KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee never offered its head football coaching position to current UCLA coach Chip Kelly, according to documents obtained by SEC Country through an open records request.
Former athletic director John Currie sent a text message to UT chancellor Beverly Davenport on Nov. 22 to alert her of a false media report involving the former Oregon, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers coach.
The USA Today reported on Nov. 22 that Tennessee along with Florida and UCLA “have made overtures or offers to Chip Kelly, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.”
The USA Today reported that “the offers were in the range of $6 million per year.”
Currie, in his Nov. 22 text message to Davenport, said the report that Tennessee had made an offer to Kelly “is a complete fabrication planted by his agent [Trace Armstrong] to incite competition w (sic) other schools & drive up his price and perceived desirability.”
Currie cautioned Davenport that “as we head into the weekend the rumors & crazy speculation etc. will pick up as people throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks.”
UCLA hired Kelly on Nov. 25, signing him to a reported five-year, $23.3 million deal according to the LA Times — roughly $4.66 million per year.
Armstrong, it’s worth noting, was the agent for former Tennessee coach Butch Jones prior to Jones’ switch to Jimmy Sexton last July.
The Vols ultimately dealt with Sexton again, as the UT graduate and Memphis-based super agent represents current Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Currie, meanwhile, ran into trouble at Tennessee when he attempted to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano on Nov. 25, inciting a social media firestorm and protests on campus.
Currie made an unapproved trip to Los Angeles on Nov. 30 to interview Washington State coach Mike Leach when he feared negotiations with North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren were breaking down.
Curries trop led to a suspension and ultimately his dismissal, which was settled on Thursday.