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Tennessee football coaching rumors: Candidates who could replace Butch Jones

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Okay, looking past the obvious one you’ll hear.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Tennessee has fired Butch Jones. After 4.5 seasons, Jones was let go following a 50-17 debacle against the Missouri Tigers on Saturday night.

Brady Hoke will be serving as the interim now for the rest of the year. Make what you will of all that, but the Vols will certainly be pivoting their attention to the coaching market after the year is over.

Here’s a few candidates who could take on the job.

Jon Gruden

Okay, so, who knows how viable this is? But you know the #Grumor mill is going to be running wild. Gruden has been named and linked to the job for an innumerable amount of years now. He served as a grad assistant there in 1986 and 1987. Vol fans and reporters can’t seem to let go of this one.

Of course, there’s obvious caveats here. For one, he hasn’t coached at the college level since serving as WR coach for Pittsburgh in 1991. Secondly, he hasn’t coached anywhere since 2008. By the time Tennessee takes the field next year, it will have been 10 years since we last saw him on the sidelines.

He has a very cushy job as the Monday Night Football color analyst. Whether he leaves that job for Tennessee is yet to be seen. Still, you’ll hear Gruden’s name come up and hear it a lot. Just... take it with a grain of salt, I beg of you.

Matt Campbell

Campbell doesn’t necessarily have ties to the program, but he’ll be a hot name in this coaching cycle regardless. He’s done a terrific job in Ames, leading the Iowa State Cyclones to an appearance in the AP poll this year. He might be one to watch, even if he just uses his name to leverage a bigger dollar amount at his csurrent post.

Dan Mullen

Mullen is linked to the Florida Gators vacancy right now, but could still be in play at Tennessee. He’s certainly proved himself a worthy coach in the SEC West at Mississippi State Bulldogs. In the East, by far an easier division, Mullen could certainly stand to improve his status as a coach.

Tee Martin

Hey, it’s not implausible right? Martin has gained experience as an assistant coach over the past few years. He has been on staff at USC since 2012, working as a wide receivers coach, passing game coordinator and most recently offensive coordinator under Clay Helton. USC’s offenses have typically been both talented and prolific.

They’ve also sent a great deal of wideouts to the NFL lately, all of whom have worked under Martin if they came around from 2012-after. And hey: He did win a National Title at Tennessee that one time. If they want to hire someone with Tennessee roots, Martin could be the guy.

Mike Norvell

Norvell has already done well with the Memphis Tigers the past two seasons. So he’s already leaving an imprint in the state of Tennessee. If John Currie and the folks in Knoxville don’t want to go too far away, then Norvell could be their man, then.

Winning at Memphis is hard as it is, and especially so after Justin Fuente left town for the Virginia Tech Hokies a few years back. But he has proven himself worthy the past two seasons. Would he go further east?