Tennessee has reportedly now been turned down by Larry Fedora and Mike Gundy, in addition to Charlie Strong and Jon Gruden. Four big swings, and four whiffs. It's gotten so bad, Volunteers players are literally volunteering.
You know, Gene Chizik is available. But Joker Phillips is not.
Wednesday night, Rocky Top Talk held the latest of its many discussions on who should be up next. The current ranking, in order: Phillip Fulmer, Bobby Petrino, Kirby Smart, Jim Mora, Butch Davis and Butch Jones.
Team Speed Kills chastises Tennessee for its original candidate foursome, but helpfully adds San Jose State's Mike MacIntyre, LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
There's also reason to believe Western Kentucky's Willie Taggart was close to the South Florida job, and Cincinnati's Jones remains in some sort of awkward limbo between Cincy and Colorado. Might the Vols have intervened in either of those hires to try and steal away a coach?
But let's pile the names as high as possible. Here are some more candidates we might have overlooked -- we're focusing on coaches with ties to the university:
Bill Battle, former Tennessee coach: Still around.
Ed Orgeron, USC assistant head coach: Extensive SEC experience.
Todd Berry, ULM head coach: Has far more college coaching experience and a little more actual ties to Tennessee coaching than Jon Gruden. (By that last part I mean he coached tight ends in Knoxville for one year in the '80s.)
Jay Gruden, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator: He knows Jon Gruden, and Jon Gruden's many ties to the University of Tennessee are well-documented.
Kevin Steele, former Clemson defensive coordinator: Held three different positions on Tennessee coaching staff. None since 1988.
Rod Marinelli, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator: Member of Jon Gruden coaching tree.
Mike Martz, FOX Sports analyst: Member of Rod Marinelli coaching tree.
Peter Giunta, New York Giants defensive backs coach: Member of Mike Martz coaching tree.
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears head coach: Tennessee defensive backs coach in 1994.
Monte Kiffin, former USC defensive coordinator: Led the Vols to Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2009.
Ron Zook, CBS commentator: Coached defensive backs at Tennessee from 1984 to 1986.
Larry Marmie, Las Vegas Locomotives defensive backs coach: 1983-1984 and 1992-1994 Tennessee defensive coordinator.
Tony Dungy, NBC commentator: Was once associated with Jon Gruden.
Tommy West, former Southern Miss defensive coordinator: 1990 Tennessee running backs coach.
M.B. Banks or Zora G. Clevenger, former Tennessee football/baseball/basketball coaches: Both died in 1970.
Al Saunders, Oakland Raiders offensive assistant: Tennessee's 1982 offensive coordinator.
Bunny Oakes, former Tennessee line coach: Also died in 1970.
Trooper Taylor, former Auburn assistant head coach: Former Tennessee assistant head coach. Excellent at coaching.
Deke Brackett, two-time Tennessee assistant: Also died in 1970.
Dom Capers, Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator: 1981 Tennessee defensive coordinator.
Mike Tirico, knower of Jon Gruden: He knows Jon Gruden.
Cindy Gruden, former Tennessee cheerleader: Extensive ties to the university and athletic department.
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