Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
The Tennessee Vols football program head coaching search 2021 is underway, once again, a few weeks before signing day. The Vols seem to be in this position more often than the presidential elections lately.
What should the Vols coaching search decide in 2021?
Table of contents
Pruitt & the Violations
Just when Tennessee Vols football fans thought it couldn’t get any worse. It has. The Tennessee Vols football program is facing NCAA Levels 1 & 2 violations, which led to the firing of head coach Jeremy Pruitt on January 19, 2021.
Tennessee will possibly face the loss of scholarships or a potential postseason ban.
How is it the Tennessee Vols football team is charged with breaking NCAA rules with their record? We’re talking about some kind of recruiting violation here.
If you’re going to cheat or be accused of cheating, WIN MORE THAN 3 GAMES! That’s just embarrassing. Similar to a bad investor, Pruitt put the money in all the wrong places.
Jeremy Pruitt, if you get another job as a head coach, have no knowledge whatsoever of anything illegal happening at your school. That’s coaching 101 it’s written in invisible ink within the NCAA guidelines.
Plausible deniability, Jeremy. If you don’t know anything, then you did nothing wrong. Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher didn’t teach you that?
Again with the timing
Is it just me or does it seem every time the Tennessee Vols football program ends up searching for a new head coach, it’s within 2-3 weeks of signing day. WTF, why didn’t you fire him 6 weeks ago?
I’m becoming suspicious. Is there a Gators or Tide super fan working in Knoxville? There might as well be.
Making this change, at this time, takes away any chance of having a recruiting class of even minimal substance. If it was done on purpose because you don’t know what the NCAA has planned for the program, that’s not a good strategy.
You fired Pruitt, if you did it sooner, then possibly Tennessee football could’ve hired a new staff that would’ve sured up a few recruits. If the NCAA comes down fierce on your scholarships after the fact, you deal with it then.
When you throw out years like this, your essentially starting over from scratch. Someone else did this and essentially put themselves on probation before the NCAA could. I can’t remember who it was but the NCAA hit them anyway.
It takes 3-4 years, recruiting in the top 3-5 nationally to really contend for a championship. Notre Dame and Pac-12 teams like Washington might make the playoff but they don’t have a prayer.
I’ve seen people on social media talking about bringing Lane Kiffin in as the new Tennessee Vols football coach. These people are idiots and should have an asterisk placed next to their profiles.
I’d like to think the people in charge at Tennessee wouldn’t even consider this. Then again, they haven’t proven themselves to be good decision makers in the past 15 years.
Lane Kiffin, if the idiocy on social media spreads like Corona to the decision makers at the University, JUST SAY NO!
Whatever crap you decide to pull, I don’t think you’ll make it out of Knoxville a second time. Look at him in this photo, he’s resembling Steve Spurrier now. Can’t have that on Rocky Top.
Here’s a Moron
I just happened to come across this article entitled, The Tennessee Job isn’t as attractive as Volunteers Fans think. It was published by the site The Big Lead.
Tennessee might not be a good team right now but the prestige of the program remains powerful. Don’t write about the team if you’re confused with who the Vols are, or what they represent. I live in New Jersey. I’ve never been to Tennessee. I’ve been a fan for about 32 years though.
A couple quotes from this idiot
“Yes, Tennessee has a massive, iconic stadium and a ton of fan support, but those same fans are quick to turn on anyone who doesn’t show immediate success. Derek Dooley, Butch Jones and Pruitt all suffered from inflated expectations for the program, while Lane Kiffin wasn’t there long enough for that to happen”.
Where to start with this nonsense. We don’t give the coaches a chance?
No Tennessee fan is looking to win a national title right away. By year three though, there should be some kind of momentum trending upwards.
Jimbo Fisher took over FSU in 2010 without much talent. In 2013 he won the national championship.
He had top 3-5 ranked classes in every one of those seasons. Every year the Noles got better. Nothing like that has happened at Tennessee.
There hasn’t been any real progress in Knoxville from the Vols head coaches. One step forward, then two or three backwards.
It’s the Show
Mr. Phillips from San Diego, saying the Vols have a massive fanbase is one of the only truthful things that you wrote in all your nonsensical idiocy. It’s also an understatement. The Vols aren’t a football team, they are the show.
