Ten Names to Watch for Tennessee
By BJ Bennett
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With Derek Dooley out, here are ten names to watch as the coaching search in Knoxville will soon heat up.
With the Volunteers now 4-7, a staggering 1-14 in conference since 2011, Tennessee has fired head football coach Derek Dooley. At this point, the potential coaching pool for his replacement is a wide one. Here are ten names to watch as UT goes in a new direction with their head football coach.
Tommy Bowden - The head man at Clemson from 1999-2008, Bowden has never had a losing season as a head football coach. He led the Tulane Green Wave to an undefeated year in 1998. Bowden has eleven years of SEC experience as an assistant at Alabama, Auburn and Kentucky.
Kippy Brown - The wide receivers coach in Knoxville from 1983-1989 and 2009-2010, Brown is now in the same role with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. He has considerable professional experience, serving as the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins from 1996-1999 and the assistant head coach for the Detroit Lions in 2008.
John Chavis - A former Tennessee lineman who now coaches the LSU Tiger defense, Chavis spent seven seasons as an assistant in Knoxville before taking over as the defensive coordinator there from 1995-2008. He was named the AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year in 1996.
David Cutcliffe - An assistant at Tennessee from 1982-1998, Cutcliffe then served as the head coach at Ole Miss from 1998-2004. He briefly returned to Knoxville as offensive coordinator before taking over as the head coach at Duke. Cutcliffe now has the Blue Devils bowl eligible for the first time since 1994.
James Franklin - Has taken Vanderbilt to new heights in just two season as the Commodores will play in their second straight bowl game this winter. His team's 41-18 win over UT will stand as the last game of the Derek Dooley era.
Phillip Fulmer - A Tennessee football alum, Fulmer was a Volunteer assistant from 1980-1991 and the head coach from 1992-2008. Under his reign, the 'Vols won the 1998 national championship. Fulmer was dismissed after the 2008 season and replaced by Lane Kiffin. Fulmer is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
Jon Gruden - An analyst on ESPN's Monday Night Football, Gruden began his coaching career at Tennessee in 1986. He would later go on to be the head coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders and Tampy Bay Buccaneers, winning Super Bowl XXXVII with the Bucs. Gruden's wife was a cheerleader at UT.
Bobby Petrino - The former head coach of Arkansas, Louisville and the Atlanta Falcons has considerable baggage. He has to be viewed as a wild card to watch at this point though.
Kirby Smart - Alabama's heralded defensive coordinator has considerable SEC ties having coached at Georgia and LSU in addition to his current role in Tuscaloosa. A former UGA defensive back, Smart won the 2009 Frank Broyles Award given to the nation's top assistant.
Charlie Strong - Currently the head coach at Louisville, Strong spent 14 seasons off and on as an assistant at Florida. He briefly led the Gators in an interim role. Strong also has SEC experience stemming from tenures at Ole Miss, South Carolina and Texas A&M and was also an assistant at Notre Dame.