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Tennessee's 2012 Coaching Search

Now that Derek Dooley has been fired, what's next for Tennessee football? Jon Gruden's off the table. Or is he? Mike Gundy and Charlie Strong have turned down job offers. Who's next?

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40 Total Updates since November 18, 2012
  • Important 26
  • Updates 12
  • Articles 27
  • All Updates 40

Butch, Make Me More Than Half-Believe

Why I don't believe in Butch Jones but sincerely hope he makes me.

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Bears all, Believes all, Hopes all, Endures all

The Butch Jones Era begins with chaos in Knoxville. How do we move forward from here?

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The Optimism Bias Strikes Again

And now that I've had my coffee and my shower . . .

. . . let me say that I feel better already. I meant everything I said a mere two hours ago, but things have coalesced a bit for me already. I still think we needed something for the short term as well as something for the long term, and I still think that the administration, based on reports that we didn't really even try for someone who would have provided more of an immediate impact, made a mistake. Going into the thing, all boiled down to just the stuff floating on top, I was just hoping for someone we didn't have to research. Not because we don't want to do research, but because it meant that we didn't get someone we were already excited about.

But I also meant it when I said over the summer that reasonable optimism bias is good for you and when I said this morning that I thought I'd find my optimism equilibrium sometime soon. And it's actually returned sooner than I thought. Here, I can help.

I admit to a certain residual cynicism going into the press conference today at 2:30. The whole Charlie Brown kicking the football thing comes to mind. We've been through this three times in the past four years -- Who's that? Awesome presser, dude. Who's that? Awesome presser, sir. And you don't really want to be that guy who just Pavlov's his way through insanity over and over again. I understand. Because that's exactly how I feel. I don't want to be tricked by the press conference into thinking that we're all going to live happily ever after.

But just because we don't have the immediate Happies this morning, it doesn't mean that they won't come. And, even better, it doesn't mean that they won't come sooner rather than later. Because you may have had to look up Butch Jones' resume rather than just blindly ga-ga-ing over a certain unnamed Monday Night Football guy, but when you shake off the blues and get your mind right, you can actually see things you weren't looking for before. And there are, in fact, good things to see.

And if you think that I'm completely off my rocker and speaking out of both sides of my mouth, well you're sort of right. It's part of the process. I was disappointed. Still am a bit. But I also still believe that thinking that good things will happen is better than thinking that bad things will happen. If that doesn't make sense to you, have another look at this summer's optimism post and see if you don't feel differently.

So. Welcome to Tennessee, coach Jones. Let's do this.

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Give Jones a Chance

I have 4,342 songs on my iPod.

When I go to sleep at night, I put it on a docking station and hit "Shuffle." For hours upon hours, nights upon nights, those songs play through, one-at-a-time until it gets to the end. Then, I start it over.

This morning when I woke up, Kenny Chesney's "Touchdown Tennessee" was playing. Now, I'm normally not much on signs, but that's the only Tennessee-related song out of 29 days worth of music on that iPod. And it came after a fretful night full of frustration and short of sleep. It probably meant nothing, but it certainly made me feel a bit better about the uncertainty facing our program and the man we've chosen to be its savior.

In case you didn't know, Tennessee's 19-day coaching search turned up Cincinnati coach Butch Jones on Friday morning. It was all but done Thursday night, ending an embarrassing run that began with GRUDENMANIA!, turned to Oklahoma State lifer Mike Gundy, wound its way to Louisville and overpaying for Charlie Strong -- who ultimately stayed with the Cardinals -- and finished just three hours north in Cincinnati. Thrown into the mix were overtures for an uninterested Jimbo Fisher and a coach in Larry Fedora who has spent just one season at his current job.

For weeks, we were told that coaches around the country were calling the Tennessee job the "best out there," and we wound up with one of the few coaches Derek Dooley beat while at UT, a guy who really doesn't have any ties to the South and somebody who surely doesn't make Nick Saban or Steve Spurrier shake in their boots.

