John Adams: No shame for UT in a big-name rejection

John Adams
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops looks on during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Ames, Iowa.  Oklahoma won 35-20. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops looks on during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. Oklahoma won 35-20. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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Tennessee fans should take the coaching rumors revolving around their football program as a compliment.

When Washington State went looking for a football coach, not even an Internet poster suggested Jon Gruden might leave Monday Night Football for Pullman, Wash.

And not even Bob Stoops' agent hinted off the record to a media-type that his client would feel more appreciated somewhere like Washington State than at Oklahoma.

Maybe UT can't hire a big-name coach. But it at least can sustain the rumor of a big-name coach.

That's a tribute to Tennessee football, especially when you consider the program has suffered three consecutive seven-loss seasons for the first time in school history.

It also tells me Tennessee isn't bargain shopping since it would have to pay Nick Saban-like money to either Gruden or Stoops.

This isn't just about money, though.

Gruden has spent his career in the NFL, first as a successful coach and now as a successful television analyst. He surely could coach college football. He also could recruit, in part, on name recognition alone. And what aspiring quarterback wouldn't want to have Gruden as a mentor?

But there's so much peripheral stuff attached to college coaching. The 20-hour work week for student-athletes would be daunting enough for a football junkie like Gruden, especially since throughout his NFL career he demonstrated a fondness for veteran players.

Stoops' situation is entirely different. In his 14 seasons at Oklahoma, he has been one of the most successful coaches in the country. He's well versed in what it takes to win at the highest level in a competitive conference. He's also well aware of the expectations such success fosters.

He and his former boss and longtime friend, Steve Spurrier, can compare notes on the subject.

After dominating the SEC and winning a national title at Florida, Spurrier's last five years with the Gators weren't as rewarding, so he left for the NFL. When that didn't work out, he returned to college coaching at South Carolina, where a bowl game was once regarded as a crowning achievement.

He has exceeded expectations at South Carolina, further enhanced his coaching legacy and gained the kind of appreciation from his fan base that he had at the height of his Florida dynasty.

But you can't equate Spurrier's transition to what Stoops' would be in going from Oklahoma to UT.

Tennessee isn't South Carolina. Despite the current stretch of failure, UT fans would be only briefly satisfied with 7-5 and 8-4 seasons. They want to compete for championships, even though their program's in-state recruiting base — coupled with its recent lack of success — now puts Tennessee at a disadvantage against the SEC's powerhouse programs.

Don't get the wrong idea. If Stoops came to UT's rescue, he would be treated as a conquering hero. How long that would last would depend on the program's progress.

It's much easier to list reasons why either Gruden or Stoops wouldn't be interested in the UT job than why they would. But that shouldn't discourage Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart from persistently pursuing them.

There's no shame in being turned down by either one of them. The effort would mean more than the rejection.

If this coaching search eventually ends up with a lesser hire, it's crucial that Hart explain how high he set his sights and to what lengths he went to meet them.

The fans deserve that much.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 170

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

If Stoops thinks he's not appreciated at Oklahoma, he should talk to Phillip Fulmer about how much the University of Tennessee appreciates a successful coach.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Hope we can land a big name.

Go4Two writes:

Let's hire coach Fulmer and be done with it

nats23stan writes:

if you really like a big name assoicated with your team, why not go after the biggest name of all right now. Shawn Petyon's contract with the Saints has been basically voided by the NFL. Pay him 5.5 mil and let the games begin.

CoverOrange writes:

uh, yeah, John. I could see Hart standing up after introducing his newly hired coach and saying "this isn't who we really wanted but all the better ones turned us down even though I really tried." Try using that space between your ears sometimes, John.

BTW, I would take Stoops over Gruden in a heartbeat.

td writes:

If Tennessee can't drink from the top shelf, how about: Jim Chaney and the entire offensive staff retained with Chaney declared Associate Head Coach; entice Lance Thompson to return with a new title -- Defensive Coordinator; pour a tall one for Kirby Smart as HC?

