Reports: Tennessee expected to name new coach by end of weekend
Less than a month after Tennessee fired coach Butch Jones, Athletics Director John Currie is expected to wrap up the coaching search to find Jones’ replacement by early next week.
A report from Gridiron Now suggested that Tennessee could have its next coach within 72 hours of 4:30 p.m Eastern on Friday. The report referred to multiple sources on campus and those close to the Board of Trusteees.
Currie fired Jones on Nov. 12, shortly after a 50-17 loss at Missouri. Tennessee, under interim coach Brady Hoke, is seeking to avoid its first-ever eight-loss season when it (4-7, 0-7) hosts Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium.
The report didn’t suggest that Tennessee had zeroed in on a candidate. But the names most commonly tied to the opening are Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Ohio State assistant Greg Schiano, Iowa State’s coach, Matt Campbell. Coaches less likely to land the job but on the radar are Oregon’s Willie Taggart and Central Florida’s Scott Frost.
Late Friday afternoon, sources said Currie has yet to speak with Mullen, but is expected to do this weekend, though that situation remained fluid late into Friday afternoon.
Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden and Washington coach Chris Petersen were other candidates believed to be in the mix.
John Currie didn’t go to Starkville today as had been expected. But folks on campus are preparing for the end of UT’s search: https://t.co/6Jt4ynqfud
— John Brice (@JohnDBrice1) November 24, 2017
The sources said Tennessee event management and facilities staff have been informed to not waste any time in clean-up and turnaround efforts following the Vols’ finale against Vanderbilt. UT introduces new football coaches inside Neyland Stadium facilities and also historically hosts private meet-and-greet events for new coaches with boosters and program friends. Additionally, UT routinely conducts photo and video shoots on the field inside Neyland Stadium with a new coach.
Multiples sources in UT athletics as well as boosters, executives and former players, said Currie flew to the West Coast earlier this week to gauge Petersen’s interest in the Volunteers’ opening before Currie flew to the Bahamas to join Rick Barnes’ basketball team at the Battle for Atlantis tournament. Currie was expected back in Knoxville on Thursday.