Tennessee’s recent history
The Tennessee Volunteers’ coaching search is looking a lot like their last football season, unpredictable and disappointing.
Over the last couple of seasons, rumors have swirled that head football coach Butch Jones was on the hot seat. However, the ending to his coaching career did not come until the Volunteers were blown out by Missouri, 50-17 on November 12th. Tennessee ended the season with a 4-and-6 overall record. Nearly three weeks later, the search for his replacement continues. To make matters even more complicated, published reports said Friday morning that athletic director John Currie, on the job for all of eight months, had been fired.
Just filed to ESPN: Tennessee has parted ways with AD John Currie on the heels of what has been a disastrous Tennessee coaching search. He met with university officials on Friday morning, and the decision was made then.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) December 1, 2017
Events in Knoxville
On Sunday, Tennessee was closing on a deal to hire Ohio State University defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. After reports of the deal leaked, however, fans and alumni did not shy from showing their discontent of the potential hire. The protests of Schiano were because of the alleged knowledge of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of children, while Schiano was an assistant at Penn State. As a result of this uproar, Currie rescinded the offer to Schiano and continued his search for a new hire for the head coaching position.
Big orange fans continue to protest the possible hire of Greg Schiano as UT’s next head football coach pic.twitter.com/Rku6YxCaza
— Donovan Long (@WVLTDonovan) November 26, 2017
Currie then reportedly discussed the job with Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Purdue’s Jeff Brohm and North Carolina State’s Dave Doeren. However, all of these coaches declined to take the position.
The search for a new head football coached seemed to be coming to a close Sunday night, after multiple reports that Tennessee was negotiating a potential deal with Washington State coach Mike Leach. Volunteer fans showed their excitement on social media platforms as it seemed that the search was finally, mercifully, coming to a close.
However, published sources say that Currie was asked to return to Knoxville Thursday night after meeting with Leach. According to multiple reports, Currie was fired Friday morning. As a result, the Volunteers will now be searching for both a coach and an athletic director.
Prospects of Coaching Hire
The potential hire of Mike Leach seemed to calm the tensions of some UT fans. However, amidst the recent news with the Volunteers now searching for a new athletic director as well, Leach’s hire is currently at a halt.
Leach has been the head football coach at Washington State since 2012. He has gone 38-37 overall in his six years at the helm of WSU. Over the past three years, Leach and his team have gone 19-8 in the Pac-12 . Prior to his coaching position at Washington State, Leach coached at Texas Tech and led the Raiders to 10 straight winning seasons. Texas Tech had an 84-43 record during Leach’s tenure.
The Volunteers had winning seasons every year from 2014-2016. After going winless in the SEC and losing eight games for the first time in program history this year, this team is in need of a rebuild from the ground-up. For now, the University of Tennessee and its’ fans will continue to await the news of what is now multiple significant hires on Rocky Top.