It appears the “Grumors” surrounding the Tennessee head coaching position have reached an apex.
According to Grant Ramey of 247Sports, Tennessee athletic director John Currie flew to Tampa on Wednesday night, where it is believe that a pitch was made to Gruden on the now open head coaching job. Ramey’s report also includes another important piece of information: that Tennessee gave Gruden a deadline on a potential decision, and that Tennessee could shift attention to Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen when that deadline passes.
Gruden has been a popular option to take over at Tennessee, a position that has gained traction since the start of the season as the football team rapidly declined under Butch Jones. Tennessee finally fired Jones on Sunday, ending his almost five-season long tenure in Knoxville.
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 Majors in 1986-87. His wife, Cindy, was a Volunteer cheerleader and, as several Twitter users pointed out, his son apparently attends Tennessee.
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.
Gruden is currently one of the highest-paid television personalities at ESPN, making an estimated $6.5 million annually from the network. While Gruden seems to be getting the better end of that deal, it will be interesting to see if Gruden jumps back into coaching as ESPN continues to make cuts in order to save money.