On the surface, we believe athletic director Dave Hart and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek botched it, and you can't really dispute that. But here's where many people may be wrong: All we know they botched was the search, not the hire.

Tennessee fans are up in arms about this hire, and wrongfully so. It's fine to be frustrated about the process and frustrated about how it was handled. It's also fine if Jones wasn't your choice to be our next head coach. What's not fine is going to Twitter and acting like a bunch of rednecks toward Jones, or rescinding your fanhood and stopping your support of the program.

Either you're a Vol or not. Some of us need to quit with the threats and just leave, already. This program has been great before, will be great again, and it doesn't depend on your support.

Look, Jones wasn't your number one choice. I get that. He wasn't mine, either. He wasn't Tennessee's, either. The Vols tried to go after Gruden, and the money didn't work out for whatever reason -- whether it was Dave Hart's ego or Gruden's. They tried to break the bank to get Strong, who stayed in Louisville and became one of the highest-paid coaches in the country after coaching just two games against ranked opponents in his entire career. They even reportedly made another run at Gundy after he told them no the first time. Like everywhere else Hart and Cheek turned, they were rebuffed.

At the end of the day, Jones -- who wasn't contacted until Thursday morning -- jumped at the opportunity to coach UT. He WANTS to be here. If that doesn't mean something to you, look in the mirror. It should.

The vitriol directed at Jones is sad. We've already fired him before giving him a chance. He deserves better than that.

Tennessee fans are great at revisionist history. We like to think that we've built this prestigious program that anybody would be proud to come be a part of. That's great that we all believe that, but, historically, it simply isn't true. Our history and tradition have been built internally since General Robert Neyland. Sure, we convinced Johnny Majors to come marching home from Pittsburgh once upon a time, but he was a Vol through and through. Beyond him, you have to go all the way back to 1954 when we "stole" a successful coach from another program, convincing Bowden Wyatt to leave Arkansas after an 8-3 season.

Not only that, but look at the SEC coaches and what they were before they came to their current jobs. We act like every SEC program goes out and gets The Greatest Coach Of All Time, and we just fail and are coming up a step behind. It's simply not true.

  • Les Miles was 7-5 at Oklahoma State.
  • Will Muschamp was the defensive coordinator at Texas.
  • Steve Spurrier had tons of success at Florida but was a fired NFL coach.
  • Mark Richt was Florida State's offensive coordinator.
  • Kevin Sumlin had gone 12-1 at Houston, but was a year removed from 5-7.
  • Gus Malzahn just finished one very successful year -- his only one as a head coach -- at Arkansas State.
  • Hugh Freeze had success, but only at Arkansas State.
  • Bret Bielema has gone to three consecutive Rose Bowls, so there's one at Arkansas.
  • James Franklin was Maryland's offensive coordinator.
  • Mark Stoops was Florida State's defensive coordinator.
  • Dan Mullen was Florida's offensive coordinator.
  • Nick Saban had wild success at LSU and was plucked from a bad situation as Miami Dolphins head coach.
  • Missouri's Gary Pinkel is a similar circumstance as he was hired away from Toledo in 2001 after a great run there, culminating with a 10-1 record.

So, that's two guys who were stolen from BCS conference schools and two more who had great success in the SEC but struggled in the NFL. If there's one SEC coach you can compare this hire to, it may be Missouri's Gary Pinkel -- who has had a pretty good career at Mizzou.

But we're all sitting here acting like we were EXPECTED to go out and take one of the nation's best coaches from one of the nation's best teams. That simply doesn't happen.

What we did was went out and got a head football coach who has won four conference championships in six seasons. Granted, they were at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, but the man has won wherever he has been. He's followed Brian Kelly, so the programs he has inherited were in good shape, but he's kept them there, and in the case of Central Michigan, took them further than Kelly did.

