The annual NCAA coaching carousel came to the Volunteer State this past week in a big way, taking fans along for quite a ride as the University of Tennessee frantically looked for a new football czar to rescue them from mediocrity. Athletic Director Dave Hart left no stone unturned and no airstrip untouched as he publicly assumed absolute power over a situation that probably could have benefited from some outside input.
As the search deteriorated from Gruden disillusionment to a high-stakes leverage game to sheer desperation, I couldn’t help but wonder when the madness would end. It felt like watching an awkward middle school student muster up the courage to ask the prettiest girl in the gym to dance; but instead of reconsidering his strategy after the inevitable rejection, he just walks up to the next girl, and then the next, and then one more. For God’s sake someone dance with this kid!
Now the Vols, twice divorced from coaches that were supposed to usher the program out of the Fulmer era, endured yet another round of painful rejections before finally agreeing to terms with former Cincinnati coach Butch Jones. But did they make the right decision? Here are five candidates that Hart and the Vols should have considered for the vacancy:
1. Kenny Chesney
The Knoxville native would have breathed new life into the stagnant program. Think about it; the Southern mammas would melt during recruiting visits, he already has his own airplane for recruiting, and he could perform at halftime for every home game. Most importantly, we could take prop bets on who would need the bigger stool at press conferences between him and Nick Saban.
2. Billy Bob the Garbage Man
After the Dooley fiasco, Knoxville needs a blue collar everyman to rally behind. Appalachian mountain people (who really do need their own nickname) would be overjoyed, because the hire would finally affirm their belief that, “Hell, I could coach this team better than that!” Billy Bob is also adept at sifting through trash to find treasure, and he can handle the smell of a program in the dump. And of course after he is fired three years from now, Billy Bob could help drive the garbage truck full of cash to the next round of potential candidates.
3. Peggy from the Golden Corral
Cut from the same cloth as Billy Bob, Peggy is a hard working woman with a heart of gold. We all know how much East Tennessee likes a buffet, so the offensive line would be well-fed; and everyone would get a hug after yet another loss in the Swamp. Plus the off-the-field issues that plague UT yearly would all but disappear, because there’s nothing worse than a woman being disappointed in you. She could also bring free soft serve to all media events. Maybe Peggy isn’t head coaching material, but she definitely deserves a spot on the staff.
4. Charlie Sheen
This hire would have been just crazy enough to work. Like an Appalachian Saturday night, he could infuse the program with tiger blood, warlocks, and seven gram rocks. Forget the Vegas strip; Knoxville’s strip would anchor the east coast’s new Sin City. Confident and charismatic, Sheen could assemble an elite staff to do most of the actual coaching while he hits the media trail to generate buzz for the program. Of course there’s always a chance he would jump ship for Los Angeles if something better came up, and would leave a flurry of NCAA strip club sanctions in his wake…
5. Santa Claus
Known for his aerial attack and stable of thoroughbreds, Coach Claus would be the perfect addition to the program that already believes in anything. Merry Christmas!