saban said in Tuscaloosa, "he's still someone who is a professional colleague and a good friend who we would love to help in any way we can."

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Comments » 28

volbob writes:

Great article about nothing. Tony Dungy had on a orange and white tie yesterday during NBC Football Night - does that mean he wants the job? Chaney has never been the head coach of anything, but the offense has been the only thing worth watching all year - expect for the Vandy game. Saturday is meaningless, but I'll watch it anyway. UT will hire someone, and we'll all be posting and watching the same as usual. Life will go on.

djohnnyg writes:

If Dooley is such a good friend of Saban's than Nick didn't do him any favors by pummeling him 44-13 at Knoxville and hastening his departure.

Truth be told it isn't losing to Bama that hurt Dooley, it was Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Missouri and Miss. St.

djohnnyg writes:

How about Bill Callahan?

djohnnyg writes:

Gruden enjoys jacking with people.

Look for ominous mentions of UT tonight.

Also, what color tie will Gruden be wearing???

OrangePsyched writes:

It's funny listening to the coaches reactions. Strong said I HAVE to finish out here. All they're saying is coachspeak. Except for Gruden they would all jump at the chance to coach the Vols. Not sure about Jon....we'll see.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to djohnnyg:

Gruden enjoys jacking with people.

Look for ominous mentions of UT tonight.

Also, what color tie will Gruden be wearing???

Tie color is red. We were out bid by Ark today. Want be jacking if he goes with them. Got to pony up.

Colts_VolFan writes:

in response to djohnnyg:

How about Bill Callahan?

Not a bad choice. I like jack DelRio as well.

GloryDays writes:

I get the feeling that Hart already has his coach lined up. At the press conference, he seemed very confident and didn't want an outside firm to help. I think it could be Gruden but is he happy with what he is doing? I think Jimbo Fisher, Bob Stoops, or Al Golden maybe interested, tired of their current team and perhaps want to try something new?

imw8n4u writes:

in response to djohnnyg:

How about Bill Callahan?

Someone has forgotten the disaster that was Bill Callahan coaching Nebraska.

VolinVirginia writes:

in response to volbob:

Great article about nothing. Tony Dungy had on a orange and white tie yesterday during NBC Football Night - does that mean he wants the job? Chaney has never been the head coach of anything, but the offense has been the only thing worth watching all year - expect for the Vandy game. Saturday is meaningless, but I'll watch it anyway. UT will hire someone, and we'll all be posting and watching the same as usual. Life will go on.

As a Tampa native and lifelong Bucs fan, I would LOVE to see Dungy on the field. Imagine the possibilities: he would be a great recruiter and an asset to the community. Dungy went to my church, and he is the real deal. He "walks the talk," and would be a great leader.

But - realistically - what are our chances of luring Dungy to Knoxville?

gobigorange5090 writes:

Why do people keep reading these stories then whine about the writer? I dont get it.

luke255#536431 writes:

Petrino is our guy hands down, he is the only PROVEN coach available that we know can win in the SEC. Also with offense being his strength I bet we could be a top 15 team next year. Now all the people go ahead and bash me for wanting to hire a coach we know will win games. None of the others named have proven they can win in the SEC and even with Petrino's HUGE flaws we can't afford to hire another "nice guy" who can't win football games!

BMSvol writes:

in response to luke255#536431:

Petrino is our guy hands down, he is the only PROVEN coach available that we know can win in the SEC. Also with offense being his strength I bet we could be a top 15 team next year. Now all the people go ahead and bash me for wanting to hire a coach we know will win games. None of the others named have proven they can win in the SEC and even with Petrino's HUGE flaws we can't afford to hire another "nice guy" who can't win football games!

petrino is anything BUT our guy. we dont need another also-ran who could never beat bama or lsu

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

Jon Gruden, Jim Tressel, Charlie Strong...in that order...would be my top candidates.

When it comes to Xs and Os, I think Tressel is the strongest of the three. When it comes to defense, Strong would be the best for us. And when it comes to QB play, Gruden would be the best. So each have their strengths. I would take any of them.

Orangepuddinskin writes:

I dont care if I read another article until I see the headline, "XXXXXXXXX Named Tennessee New Head Coach"

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to TheRealDragonSlayer:

Jon Gruden, Jim Tressel, Charlie Strong...in that order...would be my top candidates.

When it comes to Xs and Os, I think Tressel is the strongest of the three. When it comes to defense, Strong would be the best for us. And when it comes to QB play, Gruden would be the best. So each have their strengths. I would take any of them.

