The direction of Tennessee football is once again in limbo with the firing of coach Butch Jones in the wake of the team’s 50-17 loss at Missouri on Saturday night.
Brady Hoke will assume interim coaching duties.
There has been speculation of who might be the next Tennessee coach for weeks, with Monday Night Football analyst and former Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden atop many fans’ wish list.
- Also see: Vols recruits react to news of Butch Jones’ firing
- Butch Jones: ‘It’s about these players; it ain’t about the coach’
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and Duke coach David Cutcliffe are two current coaches who have been approached about the Tennessee coaching position before, and both are in position to be approached again.
Here’s a list of 10 potential candidates the Vols (4-6, 0-6 in SEC) could be looking at to replace Jones:
1. David Cutcliffe
David Cutcliffe, 63, is currently in his 10th year as Duke’s head coach. Cutcliffe was an assistant coach at Tennessee from 1982-1998, the last six as offensive coordinator. Cutcliffe was selected National Coach of the Year in 2013, and he’s a two-time ACC Coach of the Year. Tennessee pursued Cutcliffe for its coaching vacancy in 2009. Cutcliffe had a short stint as Notre Dame’s QB coach and assistant head coach to Charlie Weis in 2005.
2. Mike Gundy
Mike Gundy, 50, is 112-52 in 12 seasons as coach of his alma mater, but tensions have been high between him and his administration. Tennessee AD John Currie saw plenty of Gundy across the sidelines from Kansas State during his tenure there — the Cowboys went 5-2 versus the Wildcats in that span.
3. Jeff Brohm
Jeff Brohm, 46, is in his first season as Purdue’s coach and has the Boilermakers off to a 4-6 start. Brohm, once recruited to play football at Tennessee before choosing Louisville, compiled a 30-10 record at Western Kentucky between 2014-2016. Brohm served as Bobby Petrino’s offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky in 2013, and he was quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator at Louisville from 2003 through the 2008 season.
4. Jon Gruden
Jon Gruden, 54, coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002-2008, winning the Super Bowl in his first season there. Gruden was a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee in 1986-87 en route to an NFL career that spanned from 1990 through 2008.
5. Dan Mullen
Dan Mullen, 45, is in his ninth season as Mississippi State’s coach. The Bulldogs are 68-45 under Mullen’s direction, including a five-week stint ranked at No. 1 in 2014. It was Mullen’s only season with a winning SEC league record for the Bulldogs. Prior to Mississippi State, Mullen was the offensive coordinator for Florida coach Urban Meyer from 2005-2008.
6. Scott Frost
Scott Frost, 42, is in his second year as Central Florida’s coach. A former Nebraska standout, Frost was Oregon’s offensive coordinator from 2013-2015. Frost has No. 18-ranked UCF off to a 9-0 start this season.
7. Mike Norvell
Mike Norvell, 36, is in his second season as Memphis coach. Norvell has the Tigers off to an 8-1 start this season. Prior to taking the Memphis job, Norvell spent 2011-2015 as offensive coordinator under coach Todd Graham — in 2011 at Pitt, and 2012-2015 at Arizona State.
8. Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell, 37, is in his second season as Iowa State’s coach. The Cyclones are 6-4, including a 14-7 win over previously No. 4-ranked TCU, and a shocking 38-31 win at Oklahoma. Campbell, a defensive lineman during his playing career at Division lll powerhouse Mount Union (Ohio), was 35-15 as Toledo’s coach from 2011-2015.
9. Jeff Fisher
Jeff Fisher, 59, was fired as coach of the Los Angeles Rams following a 31-45-1 stint with the franchise. Prior to that, Fisher was the Tennessee Titans coach from 1994-2010, going 142-120, including an appearance in Super Bowl 34 following the 1999 season. Fisher, an avid outdoorsman, has said he wants to return to coaching and lives in Nashville.
10. Brady Hoke
Brady Hoke will serve as the interim coach to finish the 2017 season. Hoke was named associate head coach and defensive line coach in February after a season as defensive coordinator at Oregon. He spent four seasons as coach at Michigan and went 31-20, but was fired after going 5-7 and 3-5 (for the second consecutive season in the Big Ten) in 2014.