Charlie Strong Tennessee's top candidate, according to multiple reports

Andy Lyons

Louisville coach Charlie Strong has emerged as the top candidate to be the next head coach at Tennessee.

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong is the front-runner for the open position at Tennessee, according to ESPN and Nashville's News Channel 5. Larry Fedora and Mike Gundy are the two other names that have been reported as final candidates. Strong reportedly interviewed with the Vols on Friday before giving an awkward press conference at Louisville.

Strong is in his third season at Louisville, and has led the Cardinals to a 10-2 record, a Big East title, and a berth in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Florida Gators. The Cardinals went 7-6 in Strong's other two seasons at Louisville. Prior to coaching at Louisville, Strong served as the defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators from 2003-2009. Strong also served as defensive coordinator at South Carolina from 1999-2001.

Tennessee finished their season 5-7, with a 1-7 record in the SEC in Derek Dooley's third season as head coach. Dooley was fired on Nov. 18 after a loss to Vanderbilt and was replaced on an interim basis by Jim Chaney, who coached the Vols to their only SEC win of the season. Dooley never finished with a winning season while at Tennessee. The Volunteers appeared in the Music City Bowl in Dooley's initial season in 2010.

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