It was quite a week in Knoxville as Tennessee’s search for a new head football coach took so many twists and turns that it was easy to get lost along the way. So if you’re amazed at the mere thought of Les Miles potentially being the next head coach for the Vols, you may be forgiven. But the past seven days have been so crazy that nothing should be considered off the table.
According to a report from Go Vols 247, newly-named athletic director Phillip Fulmer has gotten to work making contact with potential coaching targets to fill the vacancy on the Tennessee sideline. One of those calls reportedly was to former LSU head coach Les Miles.
The concept of Fulmer reaching out to Miles shouldn’t be a tremendous shock considering what has gone down in Knoxville this past week. After initially seeing a hire of Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano go up in flames, multiple attempts to lure coaches away from other programs like Mike Gundy and Dave Doeren came up short.
Then, a possible hiring of Mike Leach was put on ice when Tennessee fired John Currie as AD and named Fulmer to the job in a dramatic turn of events. The hiring of the former Tennessee coach, and the last successful one in Knoxville, to be the AD meant one of two things were likely to happen. Fulmer would either reach out to somebody he has coached and been associated with on the sidelines in the past to run the show, or he would call on a big name that he could probably convince to come to Knoxville.
USC assistant Tee Martin, who won a national championship for Fulmer, was one of the easy picks to be on the short list for the new AD, but Miles has long been a name of interest since LSU fired him during the 2016 season. Miles has never backed down from suggesting he wanted to coach again, and do so at a place where he felt he could win without having to go through a massive rebuild. Despite Tennessee’s struggles in recent years, the Vols still have potential to be able to turn things around somewhat quickly with the right leadership in place.
It also helps that Miles may have already been putting himself on the Tennessee radar, as noted earlier in the week by WWE star Kane (for real).
— Glenn Jacobs (@GlennJacobsTN) November 30, 2017
We’ll have to wait and see if there is any traction in any conversations between Les Miles and Tennessee, but there is no arguing it would be a fun combination to witness. Of course, it might not be the best situation for Tennessee, which is in dire need of a coach who can provide some long-term stability. How much gas does Miles have in the tank? Surely enough to give Tennessee a jolt, but there should be concerns with bringing in a retread SEC head coach when the chance to bring in a new face with a proven track record is available. And such coaches are available, whether or not Fulmer’s candidates include Martin.
Fulmer wanted this AD job pretty badly, so it is safe to assume he has a master plan to get his beloved Vols program back to competing for SEC titles and, eventually, national titles.