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Here Are 7 Candidates To Replace Butch Jones At Tennessee

The Vols are in the market for a new head coach.

Tennessee has fired head coach Butch Jones and the search for his replacement has already begun.

The Vols have a number of directions they can go, but they need to nail this hire. It has been 10 years since the program won the SEC East, and patience is wearing thin.

Here are seven names the Vols could turn to to be their new head coach:

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen

Mullen has done a very solid job at MSU, playing in the perennially tough SEC West. He is 68-45 with the Bulldogs and is about to extend his streak of reaching a bowl game to eight consecutive seasons. Mullen also has experience in the SEC East as an assistant coach at Florida.

Former NFL head coach Jon Gruden

Gruden has been linked with openings at Tennessee since he left the NFL after the 2008 season. His wife is a former Tennessee cheerleader and his son currently attends UT. The "Grumors" level has reached epic proportions lately, and this might be the time he actually takes the plunge in Knoxville.

Former Oregon and NFL head coach Chip Kelly

Kelly is another former SEC coach who is linked to every opening under the sun every year. His offensive style was a major hit in college at Oregon, and he's won big-time at the collegiate level. But would Kelly's reclusive personality play well in the SEC, where the pressure to win would be intense?

Memphis head coach Mike Norvell

Norvell is getting things done and he's in-state. In one-plus years at Memphis, he is 16-6 and has his team off to an 8-1 start in 2017. Norvell’s an offensive-minded head coach, and Tennessee clearly needs to revamp its offensive attack.

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter

The 33-year-old Cooter is the youngest name on this list, but he's also a former UT quarterback and graduate assistant who grew up in Fayetteville, Tenn. Cooter brings an NFL pedigree and has drawn praise for helping Matt Stafford develop as the Lions' quarterback.

Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente

Fuente's name was linked to the Florida job, and he's been successful through one-plus years with the Hokies, compiling a 17-7 record. Fuente also coached for four seasons at Memphis before moving on to Virginia Tech, so he knows his way around the state of Tennessee. However, he is signed at VT through 2023.

FAU head coach Lane Kiffin

Okay, okay, the odds of Lane actually coming back to Knoxville seem beyond slim. Still, this would be a heck of a story, and there are some Vols fans who would be willing to give him a second chance. Prediction: Kiffin doesn't return to UT, but he does earn another Power 5 head coaching opportunity sooner rather than later.