Chattanooga Times Free Press writer Stephen Hargis is reporting tonight that the Tennessee Volunteers have an offer on the table to make former Super Bowl-winning coach and current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden their next head coach.
However, there appears to be financial hang-ups in regards to assistants' salaries, according to two separate sources talked to by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. One source also indicates if demands are met, the hire could be made "as soon as this weekend or go into next week."
I'm not going to take anything else away from the reporting of Hargis, a good friend and better reporter who appears to have the scoop of the search so far. Please go to the site to read the details. Immediately when the story appeared on the TFP website, it went viral -- a testament to Tennessee fans' insatiable desire for coaching news -- especially news regarding Gruden. For a few moments, the story even disappeared before re-appearing. It's already gaining attention on message boards throughout the Big Orange Nation.
So, what does this new development mean? Will the powers-that-be pony up the cash for the Vols to make the hire for one of the biggest names in all of football? Will they let a measly couple million dollars stand in the way of potential multi-millions in the future? Have they already moved on?
That last part is worrisome, as there are rumors tonight that athletic director Dave Hart is already meeting with another candidate, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. The veracity of that rumor has not been confirmed or denied by any news outlet. But this Gruden news seems very real -- even though other news outlets could not be further from having this news, and some are even reporting talks between UT and Gruden have died -- and it seems the Vols have the opportunity to land one of those coaches who can help turn around a program on name and reputation alone.
Hopefully, they can get this thing squared away and bring Gruden to Knoxville.