Rumors are swirling over who will be the next football coach at Tennessee, with Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Louisville’s Charlie Strong and North Carolina’s Larry Fedora among the names most touted for the Volunteers job.
Tennessee is looking for a new coach for its football program after firing Derek Dooley last month. Dooley, who came to Knoxville from Lousiana Tech, was fired following a disappointing 5-7 season in 2012.
The Vols are the last SEC team still looking for a coach after Kentucky replaced Joker Phillips with Mark Stoops, Auburn fired Gene Chizik for Gus Malzahn and Arkansas hired Bret Bielema to take over for John L. Smith.
Rumors surrounding the Tennessee coaching search have centered on Gundy, Strong and Fedora.
The latest speculation has Gundy out of the running to be the next Tennessee coach after Oklahoma State extended his contract for another four years, ESPN reported.
While Fedora, who has one year under his belt at North Carolina, won’t publicly address the rumors, UNC recruit Jordan Fieulleteau said Fedora assured him that he’ll be back next season at Chapel Hill.
“I was just like, you can be straight-up with me,” Fieulleteau said he told Fedora, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. “I was like, I committed to you, and the school, so I just feel like – let me know, are you going to leave? And he was like, ‘No. That’s all rumors.’”
Meanwhile, Lousiville is trying to ensure Strong, seen as an up-and-coming coach ready to take the reigns at an elite program, remains with the Cardinals. The school reportedly offered Strong a contract extension to prevent him from leaving, according to ESPN.
But Tennessee is working equally hard to try to lure Strong to Knoxville and offered the coaching job to the former Florida defensive coordinator, ESPN reported.
So will Strong put the rumors to rest, or will he flee for Tennessee?
According to Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports, all signs point to the Louisville coach staying with the Cardinals.
"Unless he's the greatest poker player of all time, I don't think he’s going anywhere," a Louisville source told Forde.