As I wrote last night, I'm not concerned that Derek Dooley beat Jones with a ton more talent and an athletic budget that quadruples that of Cincinnati's. I'm not concerned whether or not he's a good coach [all we've seen from him is winning]. I'm concerned about whether or not he can convince the nation's best players to come play for him over the likes of Saban, Muschamp and Richt. To do that, Jones needs to hire a staff full of good recruiters.

Like everything else in his career, guess what? He gets it. He's already reached out to former Vol great and current Southern Cal wide receivers coach Tee Martin about joining him on his new staff at Tennessee, according to GoVols247. He knows he has to hire a great staff, one with recruiting ties to the South. With that move, that tells me "maybe this guy gets it."

In-state talent Vic Wharton -- a player in the 2014 recruiting class -- already tweeted about how the fans may not like Jones, but recruits would. This year's Elite 11 top quarterback Asiantii Woulard -- who recently decommitted from South Florida after they fired Skip Holtz -- has already tweeted about Tennessee this morning, and many of the nation's top schools want him to visit. Jones was among the first to offer scholarships to current UT players Nathan Peterman, LaTroy Lewis and Kenny Bynum. Maybe the man knows talent. Maybe he gets it. Maybe he will have better players with a strong recruiting staff and more resources to recruit to.

I know we don't want "maybes," but that's what we were going to have, regardless. I wanted Jon Gruden as much as anybody, but how do we know he'd have done all the stuff the right way in recruiting, compliance, 20-hour rule, etc.? I would have liked his chances, but there were questions. Charlie Strong would have probably recruited his tail off, but Jones is a more proven coach than Strong. He's 2-1 in his games against Louisville, and he just won Big East Coach of the Year instead of the man we nearly overpaid to bring to Knoxville. There are questions with Jones, but don't act like he's the only one who brings them with him.

So, give him a chance, guys. Seriously. You may think, "Tennessee is better than Butch Jones" and you may be right, but you certainly don't know that. What we do know is this is the best coach that we have gone out and gotten outside of the family since 1954. We know he's won everywhere he's been.

Do we know he'll win here? No, we don't. But we don't know he'll fail, either, and we're already acting like he's going to.

I'm a Tennessee Volunteer, and if Jones is our head coach, I'm a Jones fan.

If you've never heard that Chesney song, interspersed between verses about Tennessee football, there are cut-ins of John Ward calling some of the most memorable plays in UT history, little audio snapshots of our glory days. There's enough in there to bring a tear to your eye, especially the way the past decade has gone. I don't know if Jones is the savior who can lead us back to those days, but I'm willing to give the man a try.

Welcome to Big Orange Country, Coach Jones. If the initial reception of your tenure is any indication of how this is going to go for you, I'm sorry you came.

For you. Not us.

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UT hires Butch Jones, asks too much of fan

Volquest.com is reporting that Tennessee's 2012 coaching search has ended and that Cincinnati coach Butch Jones will soon be announced as the next head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.

Caveats: First, this entire post assumes that Volquest is correct. This search has been so screwy that I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that they're wrong, and I wouldn't hold it against them. Second, in this post, I am not speaking for anyone else on this site. This is my opinion. I'm probably not alone, but I don't presume to speak for anyone else. Third, any "facts" that I reference should be taken with a grain of salt. Information is elusive during the reporting of coaching searches and comes from everywhere. It's all questionable. And fourth, this has nothing to do with Butch Jones. I have nothing against the man, and I do not want to be disrespectful of the guy. I'm not going to meet him at the airport and scream at him for taking the job. I may have taken the job if they'd offered me $3M to do it.

But I am exercising the right to voice my displeasure at Dave Hart and Jimmy Cheek, or whoever else was making decisions about the coaching staff the past three weeks.

