Tennessee’s head coaching search continues on, and now a name that appeared the last time the Vols had a head coaching vacancy has popped up again.
According to long-time Knoxville reporter Jimmy Hyams, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has emerged as the front runner for the Vols in their search for a new head football coach. Gundy was offered the same position back in 2012 but declined the job then.
With Duke’s David Cutcliffe and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell out of the picture, Tennessee has turned its coaching search focus to Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. Three sources told me UT has interviewed Gundy, perhaps in Dallas. UT offered Gundy in 2012 but he said declined.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 28, 2017
Gundy has been the head coach of Oklahoma State since 2005 and has had great success with the Cowboys. He’s compiled a 113-53 record and helped the Cowboys finish No. 3 in the country in 2011 as he helped them to a 12-1 record and a victory in the Fiesta Bowl. He’s won 10 or more games five times in the last eight years, and he has a chance to make that six times in the last eight years if he sticks around and coaches Oklahoma State in whatever bowl game they make it to this season.
As stated above, Gundy has turned down the Vols before, however. And he did just sign a five-year extension with Oklahoma State back in June that increased his pay to $4.2 million a year with an increase of $125,000 every year after this year.
Gundy could be using Tennessee’s open position to land another pay raise with Oklahoma State or use it as leverage in some way.
Tennessee was turned down by former offensive coordinator and current Duke head coach David Cutcliffe recently, and Gundy is reportedly the focus of the search now. But if Gundy once again rejects the Vols, there are still plenty of other candidates Tennessee likely will and should contact.