In the wake of the disastrous fall out from athletic director John Currie and prominent booster Jimmy Haslam’s ill fated attempt to force Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano on to an unwilling Tennessee fan base, momentum is building for prominent boosters and former players to end this cavalcade of absurdity and install a coach with prominent Tennessee football connections back at the helm of the Volunteer program.
Those searches are leading to David Cutcliffe, the current coach at Duke and long time Tennessee assistant, being pursued to return to Tennessee and potentially bring with him current USC offensive coordinator and former Vol quarterback Tee Martin as coach in waiting as well as Kevin Steele, the current Auburn defensive coordinator who played and coached at Tennessee.
The Cutcliffe pursuit could be interesting to watch as it would indicate Tennessee essentially acknowledging that the 2008 decision to fire Phil Fulmer was incorrect.
But Cutcliffe isn’t the only former Vol interested in the job.
Outkick has learned that current Dallas Cowboy tight end Jason Witten, frustrated by the decline of the program over the past decade and intending to pursue a career in coaching in the near future, has the support of several prominent boosters to take over as the next Tennessee football coach.
How serious is Witten about his desire to make Tennessee football great again? I’m told that he would leave the Dallas Cowboys before the season is over to take the Tennessee coaching job if it were offered to him.
Indeed, John Currie recently met with Witten in Dallas to gauge his interest in becoming Vol coach in the event more established candidates weren’t available for hire by Tennessee.
The plan with Witten, a 35 year old first ballot hall of famer nearing the end of his NFL career, would be to surround him with top coaching talent with substantial connections to Tennessee.
Would it be a crazy gambit? Potentially. But Tennessee fans have clamored for years that they want Peyton Manning to come back and take over the Volunteer program and return it to greatness.
What if instead of a hall of a fame quarterback they got a hall of fame tight end?
It’s definitely worth paying attention to as the wheels continue to spin on the Tennessee coaching search.