Dave Clawson, the gift that keeps on giving.
Just days after taking away a lifetime of good jokes from Tennessee fans who still (and, begrudgingly, probably incorrectly) held him primarily responsible for the downfall of the program in 2008, Clawson is no longer the punchline after a MAC title, a huge upset win over Northern Illinois, and a step up the ladder to the ACC. Wake Forest chose the Clawfense to fill its vacancy after 13 years of Jim Grobe. And now, the joke could be on us again: there are rumors suggesting current Vol offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian is a candidate to replace Clawson as the head man at Bowling Green.
CoachingSearch.com is reporting it this morning, which was retweeted by a number of Knoxville media. As we painfully know, coaching searches are truth surrounded by fiction, and at this early stage it's impossible to separate one from the other, so stay tuned.
Let's say first of all that this would obviously be a step up for Bajakian, so a preemptive congratulations to him if he does land the job. Now let's talk about the bad news.
First there's the wrinkle of what this move could do to Tennessee's recruiting class, currently ranked second in the nation. I'm not the recruiting guy around here, but Bajakian is not the primary recruiter for the Vols and has not been the lead guy on much of UT's 2014 class, still ranked second in the nation. Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni is Tennessee's recruiting coordinator and the lead recruiters among the assistants have been Tommy Thigpen, Steve Stripling, Mark Elder, and Robert Gillespie according to 247's Coach Rankings. The fact that the Vols don't have a quarterback in this loaded class would also ease the immediate impact of a potential Bajakian departure.
The real frustration here is the revolving door in Knoxville that doesn't seem to stop no matter who the head coach or athletic director is. Here are Tennessee's coordinators going back nine years now:
- 2005: Randy Sanders, John Chavis
- 2006: David Cutcliffe, John Chavis
- 2007: David Cutcliffe, John Chavis
- 2008: Dave Clawson, John Chavis
- 2009: Jim Chaney (Lane Kiffin calling plays), Monte Kiffin
- 2010: Jim Chaney, Justin Wilcox
- 2011: Jim Chaney, Justin Wilcox
- 2012: Jim Chaney, Sal Sunseri
- 2013: Mike Bajakian, John Jancek