And the beat goes on…
The final coaching search in the SEC rolls on and the rumor/panic meter is pegging in the red. Which is also where the winner of the Charlie Strong sweepstakes might wind up running financially.
The silence that’s been coming from Louisville this afternoon has left both Tennessee and Louisville fans to wonder where Strong will be coaching next season. Whatever choice he makes, the man who won the Big East Conference in the third-year of his Louisville rebuilding project will have a much, much heftier salary coming his way. The two schools are reportedly duking it out with dollar signs for Strong. The coach made $2.3 million last season. Expect that number to be well over $3 million next year.
A Cardinals team meeting was initially scheduled for 3:45pm ET today to discuss the team’s Sugar Bowl travel/practice plans. Now that meeting has reportedly been pushed back 45 minutes.
Twitter is bursting with news of planes leaving Knoxville for Louisville, but that’s about as trustworthy as… well… as anyone else during these coaching searches. (And, yes, we include ourselves in that knock.)
If Tennessee does land Strong, expect many people to state that the Vols overpaid for a coach with just three years experience (though many people ribbed UT for underpaying for a coach with just three years experience the last time around).
If UT athletic director Dave Hart doesn’t land Strong, then people across the Volunteer State will really be breaking out the disaster plans.
As we wrote this morning, Tennessee is no longer competing with Arkansas and Auburn for a coach. Those schools picked men who were not even believed to be on the Volunteers’ list. And Kentucky had already tabbed a coordinator for its job a week ago.
That means for any head coach wanting to land a job in the top football conference in America and make a truckload of cash in the process, the UT job is the only one available. So why the panic?
Hart initially said he’d make a hire by mid-December. According to my calendar it’s just now December 5th. In terms of Arkansas’ search, we understood fan frustrations because the Razorback job had been open since April. That’s a lot of waiting, wishing, mulling, worrying, and hoping.
But Tennessee fans should be asking their AD to slow down and take another lap around the country. The pressure’s off and the Vols need a good hire. Why run a two-minute drill when it’s not necessary? To save a recruiting class? The last time the Vols did that they saved said class by hiring Derek Dooley.
Then again, maybe this all part of the smokescreen for you know who. (Language NSFW, but a funny video just the same.)