Tennessee has reportedly offered former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden “over $10 million a year” to be its next head coach, according to The Read Optional’s Oliver Connolly.
Connolly reported that the Vols have also targeted TCU’s Gary Patterson, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm as potential candidates as well.
The rumored deal would make Gruden at least the second-highest paid coach in college football behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, who currently has an $11,132,000 annual salary.
On Friday, Bet Online odds listed Gruden — who was originally considered one of the biggest long shots listed — as the favorite to be 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, 8/1 earlier this week and is now listed as a 5/2 (+250) 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 has now surpassed Chip Kelly (+400) as the favorite to replace current head coach Butch Jones.
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 Jones has yet to be fired, although at this point it seems inevitable.
[H/T SEC Country]