Five Coaching Candidates the University of Tennessee Should Have Considered

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The annual NCAA coaching carousel came to the Volunteer State this past week in a big way, taking fans along for quite a ride as the University of Tennessee frantically looked for a new football czar to rescue them from mediocrity. Athletic Director Dave Hart left no stone unturned and no airstrip untouched as he publicly assumed absolute power over a situation that probably could have benefited from some outside input. 

As the search deteriorated from Gruden disillusionment to a high-stakes leverage game to sheer desperation, I couldn’t help but wonder when the madness would end. It felt like watching an awkward middle school student muster up the courage to ask the prettiest girl in the gym to dance; but instead of reconsidering his strategy after the inevitable rejection, he just walks up to the next girl, and then the next, and then one more. For God’s sake someone dance with this kid!

Now the Vols, twice divorced from coaches that were supposed to usher the program out of the Fulmer era, endured yet another round of painful rejections before finally agreeing to terms with former Cincinnati coach Butch Jones. But did they make the right decision? Here are five candidates that Hart and the Vols should have considered for the vacancy:

1. Kenny Chesney

The Knoxville native would have breathed new life into the stagnant program. Think about it; the Southern mammas would melt during recruiting visits, he already has his own airplane for recruiting, and he could perform at halftime for every home game. Most importantly, we could take prop bets on who would need the bigger stool at press conferences between him and Nick Saban. 

2. Billy Bob the Garbage Man

After the Dooley fiasco, Knoxville needs a blue collar everyman to rally behind. Appalachian mountain people (who really do need their own nickname) would be overjoyed, because the hire would finally affirm their belief that, “Hell, I could coach this team better than that!” Billy Bob is also adept at sifting through trash to find treasure, and he can handle the smell of a program in the dump. And of course after he is fired three years from now, Billy Bob could help drive the garbage truck full of cash to the next round of potential candidates.

3. Peggy from the Golden Corral 

Cut from the same cloth as Billy Bob, Peggy is a hard working woman with a heart of gold. We all know how much East Tennessee likes a buffet, so the offensive line would be well-fed; and everyone would get a hug after yet another loss in the Swamp. Plus the off-the-field issues that plague UT yearly would all but disappear, because there’s nothing worse than a woman being disappointed in you. She could also bring free soft serve to all media events. Maybe Peggy isn’t head coaching material, but she definitely deserves a spot on the staff.

4. Charlie Sheen

This hire would have been just crazy enough to work. Like an Appalachian Saturday night, he could infuse the program with tiger blood, warlocks, and seven gram rocks. Forget the Vegas strip; Knoxville’s strip would anchor the east coast’s new Sin City. Confident and charismatic, Sheen could assemble an elite staff to do most of the actual coaching while he hits the media trail to generate buzz for the program. Of course there’s always a chance he would jump ship for Los Angeles if something better came up, and would leave a flurry of NCAA strip club sanctions in his wake…

5. Santa Claus

Known for his aerial attack and stable of thoroughbreds, Coach Claus would be the perfect addition to the program that already believes in anything. Merry Christmas!


Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.