In 2008, I was one of the last holdouts for Phillip Fulmer. But by the end, I'd concluded that there was just too much division in the fan base, and support for a winning argument that he could get it turned around was becoming scarce. And so I went along with it. His goodbye press conference was a sad day on The Hill even for many of those who'd wanted him gone much earlier. But we fans got in line and fixed our eyes on the next era of Tennessee Football.

Then came Lane Kiffin and his chest-pounding and rival-poking, and we got in line again. One of the worst dilemmas for fans is a choice to support a leader you normally wouldn't support because you want your team to succeed. At that point, you support the guy or . . . what? You want him to fail? I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I got on board with his plan. Having made the conscious decision to try to support the guy in control of our football program, I eventually made it to actually supporting him and defending him and his antics. It was Rumspringa, and I was all in. The only real problem with Kiffin was that he remodeled the house on a short term lease. Rather, he started to but left the project unfinished at the worst possible time.

Then along came Derek Dooley after an embarrassing coaching search that had the program publicly spurned by a a bunch of guys who we perceived to be B-List candidates. The first thing I remember about the Dooley announcement was sitting in front of my computer and trying to come up with a word that was the opposite of "splash." I thought I remembered writing it, but the archives say that I just went with this. I must have decided to hide my disappointment and to give another guy the benefit of the doubt. Basically, I came around again. We were angry at Kiffin, and Dooley was the anti-Kiffin, and so we dutifully got in line. We knew what he was getting into and what we were expecting of him, and we reduced our short-term expectations and gave him time to water the bamboo. And when it started to become clear that it wasn't going to work even after several seasons, we justified the whole experiment with the conclusion that because of the way and the when of Kiffin's departure, Dooley was really the best we could have done.

But we also found comfort in knowing that we were no longer in that situation. Dooley was terminated before the end of the season. We got in the coaching market early. Dave Hart spoke eloquently of his standards for coaches and programs, and we nodded our heads and said, "This time we're going to get it right." Then they released word of allowing the athletics department to reclaim some $18M of the funds that might have otherwise gone to academics, and we said, "They're serious this time. They're going to get it right." The administration was positioning itself to land an A-Lister. Good.

We were happy, because we knew the importance of this hire, not only for the long term, but for the short term as well, and it was beginning to look like the administration knew it as well. We knew that the hire absolutely had to be a home run because fan apathy was killing the program and was beginning to bridge the gap between seasons, eliminating all periods of hope. The choice was between an A-Lister, who would cure the apathy and for whom a downside, if there was one, would come two years later, and a B- or C-Lister, who would require a tiring fan base to again wait and see, and for whom an upside, if there was one, would come two years later. What do you want to defer, the upside or the downside? The downside, of course.

But we were in good hands. Dave Hart had been involved in a very similar situation at Alabama recently, and they'd hired Nick Saban. He had to have known that this hire had to hit. And that's why, in the beginning, it was Jon Gruden, and then everyone else.

What the heck happened? Things quickly deescalated, first to Charlie Strong, Mike Gundy, and Larry Fedora, and when we whiffed on those guys, we somehow ended up here, at today's supposed announcement that one of the few guys Derek Dooley beat is going to be our next head coach.

And now, on this site, all over Twitter, and all over the internet, there are people who are saying that they're done donating to the University. Done buying season tickets. Done going to games and buying apparel. And don't make the mistake of thinking that's just a few crazy people Talking While Angry. Because I'm guessing that the entire fan base has shifted in that direction in varying degrees. Some went over the ledge. But even the folks who will still be donating and going to every game aren't as excited about it and are likely to be less invested as they would have been had the program hired someone they immediately believed could create positive memories rather than someone they have to research on Wikipedia. Hope deferred makes a heart sick. Hope makes a good breakfast but a terrible supper. Whatever poetic phrase you want to use, our hope is waning.

We may never know for sure the details on how we got here. It's possible that the entire administration did everything they could to get an A-Lister. If so, fine. Tell us, and we'll get through it together.

