Earlier today, USA Today reported that Tennessee extended an offer to Chip Kelly to be their next head football coach but Kelly turned them down and was focusing on UCLA and Florida.
Now there are conflicting reports stating that Tennessee and athletic director John Currie never did, in fact, offer Chip Kelly.
According to long-time Knoxville reporter Jimmy Hyams and Trey Wallace of the Read Optional, John Currie never offered Kelly. In fact, Kelly reached out to gauge the Vols’ interest instead of the other way around according to Wallace.
Per team source: Chip Kelly’s representatives reached out to Tennessee to gauge the school’s interest – – no formal talks, no offer.
— Trey Wallace (@TreyW_Radio) November 22, 2017
Hyams also believes Tennessee never offered Kelly either. As he states in his article, he believes Tennessee never offered a job to Kelly and also believes former Vol head coach and current Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin isn’t in play either. “I do not believe Lane Kiffin is in play in part because I don’t think Currie supported hiring Kiffin at UT in 2009,” Hyams writes.
He states that Dan Mullen, Scott Frost, Greg Schiano, Mike Norvell, and Chad Morris are under consideration by Currie. Hyams believes Morris and and Norvell have “fallen down the totem poll” for the Vols, however.
Hyams also states that he believes Peyton Manning’s input will carry a great deal of weight in this hire, saying it may carry more than prominent booster Jimmy Haslam or former head coach Phillip Fulmer.
So did Tennessee offer Chip Kelly or not? For what it’s worth, I was told by a source as well that Kelly wasn’t offered by the Vols either. I personally think Dan Mullen is Currie’s top choice at the moment, and I fully expect him to interview Mullen on Friday or Saturday considering Mississippi State plays on Thanksgiving day.
We will keep you posted as more information comes out on Tennessee’s coaching search.