I apologize though, you’re probably not stupid, you just have no right talking about college football.
You lack the expertise and the historical significance of it all. That’s obvious, your oblivious scribblings are baseless and lack truthful information.
“Tennessee fans think the job is on par with those at Texas, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida, Georgia etc., but it’s basically a worse version of Michigan at this point”.
There are schools who’s program prestige and fanbase go back over 100 years and Tennessee is one of them. The Vols might not be very good right now but the Tennessee job is one of the highly esteemed head coaching jobs out there.
That’s why when Jeremy Pruitt was the hottest coordinator on the market, he chose to become the Vols head coach. Many schools wanted Pruitt to be their head coach.
Basic football knowledge says, Michigan is also one of these teams. They have more wins than anyone else, EVER.
Comparing Tennessee to Michigan isn’t a slight. It’s the only historical fact he got correct. The Vols and Wolverines have much in common over the last century.
This writer’s expertise and knowledge of CFB history must have a real short window. Anyone who knows how the history of the game really works, knows these top schools get down, then when the right coach is in place, they go right back to where they were.
I guess the guy who wrote this doesn’t remember Alabama in the mid-90’s until Nick Saban arrived.
This guy must be a Texas fan. He mentions Ohio State, Bama, Clemson, Florida, and Texas.
The Longhorns haven’t been a factor since the last time they got blown out in the National Championship Game. They’ve had four losing seasons since then.
The Gators haven’t been much better. Tennessee has more National Championships than both Florida and Texas. The Gators and Longhorns COMBINED have one more National Championship than Tennessee.
Georgia doesn’t even come close to the prestige level of the Vols. That must be a joke. I love how these people write articles and their history of the sport goes back 10 years and they don’t even bother watching the old tape. There’s just no other explanation for the stupidity.
Their Not Even Close
“In a good year, the Vols will finish third in their division. Florida and Georgia have clearly surpassed Tennessee in the SEC East and it would take a miracle for that to change. Then you look at the West and Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M are clearly superior programs. That ranks Tennessee sixth (at best) out of 14 SEC football programs. What top-tier coach would want to take a position where he’s fighting against those odds”?
The Tennessee head coaching job is far superior to the ones at Georgia, LSU, or Texas A&M. Florida has closed in a little over the last 30 years. That’s thanks to Urban Meyer’s short time there. It’s still not close though.
Alabama is the only school with the pedigree of Tennessee’s in the SEC. Anyone who’s expertise goes back beyond 2012 knows that. Today the schools you mentioned are better, tomorrow that could change. Some will change. Then back again.
“Those that expect a good head coach could take over at Tennessee and regularly compete for national titles are simply not living in reality. It’s nothing more than a decent Power 5 job at this point. Expectations from fans need to be reduced exponentially”.
Mr. Phillips agrees Tennessee has the stadium and fanbase. The loudest fanbase in college football. A fanbase that puts college football first.
A team that has won six national championships. There are only nine programs in power 5 conferences that have won more games than the Vols have. They’ve won 849 games and have a winning percentage of 67.1%.
I’ve explained how a coach wins. He builds the program through recruiting, and changing the culture. It takes 3-4 years of top classes to be ready to win a title. It’s what Pete Carroll did, Nick Saban, Dabo, Jimbo Fisher, etc.
What Coach would want to
The main question that Mr. Phillips poses is what coach would want to fight an uphill battle against the likes of Nick Saban. The answer is they all did and continue to do what got them there in the first place.
If Nick Saban has the 18th best recruiting class the next two years, he’s not winning anything. Every year Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State are in the top 3-5 in recruiting on signing day.
Teams like LSU and Georgia are next in line. At Least Half of the top 10 classes, each season are SEC programs. That’s why they’re so dominant overall.
Who would want to coach at Tennessee, a school in a state where the Vols football team matters above all else?
Why wouldn’t a coach want the opportunity to bring a 7th National Championship to the fans, and to the state? While restoring Rocky Top and its traditions back to prominence.
The answer is for the same reasons Nick Saban went to Alabama.
