The Long Shots
Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze
Freeze would be a tremendous hire for the Vols purely from a coaching standpoint. What he was able to accomplish at Ole Miss and is currently doing at Liberty is extremely impressive. Freeze would be interested in the job and would win, but can Tennessee bring him in after the fallout with Pruitt? It would be a surprising development considering the University will likely face punishment from the NCAA. Plus, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey may not even allow Freeze to come to Knoxville.
Louisiana head coach Billy Napier
It would be a stunning development if Napier were to have interest in the Tennessee job. He’s stayed put with the Ragin’ Cajuns, passing on Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and South Carolina the last two coaching cycles in an effort to hold out only for a sure thing. And the Vols are far from a sure thing right now.
Tennessee should still kick the tires on Napier. He’s done a tremendous job at Louisiana and there could be some interest on his part given he is from down the road in Cookeville. Napier is 21-4 in his past two seasons, which includes a win over an eventual top-1o Iowa State on the road.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell
Campbell is in the same conversation as Napier. He would be a grand slam hire and Tennessee should call him, but he’s not going to interested in the Vols. It’s as simple as that.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin
It’s hard not to link Kiffin to the Tennessee job given how he has rebounded from being left on the tarmac as USC’s head coach. Kiffin had a good run at FAU and is off to a great start at Ole Miss, so would UT be interested in bringing him back for a second tenure? It’s tough to see that taking place, but Kiffin would listen and be interested. But like Freeze, it’s hard to see Tennessee bringing in Kiffin with the way the situation with Pruitt went down.