Did Tennessee Miss a Chance at Landing Jon Gruden?

MrSEC DotComContributor IMarch 24, 2009

Last November, with Phillip Fulmer playing out his final days as Tennessee’s head football coach, rumors swirled that Jon Gruden was going to be marching back to Knoxville.

The Buccaneers’ coach had been a graduate assistant at Tennessee. He met his wife, a UT cheerleader, while on campus. He owned property in the area.

But it never came to pass.  Gruden said he wasn’t interested. 

Tennessee snapped up Lane Kiffin and that was that.

Only it wasn’t.

Lane Kiffin hired his father Monte Kiffin to be his defensive coordinator in Knoxville.  Monte, ironically, was the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator under Gruden.

When Kiffin the Elder told his team he was leaving, the Bucs went into a tailspin.

Things went so far off-course in Tampa that Gruden was fired after the season.

Now out of work, Chucky, the man some said wouldn’t have the patience to coach college kids, says he would indeed entertain the idea of coaching in the college ranks.

“Yeah, I’d go back to college.  I love football.” Gruden said in a radio interview last month.

Reading that quote, I wonder if Gruden, had he known that he was on the outs in Tampa, would have shown more interest in the UT job back in November?

The folks at CollegeFootballTalk.com, upon reading this quote, wonder if Gruden might land at Tennessee, replacing Kiffin if he flames out in his first year.

That would have to be an awfully big flameout, folks. A nuclear flameout. 

More than likely, the Gruden-to-Tennessee ship has already sailed.

Rocky Top and Chucky are two star-crossed lovers who weren’t meant to be together.