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Tennessee’s coaching search drags on with Gundy, Strong attached

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Just how tight or loosely attached has been the difficult part to figure out.

Yesterday’s coaching search news was a joke. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was both Arkansas and Tennessee’s next coach before he wasn’t, which was about 30 minutes later at most, and Louisville coach Charlie Strong was later deemed to be the frontrunner for the Vols coaching gig.

The drama surrounding Tennessee’s coaching job continued into Wednesday morning. CBSSports reported that Gundy was offered the job, although ESPN’s Brett McMurphy later reported that Gundy was staying with Oklahoma State. Strong is also reportedly working on a new contract with Louisville. UL athletic director Tom Jurich has already gone on the record to say he’ll make Strong the wealthiest coach in college football if need be.

However, there’s been no official word from either the Gundy or Strong camp about their intentions moving forward.

Where would Tennessee go from here if the Vols are unable to land Gundy or Strong? Your guess is as good as mine, although I hear Mario Cristobal is available.

Just kidding. Sort of.

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41 Responses to “Tennessee’s coaching search drags on with Gundy, Strong attached”
  1. drozman says: Dec 5, 2012 1:40 PM

    As a Vols fan this is ridiculous. The AD needs to be proactive in controlling this spin. If they have their number 1 and an obvious number 1 they need to say so. The can’t let these reports run rampant, true or not. He needs to say if it has been offered or not to anyone and doesn’t need to specify to whom. This just looks like the University is disjointed, confused, and inept. Hart needs to say something at this point…anything.

  2. tedstheman says: Dec 5, 2012 1:58 PM

    The answer to to the who thing is very simple. Tennessee is no longer an elite job. They are years away from winning. It will take whoever gets the job more then a couple years to turn the program around. Their roster is just about the worst in the SEC. A winning coach from another program doesn’t want to deal with that.

  3. jason1214 says: Dec 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    You said it brother.

  4. quitcrying says: Dec 5, 2012 2:06 PM

    I will reserve comment on the A.D. and search process until we have a coach hired. Right now I’m just glad Van Gundy is not coming…whew.

  5. choicess says: Dec 5, 2012 2:11 PM

    UT’s roster just about the worst in the SEC? I’m surprised you can even read.
    Dooley was a terrible coach but there’s no question he stocked this roster with talent. Top 10-15 recruiting classes each of his three years. UT will be competitive in the SEC with a coach that has half a clue how to utilize said talent.
    I agree that the search has been frustrating but it’s a positive sign that Hart has not let much info out – until the hire is made I’ll continue to believe he knows what he’s doing

  6. dcviking says: Dec 5, 2012 2:11 PM

    @quitcrying – was it Stan Van Gundy or Jeff Van Gundy that was under consideration for the job?

  7. quitcrying says: Dec 5, 2012 2:13 PM

    @dcviking – my mistake. his name is gundy. again, phew…

  8. dredddog says: Dec 5, 2012 2:16 PM

    Orange Sweater Vest

  9. dcviking says: Dec 5, 2012 2:16 PM

    @quitcrying — I figured it was a typo, but couldn’t resist.

  10. ducej11 says: Dec 5, 2012 2:20 PM


    You could not be more wrong here. If Hart comes out and says exactly who he wants, then that person declines, then what? Tennessee looks foolish. That is why no AD would EVER come out and say something like that.

    Once this is all said and done, Hart will the give ole “this was the guy we targeted from the beginning” line. And disregard all the other rumors by saying he is not sure where they came from.

  11. drozman says: Dec 5, 2012 2:20 PM

    @quitcrying – True to reserve judgement, but he needs to say something instead of letting other write the narrative. Has job been offered to anyone… Is he looking for a coach or holed up in his office having a panic attack. Just say you haven;t settled on a head coach yet. He must have a huge name just to let others speculate and the come out with Fedora or Jones. At this point he is embarrassing his employer with his silence.

  12. drozman says: Dec 5, 2012 2:27 PM

    @ducej11 – I don’t want him to say specifics…I just want him to say something about still searching for the head coach. If your guy turned you down, deny the offer. If Gundy isn’t the guy say you never offered. Just say you doing you due diligence and proceeding as planned…not who you’re talking too. If I said for him to be specific I apologize, but I did not. I just want him to stop the speculation by others on the Universities behalf.

  13. jimbo75025 says: Dec 5, 2012 3:20 PM

    Everybody needs to chill. Please realize this is Dave Hart’s first chance at this. Mike Hamilton did this two years in a row and whiffed both times. I tend to believe UT is being quiet on purpose and will pull something good out of the hat-ninja style.

    To those saying UT is not a top 15 or 20 program, get real. Facilities most coaches would drool over, SEC, tradition, rabid fanbase, and the opportunity to be the most well known man in the state (well this could also be bad if he fails).

  14. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 5, 2012 3:22 PM

    The clock has started on the countdown.

    For UT to be at this point in this so called “search”, and we still have no viable candidates {and that includes Strong}, and when the probability that we would have to replace Dooley since mid October, to me that is absolutely unforgivable.

