There he is: Tennessee athletic director
Captain Dave Hart on the left, catching a glimpse of the elusive white whale Jon Gruden on the right, setting off an irresistible pursuit. Hart isn’t the first Tennessee AD to fall under Gruden’s spell – his predecessor Mike Hamilton tried to lure him in too, to no avail – and who knows, he might not be the last. But the result remains the same: UT might be infatuated with Gruden, but no matter what kind of crazy-sounding stories start making the rounds, he never returns the favor.
Gruden, while his hiring would have made a splash, was no guarantee to succeed at Tennessee anyway (he must not have thought so himself; otherwise he almost certainly would have shown more interest in the job) – he built his career coaching in the pros, and just as the college-to-NFL transition often doesn’t work out, the NFL-back-to-college switch might not have worked out too well for Gruden’s all-football-all-the-time persona. Most likely, when he returns to coaching, it’ll be for an NFL team (and sure enough, those rumors are flying too).
But amidst so many rumors, here’s what we know for damn near sure: if he’s both out of coaching and Tennessee’s looking, his name will come up in connection with the job, UT will try and land him, and they will fail. So please, whoever Tennessee hires: do well, so we’re all spared this same song and dance a couple more years down the line.
Whale photo via Shutterstock, criminally bad Photoshop by Glenn Davis