Someone will take the Tennessee Volunteers coaching job, but should they?
Talk to a Tennessee Volunteer fan and they'll tell you how the school's football team should be considered one of College Football's all-time greats.
Talk to almost anyone else and they'll start laughing.
Yeah, sure the Vols won a National Championship in 1998. They've turned out Peyton Manning and a slew of really good NFL football players. But if you ask anyone now, the chances are the answer to how good they "were" is going to be....so what?
Yes, the Vowels (how they say it in East TN) have yet another coaching opening after a bizarre, whack-a-doodle firing of yet another coach. In case you don't follow the game--UT fired Jeremy Pruitt after three seasons, and just one season removed from a contract extension because of allegations of recruiting issues and a blatantly mediocre record.
Pruitt is the latest in a line that includes Butch Jones, Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley who all followed long-time (16-year) head coach Philip Fulmer after he was fired in 2008.
And Pruitt was hired in arguably the most bizarre way possible because he wasn't the first choice.
It was just a few years ago--after dumping Jones that then UT athletic director John Currie tried to hire then Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. Schiano had experience, bringing Rutgers to life and mild success in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was well qualified.
But Schiano wasn't an "SEC" guy. Disgusting internet troll and UT fan Clay Travis led a fan and alumni rebellion that forced Currie to retreat and eventually resign. In stepped Fulmer to take over as Athletic Director and his first move was grabbing Pruitt from Alabama.
That adventure topped the Lane Train experience a few years previous, when Kiffin essentially walked away from Knoxville after a one season to go running away to Los Angeles and the job at USC.
So...if you want to know why me and most people outside the state of Tennessee along with their fans consider Tennessee a joke, well, there's your answer.
To put it simply: Horrible management and delusional fans.
Listen, Knoxville is a nice town very near the Appalachian Mountains. It's not huge, it's a very "College" town. The university is the driving economic force in the city and hey, that's ok.
But it is NOT a destination job for major college head coaches. I'm not sure it ever was. Scratch that---it never was.
It's a place where a semi-successful Group of Five coach can go enhance their resume. Or somewhere a successful assistant could potentially go prove their salt. But the question to the floor is this: Is it a dream job for anyone?
Hey, I'm not a coach and I don't frequent coaching circles so I probably can't REALLY answer the question. Maybe it is??
If the right person shows up and wins, you probably couldn't find a more loyal fanbase. The whole region is behind you---if you win.
But, the flip side is if you don't win 9/10 games a year or beat Alabama or Georgia or Florida on a regular basis, you'll get run out of town within three years.
It's a risk. There are coaching jobs where you can get a long leash if you show improvement. Not at Tennessee.
That's why I ask if someone with grand career goals should take it. Though I should add this time its even worse because the hiring season has ended, the early signing period is already over and February's National Signing day is approaching fast.
Tennessee football is several years behind Georgia and Florida, a little behind Kentucky and may be only slightly better than Vanderbilt (who they struggle to beat). That's something which won't change overnight.
No matter how good the next coach might be.