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Alabama Helped Currie in Vols’ Coaching Search


Tennessee’s search for a head football coach took numerous twists and turns. We documented the entire timeline in a post earlier today. But before even all that mayhem started, former Tennessee Athletics Director John Currie got information from a very unlikely source to aid him in his search for a head football coach at Tennessee.

According to one of the many emails that were released late Thursday night as part of an open records request, Currie was contacted by Kyle Vasey, Alabama’s assistant AD for strategic planning, at the request of Alabama AD Greg Byrne on November 13th. And according to Vasey, Byrne wanted to share some information to help Currie find the right coach for Tennessee.

Here’s the full email from Vasey to Currie:

Hello John,

My name is Kyle Vasey and I am an assistant AD for strategic planning at Alabama. Greg Byrne asked me to send you some analysis we performed on head coaches recently. You’ll find an excel spreadsheet which ranks head coaches based on a metric we created called: coaching efficiency. This metric is a weighted score which incorporates various factors such as national championships, final AP ranking, overall win percentage, etc. You’ll also find a pdf file which analyzes coaches based on their previous coaching experience: Power 5 Head Coach, Power 5 Assistant Coach, former NFL head coach, etc

I am happy to answer any questions you might have on the data.

Kyle Vasey

The data that Alabama shared with Currie lists 87 different stints for dozens of college head football coaches across Power Five schools spanning from the year 2000 to 2017. The “efficiency rating” of each coach was determined by the following weighting system:

  • Winning Percentage – 20%
  • % of Seasons in Top 10 Final AP Poll – 30%
  • % of Seasons that Won National Championships – 40%
  • Recency Factor (Success in Last 5 Years) – 10%

According to the rankings devised by Alabama, their head coach, Nick Saban, was deemed No. 1 on their rankings. It may seem like a bias towards their own head coach, but the facts speak for themselves with Saban. His Tide teams have finished inside the top 10 nine of his 10 seasons as head coach, and he’s won four national titles with Alabama.

Urban Meyer at Ohio State came in second place, followed by Pete Carroll at USC at No. 3, Jim Tressel at Ohio State at No. 4, and Urban Meyer’s stint at Florida at No. 5. Chip Kelly’s run at Oregon was No. 6 and Dabo Swinney’s current stay at Clemson ranks him No. 7 on the rankings.

So where did some of Tennessee’s head coaching targets rank by this metric?

Les Miles, who expressed in Tennessee but apparently never received anything back from the Vols, came in at No. 14 for his time at LSU. Chris Peterson at Washington came in at No. 26 on the rankings. None of Tennessee’s other candidates they contacted throughout the search landed on the list.

Phillip Fulmer came in at No. 25 on the list, easily the highest among Tennessee’s former coaches in the rankings. Butch Jones placed 67th, Lane Kiffin’s one year at Tennessee placed him 70th (his time at USC was 33rd on the list), and Derek Dooley placed 82nd.

It’s unclear how much Currie took this data into consideration while searching for a head coach. But Alabama helping out Tennessee to find a head football coach is just another bizarre turn in what was already a crazy month for the Vols.

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