Ferr or Foul: Any “Volunteers?”
By Matt Ferris
On Sunday afternoon, the Tennessee Volunteers had agreed to terms with a new head football coach.
Tennessee Athletic Director John Currie and Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Greg Schiano each signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to make Schiano the next coach of the Volunteers.
A few hours later, Volunteers’ fans started reacting to the new hire. The University received a lot of backlash from fans of the school, but it didn’t stop there. Backlash from alumni, school officials and government officials began pouring in, in the hours following the agreement.
The backlash came because of Schiano’s apparent role in the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State scandal. It was rumored that Schiano knew of some abuse that Sandusky was committing, but failed to report it.
Schiano denied all allegations, was never charged or penalized for any of it, and the only evidence against him was double hearsay.
The uproar was enough to sway Tennessee and it backed out of the signed agreement and dumped Schiano – an unheard of scenario.
Tennessee is entering very dangerous waters with Sunday’s behavior.
With Schiano’s treatment, Tennessee is looking like an extremely undesirable location for coaches now.
After the fallout, Tennessee set its sights on Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy to fill the vacancy. He declined the Volunteers’ offer, and who can blame him?
No coach is going to leave a good job to go to a school that clearly has no integrity. A school that backs out on agreements and treats its coaches terribly. A school that allows its fans to make the business decisions, which should be made by a qualified person, and will have an impact on the school for years to come.
But it didn’t end there. On Wednesday, Tennessee had an agreement in place with Purdue’s coach Jeff Brohm. Upon seeking the school chancellor’s approval for the agreement, Currie was rejected. He offered Brohm a second deal, which Brohm declined, leaving Tennessee back at square one.
The problem with Tennessee starts with their athletic director. As long as Currie is there, Tennessee will have a tough time bringing in a qualified head coach. Any athletic director who buckles in the face of backlash and pressure is not in the right business.
Schiano will remain on the Ohio State coaching staff and look to help the Buckeyes make one final push at the College Football Playoff.
As for Tennessee, the coaching search will continue, and at the rate it is currently going, the Tennessee Volunteers may have to bring in a volunteer because the job looks so unappealing to all candidates.