But based on the only information we have right now, which the administration has to know is out there and therefore the only information we have to react to, they absolutely botched this. There are only rumors and unnamed sources that suggest that we made a real run at Jon Gruden. Sure, he's a Grunicorn, but if you're serious, you pursue the #1 coaching candidate on the planet. But if I'm correct, the only sourced information we have about our pursuit of Gruden is that we waited two weeks after firing Dooley to contact him and then it was only to tell him that we weren't interested in him. What? If that's the case, that's a worse decision that Dooley playing for overtime against Missouri, which is the point in time that I concluded he deserved no more time if he wasn't going to use it.

And so we offered Strong. And Gundy. Maybe Fedora, who might also have been in the Wikipedia category. And they all said no, and I just recently saw where Gundy suggested the offer he received from us wasn't that serious.

And so it's Butch Jones. A wait-and-see guy. Maybe there's an upside, but the administration has asked us to defer the possibility. There is no upside for this recruiting season. There is no reason to believe that he's the kind of hire that would cause Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, and/or Cordarrelle Patterson to think that just maybe they should stay another year. There's no reason to believe that the Orange and White Game is going to be packed out in anticipation of a turnaround. Or to think that donations or ticket sales or concessions or apparel sales will be up. Apparel stores like mine are going to have to diversify their offerings and bank on other teams or risk going out of business. The businesses on The Strip are going to want to renegotiate their leases to ride out the next couple of years.

Butch Jones may turn out to be a fantastic long-term hire. But the program also desperately needed a shot in the arm for the short-term at this point in the program's history, and on that criteria, the administration struck out.

I'm one of the two most optimistic voices on the most optimistic fan-based Vols website on the internet. I hope I am wrong about having to wait for hope to return. I hope that if we do have to wait, that we don't have to wait for very long. But I am so tired of hoping for a splash and being unable to find a word for the opposite.

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Report: Jones Frontrunner for Tennessee Job

As Butch Jones turned down job offer after job offer the past few days, it kind of made you wonder if he knew something we didn't.

Thursday night, GoVols247 writer Wes Rucker reported that Jones could possibly soon have a greater opportunity that the three previous jobs he's turned down. Sources told Rucker that the University of Cincinnati head coach is the frontrunner for the University of Tennessee's head coaching job vacated by recently fired Derek Dooley. Rucker also confirmed through five sources that UC has a team meeting scheduled for the morning.

Several unconfirmed reports were surfacing that Cincinnati radio was saying Jones would be the next Tennessee coach.

Rucker has NOT reported that Jones has an offer, however. Volquest.com is reporting that Jones does NOT have an offer right now and has had no face-to-face meetings or formal interviews with UT athletic director Dave Hart. We're certainly not comfortable saying that Jones is going to be UT's next head coach right now and are only going with Rucker's report about him being the front-runner.

This hire [if it happens] is ... perplexing, to say the least. One day after the Vols were reportedly turned down by Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and Louisville coach Charlie Strong, they turn to Jones, who has been very successful at lower-tier schools, but is not someone who is going to excite anyone.

The 44-year-old Michigan native has never beaten a ranked team. He has an impressive 50-27 career record [including a 2-1 record against Charlie Strong] but has never posed much of a threat to good teams. Last year, he brought a Cincinnati team into Neyland Stadium and lost by three touchdowns to Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers.

Now, it appears he could have the opportunity to coach in Neyland more.

Jones has been a hot name on the coaching circuit this year, reportedly interviewing and withdrawing from the University of Kentucky job,turning down the University of Purdue job and -- last night -- turning down the Colorado University vacancy.

For more on Lyle Allen "Butch" Jones Jr.'s career, here's his Wiki page. It's impressive, even if it's a bit fluffy. Basically, he led Central Michigan to records of 8-6, 8-5 and 11-2 following Brian Kelly, who left to coach at Cincinnati. When Kelly left Cincy for Notre Dame, Jones took over there and has been successful. After a 4-8 debut season, Jones has gone 10-3 [including a victory over Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl] and 9-3. He currently has the No. 53-ranked recruiting class in the nation.

