The last three days have been a roller coaster ride for anyone and everyone involved with the Tennessee football program.
On Tuesday, reports gained steam throughout the day that Tennessee officials had flown to Dallas to meet with Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. Before long, the word was out that Gundy had in fact been offered the job to replace Butch Jones. A decision was expected to come Wednesday, but by Tuesday night Gundy had turned down a 6-year, $42 million deal to come to Knoxville in favor of staying at his Alma Mater.
Sources: Mike Gundy has decided to remain at Oklahoma State. He met w/Tennessee officials Tuesday in Dallas. Gundy reportedly had a 6-year, $42 million deal from Tennessee, but will remain at his alma mater https://t.co/m1igbKIEpx— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 29, 2017
Where does this leave Tennessee now? Well, according to a report from Knoxville’s WNML and Gridiron Now contributor Jimmy Hyams, the Vols may pursue former Baylor head coach and current Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele for the head coaching job.
Mike Gundy has decided to stay at Oklahoma State and turned down Tennessee's lucrative offer. UT interviewed Gundy today. Tennessee courted Gundy in 2012 and he turned down UT then. Watch for Tennessee to pursue Auburn defensive cordinator Kevin Steele and SMU coach Chad Morris— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 29, 2017
Steele is no stranger to the Tennessee program, having played linebacker for the Vols from 1978-79, and later becoming a graduate assistant coach and linebacker coach from 1980-82 and then again in 1987 and 1988. He had his one and only stint as a head coach at Baylor, where compiled a 9-36 overall record between 1999-2002.
Steele is currently the defensive coordinator for 2nd ranked Auburn, a position he has held since the 2016 season. Under his leadership, the Auburn defense currently ranks 11th nationally in total defense.
It will be interesting to see how this story develops in the coming days, especially with Auburn playing Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday. Tennessee fans maybe wary due to Steele’s prior record as a head coach, but it may benefit the program to hire someone who understands the culture in Knoxville as well as coaching in the SEC.
Hyams has also reported that Tennessee officials may have also met with SMU’s Chad Morris as well.
Tennessee coaching search might be focused on SMU coach Chad Morris who was believed to have been interviewed by Tennessee while in Dallas to also interview Mike Gundy— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 29, 2017
According to Hyams, Morris could have been interviewed on Tuesday while officials were already in Dallas to meet Gundy. Morris served as the offensive coordinator at Clemson from 2011-2014 before taking over the helm in Dallas in 2015. In three years at SMU, Morris is 14-22 overall, but the Mustangs have shown improvement in his third season. They are currently 7-5 after finishing below .500 in his first two seasons.