Strangers ain’t come down from Rocky Top
There was doubt about Jeremy Pruitt in my mind because of his strong ties to Alabama. I was worried he might build up the program, then leave when Saban retires.
This was a nightmare scenario for me. What happened was worse. This is just embarrassing.
How is it a possibility that Pruitt’s team wins three games and then because of those three wins, every Vols fan has to worry about possible penalties and sanctions from violations caused by what seems to be impetuous actions that could have been prevented with some careful management.
Phillip Fulmer’s final season coaching doesn’t seem as unacceptable as it did to many at the time.
Reckon they never will
Butch Jones had back-to-back 9 win seasons for the Tennessee Vols football program. He was recruiting well but not good enough to make national title runs. Not even close.
After General Neyland’s program best 173 wins, Fulmer(151) and Johnny Majors(116) are the next two winningest coaches. There is a wide gap between Majors 116 wins and the next coach, Bill Battle, who has 59 wins.
Both Fulmer and Majors played for the Vols before they were head coaches at Tennessee. Hopefully this time when a new coach is announced, it will be someone who already knows the words to Rocky Top.
After Derek Dooley and his orange pants, Fulmer should have taken the reigns back. If just for the program to take a breath and evaluate its decision making.
I’m not sure they’ve yet restored order and grasped the decisions that have been made. They need to take a breath and regain control of the disorder that’s occurring over and again.
Peyton Manning is supposed to have some say in terms of giving his opinion in the Vols new head coaching search. Everything Peyton says is that the NFL legend just doesn’t want to be a coach.
Let’s just pretend he did want to finally beat Florida.
The pros for having Peyton Manning are he would draw serious interest from almost all big-time incoming quarterbacks. Not just the ones related to him.
I believe in his first full recruiting year, he would pull a major QB prospect. Maybe more than one. When a school pulls a blue chip QB, big-time targets for that quarterback follow suit. Football is more than a signal caller and a couple receivers though. Especially in the trenches of the SEC. I think Manning knows that though.
The other plus would be his play calling. He’d demand a very intelligent quarterback and with one, he’d be magnificent calling plays from Omaha to Knoxville.
The negatives start with no coaching experience at all. Head coaches have done this in other sports. Steve Nash is currently doing it in the NBA for the Brooklyn Nets.
Even if Peyton was a good coach, he’d have to be able to change the culture of the program and then keep it there. This is as big as recruiting. Talent wins always.
Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, and Jimbo Fisher aren’t necessarily better than other coaches walking the sidelines on Saturdays .
What makes them great is their ability to recruit and develop that talent. Show me any legendary coach from the past and I’ll show you a great recruiter, who demands respect and discipline from his players.
This keeps the kids in line. The culture and talent wins them championships.
247 Sports reported that Dan Patrick has said that Jason Witten is a viable option for Tennessee head coach.
This seems to have been said by Patrick on his radio show. I can’t find anything on his statement that would suggest that it’s anything more than Dan Patrick’s personal opinion.
Witten is still an active player as of today and obviously lacks like Manning, any actual coaching experience.
With the information I gathered I can’t find any evidence that Patrick’s take is endorsed by the university of Tennessee in any way.
It’s Tee Time
Hire Tee Martin as the Vols next head coach. Give him a chance. I know a lot of fans are saying “they’re not sure about Tee Martin”. That’s OK.
The people that are uncomfortable with the idea of Tee Martin as the Tennessee Volunteers head football coach, are probably the same ones that were uncomfortable with him succeeding Peyton Manning as quarterback in 1998.
ESPN has an article giving the odds of the next Tennessee football coach. The odds start with two Tennessee natives in Coastal Carolina head coach, Jamey Chadwell and Louisiana coach, Billy Napier.
In the end, the Vols went with Josh Heupel, who was the UCF coach. He took over for Scott Frost after an undefeated season by Frost in 2017, who was heading to Lincoln to lead his alma mater, Nebraska.
Josh Heupel had been an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, before not having his contract re-newed when it expired. He has limited head coaching experience and now he gets his shot to lead the Vols in the SEC. Is he prepared for this at this time?
Did the tennessee coaching search choose the right man?