    I knew when Hart gave the press conference the day after Dooley was bounced that the guy was totally talking out his arse, he sounded like a cheap used car salesman. I realize there is a small cadre of real candidates out there, the list gets even smaller when you look at the established job criteria. Where I see this going right now is that Jim Chaney will ultimately be named head default guy, and if that happens I will devote full time to making sure Hart is run out of town.

    At this point I would be very happy with Larry Fedora for the sole reason that his wife is hot, and she’d look great in orange. Rant over.

  15. pricecube says: Dec 5, 2012 3:26 PM


    I think the anxiety and trepidation are understandable. After the last five years, I was really hoping we knocked it out of the park with this hire. Hart has had since the Kentucky game last year to prepare. I will withhold judgement until the hire is made, but the name’s being mentioned and the circus that has taken place for the last several weeks do not inspire confidence.

  16. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 5, 2012 3:28 PM


    Nobody on the roster? You dont have a clue what you’re talking about. From this year’s team alone, there are 13 guys that will be playing on Sundays. If you want me to get into the details I will but the “program” is in pretty decent shape now considering what Dooley inherited…which was nothing.

  17. fhuizar says: Dec 5, 2012 3:34 PM

    Lol @ Tennessee

    John L Smith is available

  18. jimbo75025 says: Dec 5, 2012 3:37 PM


    Yeah man, believe me I understand the anxiety at the moment. I would rather hold on little bit longer much more than making a hire just to be making a hire which is basically what happened with Dooley.

    The names that are out there are kind of weak though. Whoever is campaigning for Tressel needs to get their head checked though. Hiring Tressel to be HC of a program already on probabtion (courtesy of Lane Kiffen)? Get real. That would be like letting Bobby Petrino hire his own secretary.

  19. jimbo75025 says: Dec 5, 2012 3:41 PM


    Unfortunately for Arkansas, you guys just hired another Big 10 coach with little/no Southern ties who was on the verge of being ran out of town. Let me see, who does that remind me of? Oh yeah, John L Smith.

  20. fhuizar says: Dec 5, 2012 3:47 PM

    @jimbo not a Arky guy

    Just poking some fun at Tenn bc coaches just seem to pass on them

  21. sparty0n says: Dec 5, 2012 3:55 PM

    Lets just say, Vols better keep Bobbie away from the Tail of the Dragon when he come to town

  22. cometkazie says: Dec 5, 2012 4:07 PM

    Nobody wants to wear orange.

    Can you blame them?

  23. harv44 says: Dec 5, 2012 4:13 PM

    Lane Kiffin might be available.

  24. bengalsstillsuck says: Dec 5, 2012 4:16 PM

    Go out an offer Jim Tressel the job he wld turn things around within 3 yrs.

  25. tedstheman says: Dec 5, 2012 4:26 PM

    @choicess, houndofhtebaskevols,

    You guys are dreaming. If the team had talent to compete in the SEC coaches would be standing in line for the job (they are not). Sure they have a few good players but top to bottom the roster is weak. Don’t use the Rival’s, ESPN or Scout recruiing rankings as a basis. Those people throws names at a wall and hope something sticks. If you subscribe to those services you are wasting your money. They are right about 15% of the time.
    Auburn, Arkansas, Purdue, Kentucky have all named coaches…Tennessee hasn’t. I wonder why? If they end up getting Strong it’s because they had to pay him way to much to get him away from Louisville. Ordinarly you make that switch just to get an SEC coaching job….but as I said before Tennessee is no longer considered an elite program. You guys are just going to have to face up to reality

  26. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 5, 2012 6:08 PM


    What coaches? Name them please. You’re an idiot, you’re not any more familiar with Tennessee’s roster as you are of Rival’s consistency over the years.

    This years offense came within 70 yards of Manning’s single season yardage record, against SEC defenses that are a lot stiffer than they were in 1997. Yep, sounds like a bunch of scrubs to me.

  27. jimbo75025 says: Dec 5, 2012 6:21 PM


    Regarding Ark, Auburn, Purdue, etc all naming coaches-look at who they have hired. Bielema?

    Malzhan may turn out to be a decent HC-as soon as he realizes that you do not get to play on offense all of the time. Stoops has potential-but you could have said that about many ex-UK coaches.

  28. cubano76 says: Dec 5, 2012 6:33 PM

    Would Cristobal or Skip Holtz be considered for this position? Based on what others are saying above, this might not be the dream job it was a few years ago?

