The Tennessee Volunteers are still looking for a head coach to replace the fired Butch Jones after going through the hiring - then un-hiring - fiasco with Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and being turned down by a number of other candidates. That has led to them firing athletics director John Currie, who has been replaced former head coach Phillip Fulmer. Here are all the latest news & rumors on Tennessee's coaching search:
Phillip Fulmer undermining Tennessee coaching search?
The decision to fire Currie on Friday wasn't a surprise, but it appears to have been Fulmer's plan all along. According to Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, Fulmer was undermining the coaching search in hopes to get Currie fired and take his job.
Fulmer was fired (probably unwisely) in 2008, and he’s never really moved on. He’s still in Knoxville and still wants to throw his weight around, to the point that many people believe he actively undercut Currie during this search.
Sources familiar with aspects of the Tennessee search say Fulmer was communicating with prospective coaching candidates, and probably not in conjunction with Currie. Fulmer might have had his own coaching wish list and proceeded accordingly, with or without authorization. At least one coaching candidate contacted by Tennessee received very mixed signals about the school’s interest, in part because of Fulmer’s involvement.
Fulmer went 152-52 in 17 years as Tennessee's head coach. He has tried to get other coaching jobs since his firing but has never been a serious candidate anywhere else.
Tee Martin the favorite for the job?
With Fulmer taking over, he is expected to first look at a number of coaches who played under him at Tennessee, starting with former Vols quarterback and current USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin. Sports Illustrated's Bruce Feldman reported earlier this week that Martin has a "legit shot" at the job.
Another option for Tennessee is USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin, who we’ve been told is in play for this job and has a legit shot at it. Martin has coached in the SEC as an assistant at Kentucky. He’s a former Tennessee star who quarterbacked the Vols to a national title two decades ago and is regarded as a very good recruiter.
Along with his role at USC, Martin is also the quarterbacks coach for Nike's Elite 11 QB camps, which has given him up close and personal looks at many high profile QB recruits. He is in line for a head coaching job at some point, so coming home to Tennessee may be a perfect fit.
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No chance of resurrecting Mike Leach negotiations
Prior to being fired, Currie had flown to Los Angeles on Thursday to meet with Washington State head coach Mike Leach about the position, which he reportedly had "definite interest" in.
However, Currie was called back to Knoxville to be fired for how poorly he handled the coaching search, leaving Leach's candidacy in limbo. Now, it's clear Currie had gone rogue in his pursuit of Leach and that school officials would not approve the hire - meaning Leach isn't a candidate for the job.
Leach has posted a 38-37 record in six seasons at Washington State but is 26-12 the past three seasons. He also went 84-43 in 10 seasons at Texas Tech.
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