GRUMOR SEASON is officially back on!
According to CBS Sports‘ Jason La Canfora, the Vols once again reached out to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach and current Monday Night Football broadcaster Jon Gruden to “explore his interest in the job.”
In addition to Gruden, Tennessee is also reportedly planning on bringing former Vols quarterback and current USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin back into the fold to serve as the coach’s chief recruiter, according to sources.
La Canfora reported that a deal is expected to be worth up to $10 million annually, with an additional $8 million per season put aside to fund the salaries of assistant coaches.
Gruden, who has never served as a head coach at the college level, went 95-81 during 13 NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders (1998-2001) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-08), which included leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory during his first season.
The former Super Bowl champion’s past ties to the Tennessee football program have led many Vol fans to believe he would eventually return to Rocky Top, as he’s been linked to the position several times over the past decade.
Gruden began his career as a graduate assistant with the Vols under Majors in 1986-87. His wife, Cindy, was a Volunteer cheerleader and his son, Michael attends UT.
The coach has previously referred to the head coaching position at Tennessee as a “dream job” on numerous occasions and expressed interest in coaching again on numerous occasions, despite downplaying the notion of coaching at the college level.
WZTV in Nashville shared a video from 2014 of Gruden discussing the Tennessee coaching job and the subsequent “Grumors” that follow every time the Vols have a vacancy.
“That’s probably my wife’s mom and my wife’s brother starting those rumors,” Gruden said. “I love Tennessee. My middle son is going to go to Tennessee and be a Volunteer, I believe that and I’m always going to be a Volunteer and always going to be a big fan.”
Gruden’s success at the NFL level and notoriety as Monday Night Football’s color commentator lead many to believe that he would be a home run hire for the Vols, despite a lack of coaching experience at the college level.