Tennessee AD John Currie wanted to hire Greg Schiano on Sunday. As we know, that didn’t happen.
It’s now Tuesday, and the Vols’ new game plan has leaked.
With Duke's David Cutcliffe and Iowa State's Matt Campbell out of the picture, Tennessee has turned its coaching search focus to Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. Three sources told me UT has interviewed Gundy, perhaps in Dallas. UT offered Gundy in 2012 but he said declined.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 28, 2017
To be clear, this is Tennessee — the most unstable Power 5 athletics department in the country right now, by about 19 miles — trying to lure one of the most stable coaches in all of college football.
Here’s what Gundy told the Tulsa World on Saturday:
“I’m rooted here. Knock on wood, if you’re doing good, you get calls. I get calls every year. But my stability here is more than it ever has been.”
Last year Gundy signed a 5-year contract that pays him an average of $4.45 million annually and rolls over in perpetuity. In an industry that fires coaches two years after winning the national title, Gundy has achieved tenure at Oklahoma State. T. Boone Pickens wrote him a letter of support after he lost Bedlam. Relations between he and Oklahoma State AD Mike Holder are good. He’s got one son in school down the road at Arkansas, another that’s a sophomore in high school, and one more behind him. He goes rattlesnake hunting on off days. Life is good.
Stranger things have happened — Jimbo Fisher is strongly considering leaving Florida State for Texas A&M — but this would be beyond strange. It would defy logic. Maybe Gundy really wants to win a national championship and realized he can’t do it at Oklahoma State. But Tennessee pitched him in 2012, when Gundy was a season removed from his best shot at a national title in Stillwater, and he turned them down.
In the meantime, Dan Mullen has hit the ground running at Florida. Georgia will hit the recruiting trail next week, perhaps with an SEC championship and College Football Playoff berth to show off. Alabama is still Alabama. Clemson is still Clemson.
The new Dec. 20 signing date looms a few weeks down the road. It was 24 days away on Sunday. It’s 22 days away right now. By Thursday it’ll be less than three weeks away. Jeff Brohm and Mike Leach would rally the fan base, score points and win games at Tennessee — and they’d be in Knoxville by sunset.
And Tennessee is going after Mike Gundy.