Whoever signs on, this hire has to be Rocky Top solid and considered in relation to the talent on hand.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

If Stoops thinks he's not appreciated at Oklahoma, he should talk to Phillip Fulmer about how much the University of Tennessee appreciates a successful coach.

And then Phillip can ask Majors the same thing.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

If Stoops thinks he's not appreciated at Oklahoma, he should talk to Phillip Fulmer about how much the University of Tennessee appreciates a successful coach.

And then Phillip can ask Majors the same thing.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

uh, yeah, John. I could see Hart standing up after introducing his newly hired coach and saying "this isn't who we really wanted but all the better ones turned us down even though I really tried." Try using that space between your ears sometimes, John.

BTW, I would take Stoops over Gruden in a heartbeat.

I wouldn't..

proudveteran writes:

Where are the airplane sightings of potential coaches? Is it true that the motorcycle of Petrino was seen outside Hooters this weekend? Then he must be the hire!!!! With his reputation of late, he comes cheap!!! UT could probably get him without one of those Hamilton size million dollar "buyout" packages.

Razor784 writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

If Stoops thinks he's not appreciated at Oklahoma, he should talk to Phillip Fulmer about how much the University of Tennessee appreciates a successful coach.

If Stoops had 2 losing seasons in 4 years when he was projected to be in the top 10 both seasons, he'd be fired there too.

UTKin1992 writes:

It might come as a surprise to many fans living in-state that, out of state, UT is STILL regarded as a first class coaching job. I live in south Alabama and fans of fellow SEC institutions, even the obnoxious ones, admit the value our program has to the conference and to college football in general. As a colleague of mine has said over and over, the conference doesn't click unless Tennessee is up, and he's an Alabama alum.

That being said, I think the previously unstable state of our administration has frightened off more candidates than anything else. With Hamilton finally gone we may have finally rid ourselves of the last negative barrier. I hope.

If I'm a top tier coach why wouldn't I consider Tennessee and the SEC if I'm worth what I think I'm worth! UT is a dream job. Most recently ran by goons but they're gone. Time to move on.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to proudveteran:

Where are the airplane sightings of potential coaches? Is it true that the motorcycle of Petrino was seen outside Hooters this weekend? Then he must be the hire!!!! With his reputation of late, he comes cheap!!! UT could probably get him without one of those Hamilton size million dollar "buyout" packages.

In this case cheaper doesn't mean better quality.

born2ride writes:

Stoops would be a great hire.

Gruden is probably headed to the Eagles.

Colliervol writes:

He might not have the big name but I'd go to battle with Charlie Strong. The more I hear the better I like him.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to proudveteran:

Where are the airplane sightings of potential coaches? Is it true that the motorcycle of Petrino was seen outside Hooters this weekend? Then he must be the hire!!!! With his reputation of late, he comes cheap!!! UT could probably get him without one of those Hamilton size million dollar "buyout" packages.

We should hire Petrino, but get him one of those three-wheel bikes, which seem like they would be much harder to turn over. Seriously, he does seem to be the best available coach. He is a proven winner, and we won't have to out-bid Arkansas for him. He made a bad mistake, and paid a heavy price for it. I know some people want us to just consider coaches who have never made a mistake, and that certainly would narrow the list.

gobigorange5090 writes:

I remember when UT fans were satisfied with 6-5, 7-4 seasons under John Majors. But it was because it was Majors, not a non-UT grad.

gobigorange5090 writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

If Stoops thinks he's not appreciated at Oklahoma, he should talk to Phillip Fulmer about how much the University of Tennessee appreciates a successful coach.

Get over it already!

cltvol writes:

nc state just fired their coach..reports are they want James Franklin

SummittsCourt writes:

Man! 10 more minutes of my life wasted reading another article that says absolutely nothing!

KNS, please hire some writers with something to say that is original.

gobigorange5090 writes:

in response to Go4Two:

Let's hire coach Fulmer and be done with it

Fulmer wont be hired. Stop living in the past and look towards the future. Funny, no colleges have beat down the doors to hire Fulmer. Dont get me wrong, I like Fulmer, but the game had passed him by. I was time to make a change and Hammy botched it. I would love if he was our AD.

gobigorange5090 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

And then Phillip can ask Majors the same thing.

