It’s no secret that the past ten years have been rough ones for Tennessee athletics. From multiple coach firings and hirings, to Title IX lawsuits, to the Lady Vols name change debacle, to a serious drought of success across the board in all sports, you can understand if Vols fans have simply had enough.
On Sunday, November 26th, it all came to a boil when news leaked that Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was close to being named head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.
Almost immediately, Tennessee fans went apocalyptic on social media.
This was the best that athletic director John Currie could do?
After months of speculation and officially two weeks with the job being open, Greg Schiano was the guy?
With Jon Gruden not happening, and Dan Mullen choosing Florida, and Matt Campbell’s buyout at Iowa State reportedly too high, Tennessee panicked.
This reminded me of the Derek Dooley hiring. After Lane Kiffin bolted for Southern Cal in January 2010, athletic director Mike Hamilton had Dooley in place within three days. This happened after multiple coaches turned him down. No one of note was taking the job and with National Signing Day less than three weeks away, Hamilton panicked and gave the job to the first guy on the list who said “yes.”
At that point Tennessee should have hired interim coach Kippy Brown for the 2010 season. If he succeeded? Great. If he didn’t? At least you had a year to get your bearings and didn’t hire someone who was not ready for the Tennessee head coaching job, like Dooley.
Fast forward to 2017.
Why did Tennessee feel that they had to settle for a guy like Schiano? And if it did so because time is of the essence, why pick a guy that has a Big 10 title game to coach in next weekend? And if Ohio State won that game and got into the playoff, you’d probably have a part time head coach for another 4-5 weeks.
Let’s look at it from a purely football point of view. Schiano had success as the Rutgers head coach, building that program to a height of 11 wins and a second-place finish in the old Big East in 2006. He went 68-67 in 11 seasons in New Jersey.
His two seasons as the head coach (2012-2013) with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a disaster. He went 11-21 and lost the locker room. He had his players diving at quarterbacks who were trying to take a knee in the victory formation. None other than Peyton Manning reportedly swore at Schiano when his Buccaneers did that to him. Buccaneers players compared life under Schiano like “being in Cuba” due to his authoritarian ways.
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