There are very few things I hate more than the air in and around a Tennessee coaching search.
The comment section and Vols Twitter melt Into a glom of delusional/wishful thinkers, HyperTrolls planting fake rumors, a million “deal is done” posts, and just a true diarrhea milkshake.
But I write about the Vols and here we are. I hate a coaching search so much that I actively hoped Butch would hang around through Vandy, and that’s insane because Butch Jones had, in real time, evolved from a nice, unassuming guy who seemed to care a lot (based on my few one-on-one interactions with him) into such an unlikely villain (on top of coaching Tennessee to this, their very darkest hour). So, time to start making lists. Here are my three starting hopes for this coaching search.
JON D*MN GRUDEN. I despise this epic goose chase. But. If Currie manages to land this golden God, he will either fail or succeed. And I can 100% live with either the GLORIOUS SAVIOR STORY that the comment section has been writhing and moaning for (for what seems like forever) or a crippling dose of reality when a dude who ~HAS NEVER BEEN THE HEAD COACH OF A COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAM~ fails. If it means we either bask in a big orange heaven of wins or never have to talk about him again, SIGN. ME. UP.
DAN MULLEN. I don’t feel passionate about Mullen, but the ProCon list method is very kind to him. SEC pedigree, has done big things with meager resources at Mississippi State, long-strong recruiting history, very limited baggage, he has proven able to develop talent, and if you can compete with Alabama with Mississippi State resources, you can compete with anyone, anywhere. I’m not passionate about Dan Mullen, but Tennessee should do what they have to do to hire him. This is a grown-up kinda option here. Unsexy, low-key, but extremely smart and reasonable. Additionally: you do not want Dan Mullen at Florida.
CHARLIE STRONG. In spite of his turbulent experience at Toxic Texas, I believe Charlie Strong is a winner and his Texas debacle is sandwiched with proof. He’s a great recruiter with SEC experience, he very nearly coached at Tennessee after Dooley, he’s done great with much more modest resources and he’ll be hungry to redeem himself on the big stage. I mostly picked Charlie because so much of this year’s Floridian attention during this coaching searches will be on Scott Frost, but Strong still has some bigtime potential. Rumor is, Ole Miss has been looking at him very hard. Like Dan Mullen, Tennessee definitely shouldn’t want to see him at Florida.
Just for fun, here are my Bottom 5 “not feeling it” Coaching candidates:
- Jeff Brohm (skinny, shruggy resumé as a head coach)
- Chip Kelly (new SEC rule about dirty coaches)
- Matt Campbell (wayyyyy too trendy, IMO) <– click to get a different take
- Jimbob Cooter (visionary OC, but no HC résumé at all)
- Willie Taggart (dump Oregon after 1 season? Bad look.)