Jon Gruden was in the booth Monday night for a Steelers-Bengals Monday Night Football game. A former Tennessee player, Cam Sutton, made a play for Pittsburgh.
Gruden and booth partner Sean McDonough got on to briefly — and I mean briefly — talking about the coaching search at Tennessee. That search has been a disaster of epic proportions, with a near hiring of Greg Schiano shouted down in a wave of unheard-of fan backlash and the AD who tried to make it getting fired shortly thereafter.
“His alma mater needs a coach,” McDonough said.
“Sure do,” Gruden said.
“Hopefully will be a matter of time,” he added. “It’s been a long while since they solved that.”
And that was really that. Gruden didn’t talk about it more when McDonough said Gruden could’ve ended the search by simply agreeing to coach the team.
Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12. Several teams have fired coaches and found replacements in the time since Tennessee let Jones go.
If Tennessee fans had their pick, of course, they’d hire Gruden.
During this search, various Gruden-Tennessee things:
- Thousands of Vols fans watching a live stream of an airport parking lot in the hopes that Gruden would emerge from a terminal and announce he’d coach Tennessee.
- A Knoxville ribs restaurant confirming false reports that Gruden was in town eating there with Peyton Manning, then walking it back on Twitter.
- A fan following now-fired AD John Currie around Neyland Stadium, yelling into his phone, “BRING GRUDEN HOME.” (The University of Tennessee is not really Gruden’s home, and he is not going there.)
These are Gruden’s first public comments about the Tennessee search. He will not be taking that job, but he’ll probably be happy when the search finally ends.