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Report: Tennessee may pursue Steele, Morris next

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The search continues for John Currie and Tennessee

NCAA Football: Georgia at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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.

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.