He also has won or shared a conference championship in four of the six seasons he's been a head coach.

Of course, the first thing many Tennessee fans will say if he's hired is that Dooley beat him -- one of the few teams he beat in his forgettable UT career. That's illogical, in my opinion. He is a proven winner, and that's something that Dooley never was. But that doesn't make him a good hire [if it happens], either.

There are several causes for concern, in my opinion, two reasons why I wouldn't have offered him the head coaching job at somewhere like UT.

  • The thing that most concerns me is Jones doesn't have any ties to the Southeast, hasn't recruited much here before and only has one coach on his staff with any SEC experience.
  • What kind of staff will he have? What kind of money would he have to hire a staff? Who will come coach with him, since he's unproven at the highest level?
  • Also, he's followed Brian Kelly at his past two coaching jobs. He's never been in a situation where the "cupboard was bare," so to speak, or there were issues on the team. Both programs he inherited were in good shape, and he kept them there. How will he fare coaching [and recruiting] in the best conference in the country?

Jones is reportedly a great players' coach, and his kids love to play for him. But that doesn't mean he can convince the top athletes to come play for him at UT.

The bottom line was many people said this was the best job on the market this season, and a train wreck of a search could potentially uncover Jones. It's not that Jones is a bad coach -- he may be a great one. It's that this fan base really yearned for a home run, and at the best, Jones is a slap-single through the hole.

At least if he's hired, he'll fit into the "half bear, the other half cat" stuff, won't he?

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In Which We Figure Out How Good the UT Job Is

Since apparently we have some time to figure this out, let's take a look at some of the other coaching jobs in the nation to see where Tennessee stacks up.

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NEW POLL: Who Should Be Tennessee's Head Coach?

Not Gruden, not Fisher, not Gundy, not Strong...what's next?

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Strongwatch Another Day? Morning Meeting Reported

Multiple Louisville news outlets reported that Cardinals head football coach Charlie Strong came and went from his team meeting without informing his players of a decision on his future. Those same sites are saying that Strong told his players he'd meet with them at 7:30 a.m. Thursday to inform them of his decision before meeting with the media at 8 a.m.

None of that has been confirmed nor denied through the university.

Volquest.com reported this afternoon that UT athletic director Dave Hart and his wife traveled to Louisville to meet with Strong and his wife on Wednesday afternoon but returned without a head coach. So, is Strong still undecided? Has he told Hart what he plans to do and is waiting until the morning to tell his team? Will he stay or go?

All those answers appear up in the air at this point, but why wouldn't Strong have told his team this afternoon if his decision had made? I truly believe he's still torn. As I said this afternoon, if it's about money, I believe Louisville will match any offer and he will stay. If it's about coaching the best in the best conference, he'll come to Knoxville.

Still, we wait...

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Vols Offer Strong; Louisville Countering

GoVols247 is reporting that the Tennessee Volunteers have offered Charlie Strong to be their next head football coach. Now, it appears the ball is in UofL's court.

According to Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Adam Himmelsbach, the University of Louisville is working on renegotiating Charlie Strong's contract with the help of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs.

If it's about money here, obviously, Strong will probably stay at Louisville. The University of Tennessee probably doesn't want to get into a bidding war with anybody, especially an athletic director as stubborn and powerful as Tom Jurich. If it's about getting better recruits and competing in a better conference, UT stands a chance. If Strong is the guy we want, I doubt this is the end of it.

Stay tuned.

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Gundy expected to stay in Stillwater, Report says

Oklahoma State sideline reporter Robert Allen is tweeting and has said on the radio that Mike Gundy has made his decision, and he is staying in Stillwater.

There have been no confirmations of reports that Gundy had an offer from Tennessee, but multiple news outlets are reporting that this morning. Also, GoVols247 has indicated the past several days that Gundy was UT's top choice left on the board to be the next head coach of the Vols.