Tressel is a good coach, but he could not beat anyone in the SEC and he has been in NCAA problems at each of his stops. We need none of that.

volnsc writes:

Petrino has a bit of a foul odor about him but that could be from dining on humble pie for the past several months. He is a proven winner and UT could do a lot worse, and probably will.

VolGrad writes:

Nothing to see here. And the speculation is meaningless.

Quiet day in BOC.

BlueHarley writes:

Al Golden

oldster writes:

Isn't the Philadelphia Eagles coach on the hot seat? How about him as Vols head coach?

1pavolfan writes:

in response to oldster:

Isn't the Philadelphia Eagles coach on the hot seat? How about him as Vols head coach?

NO WAY !!!!!! Ihave burned every eagles piece of merchandise I've owned until they get rid of his fat A** Talk about wasted time-outs, bad play calling and NO eye for talent !!! He could have had Jason Whitten but chose some bone head from Rutgers who could'nt catch a cold !! I've never forgiven him for that!!! again NO-WAY NO-WAY !!!!!!

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

Petrino is a proven winner, he's available and we won't have to outbid Arkansas for him. He made a huge mistake at Arkansas and has paid dearly for it, and I'm sure he has learned from it. Hart would lay down the law and keep him on a short leash. He could be making an announcement very soon. Of course, all of the fans who have never made a mistake will criticize the choice. But, once UT starts winning again, they'll get over it.

asleep#212036 writes:

Not sure about the fascination with NFL lifers... No proof those guys - Gruden, Dungy, Reid, etc... - can coach college kids (translated: teach them how to play), recruit, deal with boosters, wrangle through the academics, work with an AD and/or administrators, etc... One guy that does know how to win in the SEC, is the only coach on the planet with a winning record against Saban, has the utmost integrity as far as the NCAA is concerned, is a proven winner at every stop, has recruited successfully to much tougher places than Knoxville, and is likely not real happy at his current job: Tommy Tuberville. He's a defensive coach who understands that winning in the SEC requires a strong running game, a great defense, and outstanding special teams. He did more with less at Ole Miss and Auburn than most could have and I think would love another shot in the SEC. The biggest hurdle, if Hart even has him on the list, is that Arkansas, his home state, may call him too. Just a thought. Go Vols!!!

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

How long is this going to take? It only took Mike Hamilton 5 days to introduce Dooley as the new coach, and... ummm, never mind. Take your time Hart.

Rock85 writes:

Its been done.. May hear by Sunday.. Word starting to slip out slowly.. The people that matter KNOW. TENNESSEE FOOTBALL IS GOING TO BE IN GOOD HAND..YOU WILL BE HAPPY,, Letterman 85-88 VFL

Rusty356 writes:

Jon Gruden was paid so much by Tampa Bay that it left nothing in the coffers to attract good new players in the following two seasons ... that and the salary cap resulted in a quick decline for Tampa Bay. Gruden also just signed a new 5 year deal with ESPN that UT would have to come up with the buy-out money for even if he did decide to leave ... and THEN UT could easily find themselves in the same situation in year two that they had with Lane Kiffin & Company. (Just remember that Davis wasn't too thrilled that Chucky went over to Tampa Bay to team-up with Monty Kiffin).
File the Gruden choice under "Be careful what you wish for .... you just might get it."

I haven't seen ANY names proffered for Head Coach that are better placed to take UT back to it's former football Glory Days than Coach MARK McHALE. If Dave Hart didn't think McHale was a great coach, then Bobby Bowden would NEVER have hired him to shore-up Jeff Bowden (who may have been a good son, but was NOT a good coach).... and if McHale can't recruit the best QB's & Linemen prospects in the country .... then nobody can (THAT'S a fact and don't kid yourself, great Running Backs are advised to play for teams where the great linemen and QB's go). UT needs someone with maturity, experience, recruiting ability, and someone who would take the job and won't break the bank (PS .. with two undergraduates @ UT, I see myself as working for the bank).

BigBadVol writes:

in response to TheRealDragonSlayer:

Jon Gruden, Jim Tressel, Charlie Strong...in that order...would be my top candidates.

When it comes to Xs and Os, I think Tressel is the strongest of the three. When it comes to defense, Strong would be the best for us. And when it comes to QB play, Gruden would be the best. So each have their strengths. I would take any of them.

Tressel has three more years of show cause penalties. TN wouldn't touch that scenario.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to Rock85:

Its been done.. May hear by Sunday.. Word starting to slip out slowly.. The people that matter KNOW. TENNESSEE FOOTBALL IS GOING TO BE IN GOOD HAND..YOU WILL BE HAPPY,, Letterman 85-88 VFL

Are you saying a coach has been hired?

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