The University of Tennessee is in full coaching search season as new AD Danny White searches for Tennessee Football’s next head coach.
There have been a lot of names thrown around on Vol Twitter as potential candidates for Tennessee football’s opening at head coach. As Danny White settles in as the Vols’ next athletic director, I think it’s safe to say he’s looking to hire now, not next year.
Before White was hired, one of my theories was that Tennessee might name Kevin Steele the interim head coach and hire someone after the 2021 season. After listening to White’s opening press conference, I don’t think the Vols will be waiting around to make a hire.
There have been a lot of names thrown out as possible candidates for Tennessee’s next head coach. From Group of 5 head coaches to former Power 5 coaches to current Power 5 coaches, Tennessee fans have their eyes on a lot of different names.
Three of the most prominent Power 5 coaches I’ve seen be mentioned, not only by Tennessee fans but also by other college football analysts, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck, and Penn State head coach James Franklin.
Kiffin and Franklin are fairly familiar with the University of Tennessee and Neyland Stadium, although they have been on different sidelines. Kiffin’s short stint in Knoxville has given Tennessee fans hope he could return to Rocky Top to save the Vols, and Franklin’s success in the SEC with Vanderbilt offers potential he could do the same, and more, with the Vols.
It seems like Fleck, although catches flack for being the next Butch Jones, could also do some good things at Tennessee. He took a MAC program to a New Year’s Six bowl game and has led Minnesota to an 11-win season.
White usually keeps his cards close to his chest, so it’s hard to say where he might go, and I don’t think we’ll know too much before the press conference when White announces who he’s hiring. If anything, the leak will probably have to come from the university the coach is leaving.
That’s why I haven’t invested too much time in the insanity of coaching search Vol Twitter because White very well could hire someone that isn’t on anyone’s list.
With every day going by, we get closer to spring practice, so I expect the hire to come soon. The university acted quickly in hiring an AD, and I would expect the same in the head coach hiring process.
But could White actually hire a coach from a Power 5 program? Well, in short, of course, they can. I wouldn’t put anything past White. He knows how to make big coaching hires and get outstanding coaches to lead the programs he oversees.
I think any of those three hires could be good for the program. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in Danny White’s office to hear what is going on behind the scenes and report back to you, but unfortunately, I don’t think that technology is available yet.
I’m excited to see where White goes with this hire. He’s a great athletic director, I think he knows how to get Tennessee back on the right track, and I think this coaching hire will illustrate that.