Update on SEC coaching changes and search


The SEC had four jobs open at the end of this season: Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee. Three of those job vacancies are filled, leaving Tennessee as the only program yet to hire a head coach.

Here are the updates from all the current programs, including assistants:


  • Hogs hired former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. He gave his introductory press conference yesterday in Fayetteville.
  • It will be interesting to see the staff Bielema puts together, as no assistant’s names have surfaced yet.


  • Auburn hired Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn. Malzahn was the one-time offensive coordinator and part of the Tigers’ 2010 national championship.
  • Malzahn will not coach the bowl game for Arkansas State.
  • Malzahn has hired former South Carolina defensive coordinator and last year’s Southern Miss head coach Ellis Johnson as his new defensive coordinator. That’s a fantastic hire.
  • Malzahn also did not retain anyone from Gene Chizik’s old staff.


  • Florida hired former Kentucky coach Joker Phillips as its wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. His job starts today.
  • Former graduate assistant Bush Hamdan filled in this year at the position after Aubrey Hill abruptly resigned before the start of this season. Hamdan is figured to stay on the staff as a graduate assistant.


  • Kentucky hired FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops.
  • Stoops hired former FSU defensive ends coach DJ Eliot as his defensive coordinator at Kentucky.


  • Three coaches Tennessee once pursued have now rejected the Vols: Jon Gruden, Charlie Strong and Mike Gundy.
  • Strong was thought a shoo-in for the job, but he stayed where his heart ultimately belongs, in Louisville.
  • UNC head coach Larry Fedora was thought to have interviewed, but he’s no longer in consideration, because he’s been rumored to turn the job down also.
  • At this point, names like Butch Davis and Jim Tressel are becoming more popular.
  • Many Tennessee fans would bring back former legendary coach Phillip Fulmer, because he would, at the minimum, not turn the job down.
  • I would go get Jim Tressel. I know he comes with baggage and a sweater vest, but at this point, who else is available who would take the job?
  • Reports are that Butch Jones, Tommy Tuberville and Bo Pelini could be next on the Vol’s radar.

Other coaching news:

  • Former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik has been linked to the Florida State defensive coordinator position, vacated by Mark Stoops at Kentucky.
  • Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo have been linked to the Southern Miss job opening.
Photo Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports



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  • It is really embarrassing that Mike Gundy, Charlie Strong, Butch Davis, Larry Fedora and John Gruden all have turned down the job. While Kentucky, Arkansas, and Auburn found coaches within a week or two, Tennessee can’t even find people to accept an invitation. Even Jim Tressell seems to be more interested in the Wisconsin opening. At this point I would go after anyone and everyone.

  • Tressel has a show cause order stemming from OSU debacle, I think. That is why his name has not come up for other hires. UT should seek out Jim Leavitt, former USF coach, now with the 49ers. I also think Franchione is available.

  • I dont understand why you wouldnt want to go to UT. Ive been to Knoxville once for a Georgia game and several times passing through. No its not the most beautiful place on earth but I think the UT campus especially near the stadium is amazing. Tennessee should be a dream job for some coaches. Part of me feels like they just dont want to get their hands dirty and get after it.

    • Because the program is in a tailspin. They fired a coach 1 year removed from a conference championship game appearance, they then made the worst FBS head coaching hire in the last decade, had the program bent over the radiator when Kiffin left, and then hired a nobody from the Sunbelt who treaded mediocre water for 3 years.
      There is so much work to be done, and whoever takes over is competing with the best known teams and coaches in the country.
      I love Knoxvegas too, but it’s gotten to the point that you’d think someone is a masochist for actually wanting this job.

      • Ha, I think it’s difficult to argue with what you just said. Tennessee will take work and time. They better be confident in their hire and give the guy time. At the same time, I don’t think people in Knoxville should be freaking out that they didn’t get Charlie Strong. The money that they were offering could have seriously backfired. Strong is not a sure thing (and I’m a big Strong fan).

  • From Knoxville,
    WBIR (Channel 10), in Knoxville is reporting that Butch Jones (Louisville) is now the Vols new head man……………

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