According to a report from the Chattanooga Times Free Press' Stephen Hargis, the University of Tennessee is targeting former NFL coach and current ESPN color commentator Jon Gruden for its vacant head coaching position. It could be a lucrative one, if what ESPN's Travis Haney tweeted gives any indication to how the Vols are approaching their search for a new coach:
I was told earlier this week that Tennessee is willing to pay up to $5 mill for its new coach. That's money to lure someone, for sure.— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) November 30, 2012
The hang up between Gruden and the school at this time seems to be the salaries of his potential assistants, according to the Times Free Press report. Gruden reportedly has already spoken to the coaches he would like to join him in Tennessee and if the Vols are willing to meet his demands, a hire could be imminent.
That last part is worrisome, as there are rumors tonight that athletic director Dave Hart is already meeting with another candidate, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. The veracity of that rumor has not been confirmed or denied by any news outlet. But this Gruden news seems very real -- even though other news outlets could not be further from having this news, and some are even reporting talks between UT and Gruden have died -- and it seems the Vols have the opportunity to land one of those coaches who can help turn around a program on name and reputation alone.
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