Just as Tennessee appeared on the verge of ending its search for a new head football coach with a knocked-it-out-of-the-park hire, the voyage through the post-Dooley era will reportedly continue for the listing program.
Citing a Louisville source, SI.com‘s Pete Thamel is reporting that Charlie Strong has turned down an offer from the Vols to become its new coach and will instead remain with the Cardinals. What UT was offering as part of a financial package to lure Strong back to the SEC is unknown, but, per Thamel, the finishing touches on a revamped contract are currently under way for the third-year UofL coach.
Athletic director Tom Jurich stated two months ago that he was willing to make Strong the highest-paid coach at the FBS level, although that was likely more hyperbole than reality. Still, Strong should see a significant bump in his 2012 salary of $2.3 million.
Today, Strong refused to specifically address his coaching future, telling reporters that, tomorrow morning, he will first address his team before going public with his intentions for the 2013 season.
Based, on Thamel’s report, that won’t include a move to Knoxville. That, of course, begs the question: to where will UT turn?
Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy has been heavily connected to the Vols job, and could be athletic director Dave Hart‘s No. 1 target now that he has reportedly been snubbed by Strong. Or North Carolina’s Larry Fedora. Or… oh my gawd that’s Jon Gruden‘s music…