Tennessee’s coaching search is officially underway following the termination of former head football coach Butch Jones on Sunday.

Several names have been linked to the Vols’ coaching position for weeks, but CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee believes current Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is the best option.

“Mullen would be a home run hire for Currie if he can lure him away from Starkville,” Sallee wrote on Sunday. “Mullen just took Alabama to the wire in a 31-24 loss, has kept the program relevant in the rough-and-tumble SEC West through the Dak Prescott era and now into the Nick Fitzgerald era, and has raised the floor of the program to a point where bowl games are the minimum expectation of a fan base that — prior to his arrival — had enjoyed bowl trips just 13 times. Since his arrival in 2009, they’ve made seven bowl trips with an eighth coming this season.”

Mullen is also considered one of the favorites to be the Gators’ next head coach, having previously worked with the team as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2005-08, which included winning two national championships and coaching Tim Tebow during his Heisman Trophy season.

He currently holds a 68-45 (32-38 SEC) head coaching record and has led the Bulldogs to seven consecutive winning seasons.

In 2010, Mississippi State earned its first No. 1 overall ranking in program history and finished with a 10-3 (6-2 SEC) overall record, earning Mullen several coaching honors including the AP and Athlon SEC Coach of the Year awards and the Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year award.

CBS Sports analyst calls potential Tennessee coaching candidate “home run hire” Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Jason has contributed to numerous websites in the past covering a wide range of sports including SEC football for the past four seasons. He began his journalism career as a student journalist at the University of Tennessee where he covered the Vols for the student radio station and newspaper. Here’s ...Read more
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