Here's an updated hot board of potential Tennessee Vols coaching candidates

Here's an updated hot board of potential Tennessee Vols coaching candidates

November 23rd, 2017 by David Cobb in Sports - College

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen gives the scoreboard a glance in the closing seconds of the team's 31-28 loss to Mississippi in an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

CORRECTION: This story was updated Nov. 23 at 8:40 p.m. to remove the photo of Ole Miss coach Matt Luke, who is not mentioned in the article and not a candidate for the Tennessee job, and replace it with a photo of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen.

KNOXVILLE — With college football's regular season concluding this weekend, Tennessee athletic director John Currie will have his best chance yet to interview candidates for Tennessee's vacant head football coach position over the next week.

Currie fired Butch Jones after nearly five seasons on Nov. 12, and the days since have been filled with speculation, rumors and vaguely sourced reports over the possible interest of candidates. Here is an updated hot board of potential candidates:

Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, center, watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, center, watches...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Jon Gruden (former Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach): The Times Free Press reported last week that Gruden had reached out to current college assistants who have a history of either playing or coaching at Tennessee to gauge their interest in potentially joining a staff. The Grumors appear to have cooled over the last several days, however, and this wouldn't be the first time that that he has toyed with the emotions of Volunteers fans.

Dan Mullen (Mississippi State head coach): Mullen has been mentioned in media reports as someone Tennessee likely will pursue. He was asked about the Vols job last week and said, "I love the one I have." Mullen is poised to bring back a strong roster in 2018, and he could use interest from Tennessee to leverage a raise in Starkville.

Matt Campbell (Iowa State head coach): His $9.6 million buyout is a hefty price to pay for potential suitors, but Campbell has done a great job turning around a power conference program and surely will be pursued by schools with openings over the next several weeks.

Mike Norvell (Memphis head coach): Norvell continues to be a solid B-list candidate, and 247Sports.com reported this week that Norvell is believed to be in the mix at Tennessee.

Scott Frost (Central Florida head coach): Frost continues to be a hot name, but he continues to seem like a more logical fit at Florida or Nebraska. Frost and Norvell will coach against each other in the American Athletic Conference championship game on Dec. 2. That pushes the timeline for a potential interview with Tennessee back until Dec. 4 or 5.

In this Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, file photo, Central Florida head coach Scott Frost signals to his team during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Temple in Philadelphia. When the No. 13-ranked UCF Knights and No. 22 South Florida Bulls tangle in their annual rivalry game, it's always an emotion-filled grudge match. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz, File)

In this Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, file...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

This Oct. 29, 2016, file photo shows Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher shouting instructions during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Clemson in Tallahassee, Fla. With the regular season winding down, the Atlantic Coast Conference's bowl picture is still unclear. The ACC enters the 12th week of the season with 13 of its 14 teams still in the hunt for bowl berths. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser, File)

This Oct. 29, 2016, file photo shows Florida...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Greg Schiano (Ohio State defensive coordinator): The former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach has emerged as one to watch in Tennessee's coaching search.

Jimbo Fisher (Florida State head coach): A report from footballscoop.com this week indicated that Fisher "would listen" if contacted by Tennessee.

David Cutcliffe (Duke head coach): Cutcliffe did not appear on the hot board originally posted to timesfreepress.com the day Jones was fired. But the former longtime Tennessee assistant was reported to be "a viable candidate" by footballscoop.com.

Willie Taggart (Oregon head coach): Taggart parlayed an 11-2 season at South Florida in 2016 into landing the Oregon job. Things have been rough for the Ducks this year, however. With Oregon at 5-5, perhaps Taggart would be interested in returning to the Southeast.

Dave Clawson (Wake Forest head coach): If Clawson hadn't spent an unsuccessful season as the offensive coordinator at Tennessee in 2008, he likely would be further up this list. Since leaving Knoxville, he's been successful as a head coach at Bowling Green and Wake Forest.

Mike Leach (Washington State head coach): It's hard to imagine Leach's quirky personality meshing with the big-money brass at Tennessee, but Leach knows how to win football games.

Other names to watch: Dave Doeren (North Carolina State head coach), Chad Morris (Southern Methodist head coach), Bobby Petrino (Louisville head coach), Kacy Rodgers (New York Jets defensive coordinator).

Contact David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com.


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