Majors brought on his firing by being a total arsehole. Get over the Majors worship already.

martinvol34 writes:

Franklin would be stupid to go to North Carolina State from Vandy but at least his recruiting violations wouldn't catch him. He'd be ahead of the curve ball like Calipari and just leave the schools to deal with it, like Willie Mack Garza Pearl and Kiffin did us, LOL.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to gobigorange5090:

I remember when UT fans were satisfied with 6-5, 7-4 seasons under John Majors. But it was because it was Majors, not a non-UT grad.

Get over it. I wasn't around then, but I seriously doubt if UT fans were satisfied with Majors' 6-5 and 7-4 seasons. Majors was fired, you know.

lofter writes:

Everyone needs to take a deep breath. TN is not going to get a big name to clean up the mess. Hart will find someone who will check off all of his boxes (HC experience, good recruiter, & whatever else he has on his list) BUT, why would a coach leave a successful program?
Unless there is someone out there who is unhappy, but has not made it public, we are going to see an experienced head coach, with several years of success, from a second tier college.

And that may not be bad!

movol53 writes:

OK so now we wait; I'd say at least 5 - 6 weeks because anyone that we would really want is still going to be coaching until then. Unless we hire the Ark motorcycle mad man. Gus M the Ark State coach did well while he was at Auburn. Why did they run him off? Perhaps he could not get along with the one they fired today? It's going to be a long wait - - and some will be disappointed to matter who UT hires. Perhaps Hart can get Jimbo to move up here from FSU. I wonder did they get along? While both were at FSU.

nocleats writes:

"If this coaching search eventually ends up with a lesser hire, it's crucial that Hart explain how high he set his sights and to what lengths he went to meet them.

The fans deserve that much."

I agree, thats why I dont want them to bring me a Kirby Smart or similar till they have truly approached at least 15 BIG NAMES.
I believe that Mr Adams is thinking what I am in that K Smart has been D Harts ace since the middle of October.

arkyvol writes:

no harm in having a big idea and blowing it? man, adams ought to apply for a job as wiley e. coyote's analyst.

Its_Goooood writes:

in response to lofter:

Everyone needs to take a deep breath. TN is not going to get a big name to clean up the mess. Hart will find someone who will check off all of his boxes (HC experience, good recruiter, & whatever else he has on his list) BUT, why would a coach leave a successful program?
Unless there is someone out there who is unhappy, but has not made it public, we are going to see an experienced head coach, with several years of success, from a second tier college.

And that may not be bad!

why? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to gobigorange5090:

Majors brought on his firing by being a total arsehole. Get over the Majors worship already.

One might ask you the same thing..

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say we throw the bank we will get a big name. Witch Doctor say Saban aint at Bama for the culture or Calipari at KY for the fashion. Witch Doctor say we walked on the moon because of it and NOW we have no choice or REALLY stink for decades to come.
Bones never lie.

govols0463 writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dude, seriously? Are you a** bangin' Muschamp or are you a chick? I blew it off the first time I read a post from you as a dude having a man crush, but now I think you want the guy. Good grief...and you need to change your user name. Gainesville is not a town. It's a community.

Its_Goooood writes:

http://www.footballscoop.com/the-scoop It says Gruden is still target, assistant money may be issue. It says he wants four million for assistant pool

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say we throw the bank we will get a big name. Witch Doctor say Saban aint at Bama for the culture or Calipari at KY for the fashion. Witch Doctor say we walked on the moon because of it and NOW we have no choice or REALLY stink for decades to come.
Bones never lie.

Saban's not at Alabama for the culture??? What do you mean Doc?

