Tennessee is still without a head coach after a frenetic day in college football that saw a number of coaches hired, including two in the SEC, yet the job many had perceived to be the top opening has yet to be filled.
According to Chris Low from ESPN.com who has confirmed through multiple sources, the current front-runner to replace Derek Dooley at Tennessee is Louisville head coach Charlie Strong who has his Cardinals team in the Sugar Bowl after winning the Big East conference.
Strong has catapulted the Louisville program to heights not seen since Bobby Petrino was coaching there and had the Cardinals undefeated and ranked in the top 10 late into the season.
The Volunteers had been linked to Jon Gruden, but were rebuffed in their attempts to bring the former Super Bowl winning coach and current Monday Night Football analyst out of the booth and to Knoxville.
The latest name to be added to the mix prior to Strong for the head coaching job at Tennessee was Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy who met with Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart on Sunday.
Earlier this week Strong was non-committal when asked about his future at Louisville and the school has said in recent weeks they would make him the highest paid coach in America in order to keep him.
Money likely is not the biggest issue at play here and the opportunity to return to the SEC and a sleeping giant like Tennessee is, and the folks in Knoxville would be fortunate to get a coach like Strong who should delight Volunteer fans after their last two coaching hires failed.
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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.