  29. tedstheman says: Dec 5, 2012 6:45 PM

    Go back in your cave on the mountain. You obviously have a hard time dealing with reality. If you understood what I said and I will say it again. If Tennesssee had top talent on their roster there would be a line outside the door of the AD of QUALITY coaches trying to get the job. There is no line and won’t be. From what I understand they have already gone through the A list and B list and are now on the C list. It’s not the job it used to be.
    As for cubano76…Bielema has led his team to 3 BCS bowls in a row. That’s not a bad resume to have. Is he the right guy for the job? We will find out.
    All you guys have SEC bias and think that the Tennessee job is a good one becasue they are Tennessee. Sorry but they aren’t relevant anymore and haven’t been for years. Mississippi State and Ole Miss are better jobs then Tennessee. Hell Vandy is a better job! Tennessee is at the bottom of the barrell and most coaches know that. That is why they don’t have a coach yet. My money says that it will be 5 years or more before Tennessee battles for an SEC title. Probably closer to 10 years if that. Sorry guys…that is reality. And I do know what I’m talking about. Just remember I said it when you keep losing year after year.

  30. burgandy2260 says: Dec 5, 2012 7:16 PM

    SMART…PETRINO…FITZPATRICK (NU)…who else is left…wait is there another STOOPS we don’t know about?

  31. jimbo75025 says: Dec 5, 2012 7:21 PM


    And exactly how do you get your information that UT had gone from A to B to C list?

    Pretty much everything that is out there is speculation at this point. Everyone was speculating on Gruden which the rational ones of us knew was not gonna happen. Everyone then began speculating on other people.

    The only ones who have not weighed in on the matter are the ones who really matter-i.e. the AD and the coaches which you believe have rejected job offers? Until one of those parties goes public, no point in arguing or speculating. I am not going to make claims of being “well connected” inside the program, etc because that would be an outright lie, but until a hire is made everyone needs to chill. The postmortem on who rejected UT can begin at that point-the whole truth will come out, it always does eventually.

  32. tedstheman says: Dec 5, 2012 7:22 PM

    Saban would advise Smart no to take the job…no chance to win for a while. Fitzpatrick will never leave Northwestern unless he gets fired. he’s an alum and a Chicago native. Loves the school!
    Petrino could be a possibility…and he could find some picturesqe places to take coeds on motorcycle rides.

  33. tedstheman says: Dec 5, 2012 7:27 PM


    What do you mean the “whole truth will come out”? When has that ever happened? When they make the hire the AD will say that so and so was the only guy under consideration. He was always are number 1 guy. Come on give me a break. they will lie through their teeth to sound good.
    Your remark is as laughable as people who say the SEC teams never cheat when they recruit.

  34. burgandy2260 says: Dec 5, 2012 7:33 PM

    In all seriousness, Petrino knows the SEC and he’s been a winner everywhere he’s gone. Minus the whole NFL attempt that is. If UT wants to keep above par caliber players coming in year after year in the hopes of getting out of this slump then a winner is what you want. I know the whole scandal was a huge black eye but as in life injuries heal and so do reputations especially with some wins in the conference next year. You get a winner, you get some wins and stability, you get the interests of top tier recruits and then you win it all!

  35. tedstheman says: Dec 5, 2012 7:52 PM


    I can’t disagree. He is an excellent college coach and a vey good recruiter. If he behaves and doesn’t let his ego get in the way he may be one of the few who can turn that program around.

  36. ruggyup says: Dec 5, 2012 8:01 PM

    Before you LOL, look at the records carefully and see if you agree Ron Zook is a great fit.

  37. burgandy2260 says: Dec 5, 2012 8:39 PM

    I’m from there and I remember a few short bursts of interest every couple of weeks during his tenure and a season or 2 w/decent records. He may fit better as a consideration for Cincinnati tomorrow once it’s open. It’s a team that’s created already and UT needs a new coach with a fresh start.

  38. houndofthebaskervols says: Dec 5, 2012 10:02 PM


    Go back and read what I wrote… you’re an idiot.

    Sorry. LOL

  39. cochranlawyer says: Dec 6, 2012 4:21 PM

    Tennessee has slowly continue to erode from a top SEC team to a mid level, almost bye week team in the SEC. It is not surprising that none of the top tier coaches that are available wanna move to “good ole rocky top”. Hopefully they can up the ante enough to get a good coach so that the SEC remains a top program overall, but it will be a long time before Tennessee becomes a contender again. Get comfortable Volunteer fans, it’s gonna be a long while before you compete with Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and LSU. Good news though, Auburn is gonna be right there with you.

  40. cfdltech says: Dec 6, 2012 5:06 PM

    TN would be a good job. Great location, great school, and great fans. All major football programs overpay for their coaches, but among those the talent is fairly even. Any given Saturday any team in the SEC can upset. Look at A&M and UA. I just hope the A&M campus is alright. Hopefully, none of their important landmarks were desecrated. Schools are much more than football and while most UA fans never went to college I can see why many of them don’t understand that universities are learning institutions first and sports second. It’s a student athlete not an athlete student. It was hard enough just being a student and my hats off to any kid that does any sport and maintains their studies regardless of their degree. The SEC is full of these individuals. The talent is there and with the right HC and staff to make it come together any team can turn around in no time. Cochranlawyer is a sour-puss. Never under-estimate any SEC team.

  41. kozbee says: Dec 6, 2012 5:24 PM

    Why not rehire Fulmer,no one has done any better then him since he left.

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