After a weeks-long internal investigation decimated the Tennessee football program this offseason, it's hard to be optimistic in the search for a new coach heading into 2021
That being said, long-time SEC analyst Paul Finebaum believes the Volunteers are off to a good start. After Tennessee Athletic Director Phil Fulmer announced his retirement, the program quickly found a replacement in new AD Danny White.
On his regular appearance with “The Roundtable” on WJOX 94.5, Finebaum lauded the Volunteers' first step towards rebuilding their program.
“People close to Danny White look to his past to predict the future and his past is finding young coaches with a lot of upside, such as Nate Oats, Scott Frost, Josh Heupel," Finebaum said. "I’m not suggesting exactly that path, but I think it’s a pretty good template to look at if you’re trying to guess who the next Tennessee coach is going to be.”
According to Finebaum, the toughest part of the search will be finding someone interested in a job that's not the "most coveted in the world." The impending NCAA investigation levied on the program paired with a tough SEC schedule is a daunting task for any potential suitor.
While the college football analyst didn't give any clear potential candidate names, he did mention one coach who probably won't get the job. Despite recent speculation, Finebaum thinks former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has a "very slim chance" to land the Tennessee job.
The Volunteers are looking for a complete overhaul, and Malzahn just wouldn't cut it.
“I think Danny White wants to put his imprint on the program by finding someone a little bit different," Finebaum said, "and I think Malzahn is more form than different.”
Stay tuned for updates on the ongoing Tennessee head coaching search.