The Average TN Coaching Hire

When we hired Dooley, I remember my uncle saying, "Tennessee is better than that. We don't hire coaches from Louisiana Tech." A similar opinion came with the hire of Jones from Cincinnati.

As has been stated endlessly, it has been a while since Tennessee has hired a P5 head coach.

So I thought I'd go back through the history of our coaches and see what the average TN coach looks likes in terms of where they came from.

Early Years:

All these were players before they became coaches.

Pierce played at Lafayette,
Kelly and Fisher at Princeton,
Crawford at UT itself,
DePree at Michigan.
Levene was a player at Penn.
Stone played at Sewanee. (Stone coached both football and basketball)

So far, from 1899 to 1909, the "average" UT hire is an Ivy League player, with 3 of the first 7 coaches coming from that background.


Clevenger: Came from Nebraska Wesleyan
Bender: Came from Kansas State (and Washington State before that) - we have our first "P5" coach in 1916.
Banks: Came from Ohio and Drake
We are starting to hire from smaller schools for the most part.

War Years:

We have a run of TN assistants being promoted:
Neyland: An assistant at Army and then Tennessee
Britton: Head coach at Hawaii, assistant at TN
Barnhill: Assistant at TN
Robinson: Assistant at TN
Wyatt: Head coach at Wyoming and then at Arkansas. We have another P5 coach in 1955.
McDonald: Assistant at TN.

"Modern Era"

Dickey: Assistant at Arkansas
Bill Battle: Assistant at Army and at TN
Majors: Head Coach at Iowa St and Pitt - we have a third P5 coach in 1977.
Fulmer: TN assistant
Kiffin: Oakland Raiders/USC OC
Dooley: Louisiana Tech
Jones: Cincy, Central Michigan
Pruitt: Alabama, Georgia, FSU assistant

By my count out of 26 Head Coaches not including interims only 3 were head coaches hired from other currently P5 schools. They came from Pitt, Arkansas, and Kansas State.

2 more were assistants at currently P5 schools: Alabama and Arkansas. You could see this as 5 total from other currently P5 schools, as either HC or assistant coach.
2 came from head coaching currently G5 schools: Cincy, Louisiana Tech.
2 came from other schools: Nebraska Wesleyan, Drake
1 came from the NFL.
7 others were Tennessee assistants directly prior to receiving their head coaching position.
7 were players before coaching.

If you remove the early year player-coaches, then what you wind up with is this:

41% Internal Promotions
29% HC or Assistant from a P5
24% HC from a smaller school
6% NFL (Kiffin)

I doubt that we are hiring internally this time around, which only leaves 10 coaches:

50% HC or Assistant at a P5
40% HC from a smaller school
10% NFL (Kiffin)

I do think we are going to be hiring someone with head coaching experience this time, which switches the numbers again:

37.5% HC from a P5
50% HC from a smaller school
12.5% NFL (Kiffin)

The more we zero in on this particular situation, then, the higher the chances it seems that we will get someone like Napier or Chadwell, or perhaps Leipold or Heupel.

However, it is not out of the realm of possiblity that we get a HC from a P5 school. In fact, getting a head coach from a P5 school would be better than the historical average when all 26 coaches are included. That might mean its Malzahn or Herman.

But we will see what White has up his sleeve.

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