Jon Gruden, pipe dream or home run hire?

Jon Gruden, second from left, is a current Monday Night Football analyst on ESPN and has not been in coaching since his firing as Tampa Bay’s head coach in January 2009. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Vol fans have heard the name and the reasons for years.

Jon Gruden owns property in Jefferson County.

Jon Gruden coached here in the 80’s.

Jon Gruden’s in-laws live here.

Jon Gruden met his wife here, while she was a cheerleader for the Vols.

Jon Gruden is itching to get back into coaching.

Gruden, Gruden, Gruden.

So the question is – Do the Vols have the chance to make what many label as a home run hire or are the Vols focusing on what some consider to be a pipe dream?

The answer to both is yes.

The former Super Bowl winning coach, who also posts a 95-81 overall NFL head coaching record, would be interested in the Vols if the conditions are right.

Gruden recently signed a five year extension with ESPN’s Monday Night Football, maintains a national presence in endorsement deals for company’s like Hooters, and works in an environment that is only demanding for a few months of the year. Rumored to make close to $6 million dollars annually through all of those deals, Gruden would require a large sum of funding not just for him, but for the coaching staff he wishes to acquire.

With names such as Rich Bisaccia, Raheem Morris, Jay Gruden, Ron Zook, and Tee Martin being tossed around as potential assistants Gruden has contacted in regards to joining a future staff, money will be needed to fund this high profile staff.

UT recently freed up$18 million dollars to add onto any donations that the athletic department receives, but will it be enough?

Gruden will also demand power. Having been in the NFL for years, Gruden has no experience with the 20-hour practice rule, NCAA violations and staff limitations imposed on Division-1 football programs. Will he be willing to fit into the ever tightening rules that the NCAA enforces?

The Vol faithful have heard the name and are making their opinion heard on message boards, talk radio and viral youtube videos. The Tennessee Vols want Jon Gruden and they don’t want to hear no for an answer. But what does athletic director Dave Hart want?

That is the multi-million dollar question.

Will Hart risk this career defining hire on a guy with national attention, but so much risk when it comes to the details of the college game?

That remains to be seen.


About Steven Harris

Steven Harris is a fifth year senior at the University of Tennessee. Majoring in sports journalism, this blog provides an outlet for Harris to share his thoughts on the state of the University of Tennessee's athletic department''s Volunteer teams. View all posts by Steven Harris

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