Sweet writes:

NOW EVERYBODY TALKING ABOUT THROWING THE BANK TO GET A BIG NAMED COACH...WHERE WE GONNA GET THE MONEY SINCE WE CAN'T PAY DD THE 5 MILLION WE OWE HIM?? HIRE DD BACK AT SAME SALARY AND FIRE SS

Rock85 writes:

Time for Tennessee to prove they are as dedicated to Fans as the Fans are to TENNESSEE. If they want empty seats, money problems,And a divided fan base.Bring a Strong or Re-Hire Fulmer. Then we will be looking for a NEW AD AND A NEW COACH In three years.Our program will enjoy being bottom feeders of the EAST. And another Generation of what could have been VOLS will be Florida ,Bama and VANDY FANS. Only one hire will UNITE TENNESSEE, and give The National POP to get the recruits. Turn this Great Program around.... JON GRUDEN. Get it done Mr. Hart.

Rock85 writes:

in response to Sweet:

NOW EVERYBODY TALKING ABOUT THROWING THE BANK TO GET A BIG NAMED COACH...WHERE WE GONNA GET THE MONEY SINCE WE CAN'T PAY DD THE 5 MILLION WE OWE HIM?? HIRE DD BACK AT SAME SALARY AND FIRE SS

A new SEC TV deal worth 15 to 25 MILLION per year..

bobbyutvol writes:

in response to Go4Two:

Let's hire coach Fulmer and be done with it

I agree look at Kansas St coach who went back they are 10-1. Fulmer love Tennessee and can recruit we could do much worse

Rock85 writes:

You lose more of this fan base. Over not giving control of the Football program to Gruden. You will not get them back..

txvolsfan writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If your not first your last!!!
and Gators are not first

GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

Rock85 writes:

in response to bobbyutvol:

I agree look at Kansas St coach who went back they are 10-1. Fulmer love Tennessee and can recruit we could do much worse

Fulmer has been out of football for four years. NO ONE HAS WANTED HIM.. High School player dont remember him. How will he recruit? He is seen as washed up...

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Saban's not at Alabama for the culture??? What do you mean Doc?

Mister Crowley, what went wrong in your head??

volsmith writes:

Don't go after Bob Stoops. I can't stand the guy.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Man! 10 more minutes of my life wasted reading another article that says absolutely nothing!

KNS, please hire some writers with something to say that is original.

Every time I read a John Adams article I can count on reading one of your stupid comments. If he is such a bad writer what does it say about you reading him all the time?

OwensboroVol writes:

In my opinion AD Dave Hart has waited too long. We now have to compete with Auburn (and I, for the life of me, can't figure out why anyone would want to coach at Auburn. They just fired a guy who won a NC 2 years ago.)for the very restricted and very low quantity of top notch coaches. Now it starts! During the next 1-2 weeks you are going to see a large number of Coaches denying, very coyly, that they have been discussing the Tennessee Job. They will then sign a new contract with their current school for a big raise and a additional 2-3 years on the contract. They will be laughing all the way to the bank. By the time Hart can find someone really interested in the job we will be getting someone who makes Dooley look like Vince Lombardi. All because Hart didn't want to step on someones toes. No School has ever given two hoots in hell about stepping on Tennessee's toes. I have seen enough. Mr. Hart was not prepared to put the interest of the University of Tennessee on the top of his list. As such maybe he should think about leaving as well!!!

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

The search is over! Gene Chizk is meeting with Hart in Chattanooga as I write this.

txvolsfan writes:

What about Steve Mariucci? He needs a gig now and did a great job at Cal.

GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN!!!

underthehill writes:

in response to cltvol:

nc state just fired their coach..reports are they want James Franklin

Vandy knows what they have in Franklin and they won't let him go without doing all they can to keep him..they made that clear after the Vandy-UT game..

budd#207344 writes:

in response to Its_Goooood:

http://www.footballscoop.com/the-scoop It says Gruden is still target, assistant money may be issue. It says he wants four million for assistant pool

If the only reason we do not get John Gruden is money, Cheeks and Hart better start heading for the border quickly

Snapshot writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Man! 10 more minutes of my life wasted reading another article that says absolutely nothing!

KNS, please hire some writers with something to say that is original.

Here is a thought, don't read them, or quit b----ing about them when you do!

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