Thearon W. Henderson
According to the CTFP, the ESPN talking head could be the next Volunteers head coach if he wants to be, but a conflicting report says he's withdrawn his name from consideration.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press has a new report out this morning, saying that Tennessee has asked This Guy to make a deal:
The Chattanooga Times Free Press has learned from sources close to the process that Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden has been extended an offer to succeed Derek Dooley.
Sources confirmed that while details are still being negotiated, the university's offer is very lucrative and there is no firm deadline on a decision. ...
"Right now, the money is there for him [Gruden], but they aren't as close as he would like for his assistants," one source said. "It could happen as soon as this weekend or go into next week, but he's pretty firm where he is and has already spoken with the guys he wants to be on the staff with him."
The paper has another source saying the same thing, that the money isn't there yet for assistants.
Gruden is a coach who has been associated with a lot of jobs over the years, including this year's Arkansas opening depending on who you believe. Tennessee is always one people have targeted for him because he owns land in the state, was a grad assistant at UT at the beginning of his career, and his wife is a former Volunteers cheerleader.
Despite the Super Bowl ring he owns, Gruden is not a sure thing as a college coach. For one thing, he won the Super Bowl with a team that Tony Dungy built and never got past the wild card round of the playoffs again. His career winning percentage is a parity-tastic .541, and he made the playoffs in only five of his 12 seasons. Furthermore he relishes the complexity of NFL offenses, yet college teams only get 20 hours a week to practice. If he can't find a way to embrace simplicity, then Chucky is just another rendition of Charlie (Weis).
Nevertheless, Gruden is a big name who figures to get the attention of recruits. His bottomless energy reserves could be very useful at a program characterized by malaise right now. We'll see if UT can dig deep to pay the assistants, provided this report is accurate, but it's not going to be easy with all of the buyouts the school is paying in multiple sports.