It’s happening, Tennessee fans.
Jon Gruden, who was originally considered one of the biggest long shots listed, has shot up the Bet Online odds rankings for the Vols’ next head coach.
Gruden was originally considered at 20/1 on the website’s opening line, but moved up to 12/1 and 10/1 last week and is now listed as an 8/1 likelihood.
Whether Las Vegas is buying into the Grumors coming out of Knoxville or perhaps knows something the rest of us don’t, the former NFL head coach is now tied with Minnesota’s PJ Fleck as the fifth likeliest option to coach Tennessee next season.
Gruden’s past ties to the Tennessee football program have led Vol fans to believe that the former Super Bowl winning coach could possibly take over on Rocky Top.
Gruden began his career as a graduate assistant with the Vols under Johnny Majors in 1986-87. His wife, Cindy, was a Volunteer cheerleader and, as several Twitter users pointed out, his son apparently attends UT.
The Monday Night Football broadcaster has also referred to the head coaching position at Tennessee as a “dream job” on numerous occasions and expressed interest in coaching again, although he’s also downplayed the notion of coaching at the college level.
It’s also worth noting that Tennessee coach Butch Jones has yet to be fired, although at this point it seems inevitable.
GRUDEN!!!! IT’S HAPPENING, ‘YALL!!! DONE DEAL!!! THE VOLS ARE BACK!!!
Well, not exactly, but it’s a start. Keep in mind Gruden was originally listed as having the same odds as former Tennessee coach/Knoxville pariah Lane Kiffin and Peyton Manning who, despite being arguably the greatest and most beloved player in UT history, has no coaching experience and has given little reason to assume he has interest in gaining any.
Gruden has been Tennessee fans’ dream candidate for a long time, dating back to at least the last coaching search in 2012 that ultimately ended with the program hiring Jones. Whether the school actually offered the Monday Night Football broadcaster a job is still both debated and denied, but this time around it needs to happen for sure.
I don’t care if there is a minimal chance of Gruden walking away from the MNF booth to coach college football, you still have to try. He is the top option available and Tennessee must at least be told no before moving on.
Once Gruden says no, then you go after a rising young coach or anyone else. But you have to at least see if your No. 1 option has interest. Based on these changing odds, it seems increasingly likely that the Vols will at least extend an offer to the coach many considered to be a pipedream option initially.