Is this what is holding up things with Louisville coach Charlie Strong, or is Strong going to stay in Kentucky at his own volition? Are there other hang-ups such as hiring his own staff, as former Vols receiver and Knoxville radio personality Jayson Swain tweeted this morning? Have the Cardinals and powerful AD Tom Jurich matched Tennessee's offer?

Where do the Vols turn from here? Stay tuned. It's already been a crazy day.

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CBSSports.com: Tennessee offers Mike Gundy

CBSSports.com is citing a source (I know, right?) in reporting that Tennessee has offered Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy the head coaching position for the Vols. Mr. Forever Forty had the pokes at 12 wins and in its first BCS bowl appearance last season, finishing #3 in the nation, which we'd gladly take around these parts right now, right? He's 66-35 at Okie State, where he once played QB. Who knew?

There's apparently some friction between Gundy and OSU AD Mike Holden, but whether that big moneybags booster has enough to grease that ol' friction away remains to be seen.

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Report: Larry Fedora interviews with Tennessee

SB Nation is reporting that North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora did indeed interview with Tennessee late Tuesday in New York City. So what does that tell us about Charlie Strong and Mike Gundy? Who knows?

Fedora, whose team put up an 8-4 record in his first season with the reins, arrived at UNC after four years at Southern Miss. He won a C-USA Championship in 2011 and sports a nifty overall record as head coach of 42-23.

For more on Fedora, check out Will's post on he, Strong, and Gundy and Trey's post on People Who Are Not Named Jon Gruden.

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Statistical Breakdown of UT's Candidates

If you can't be with the one you love, love the one with a manageable buyout. A look at the Tennessee candidates, in cold hard stats- selfish and shrewd.

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Strong, Gundy, or Fedora?

As the Vols zero in on their reported finalists to replace Derek Dooley, the quality names still standing prove this job is still strong.

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Clear The Board!

Moving on from Jon Gruden to the rest of the list; where should the search go from here?

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Conflicting Reports on Gruden's Contract Offer

An offer was made! An offer was never made! It could happen! It won't happen! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee....

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Report: Gruden Has Offer On the Table To Coach UT

The Tennessee Volunteers have an offer on the table to make Jon Gruden their next head football coach, but assistants' salary appears to be a major snag

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There's Gruden, Then There's Everyone Else

The list of candidates to become Tennessee's next head coach starts with one man. Here's why we hope it ends with him.

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Report: Arkansas offers Jon Gruden

A TV station in Arkansas is reporting that the Razorbacks have made an offer to Jon Gruden. Does this mean he'll end up staying in the booth, singing Rocky Top, or yelling woo pig sooie as Vols fans hurt themselves with sharp utensils?

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The Impact of Derek Dooley's Ouster On Recruiting

Derek Dooley's meticulous approach to recruiting is actually going to help the Tennessee Volunteers retain some of the recruits in this year's class.

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There's A Press Conference At 2 And You Know Why

After Year Zero, Year Injury, and Year Hey-Where's-the-Defense / Hey-Let's-Mail-It-In, Derek Dooley has been officially fired from the role of Tennessee head coach.

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A Crossroad That Could Define Our Program's Future

With so much uncertainty following Tennessee's second consecutive bowl-less season, the one certainty is the university must prove its commitment to winning football.

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Vanderbilt 41 Vols 18 - Epilogue on an Epitaph

The Vols burned in Nashville, but had already crashed long before kickoff.

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Why Tennessee's next hire has to be a home run

With Derek Dooley reportedly on his way out, Tennessee's next hire must be one that inspires fans and rekindles hope.

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Derek Dooley Squanders His Last Opportunity

For this fan, Derek Dooley's decision to let the clock run out and play for overtime in the Tennessee-Missouri game was the final squandering of his last real opportunity, both in the game and in his career at Tennessee.

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