The Long Shots
Although these names are highly unlikely to come to Knoxville to be Tennessee’s next head coach, their names will undoubtedly be brought up now that there’s a vacancy. It’s not impossible the Vols could land one of these people, but it’s not a safe bet either.
Quick Bio: Tennessee’s white whale is back on everyone’s mind. “Grumors” have already been swirling around Tennessee’s football program for the last month, and expect them to only intensify now that the Vols’ head coaching position is actually open.
Pros: Jon Gruden has won a Super Bowl and has kept his mind fresh on football despite being with ESPN and out of coaching for nearly a decade. He’s largely considered a quarterback guru, and he had success as an NFL head coach and has remained in the spotlight with ESPN.
Cons/Questions: There’s no guarantee Gruden will have success as a college head coach. And even though he’s kept his mind sharply focused on football while at ESPN, it’s still been since 2008 that he’s been on a sideline as a head coach. How would he adjust from the NFL rules and regulations to the collegiate ranks? Gruden has a high ceiling, but he also has many questions to answer.
Quick Bio: Bob Stoops surprised the collegiate world when he announced he was stepping away from coaching prior to the 2017 season. He had amassed huge success at Oklahoma since taking over in 1999 as their head coach. But now he’s out of coaching and could be available if called upon.
Pros: Stoops led the Sooners to a national title and 10 conference championships in his 18 years as head coach there. He was one of the most successful head coaches of his time while he was in the game.
Cons/Questions: Stoops doesn’t seem to want to jump back into coaching and told an ESPN reporter back in October that he plans on remaining retired and doesn’t want to coach in college or the NFL ever again. Tennessee could throw tons of money at him, but it’s unlikely they will or that he would come out of retirement for the Vols.