Locals weigh in on Tennessee Coach Controversy

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – It’s back to square one for the University of Tennessee’s athletic department, after efforts to hire the Ohio State defensive coordinator fell through.

The Vol fan base made its wishes known Sunday, and News 12’s Ashley Henderson spoke with many of them today here in Chattanooga.

Vols fan Greg Whaley said, “I think it was just a bad deal for the AD to even go after somebody that could possibly be involved with the scandal that was up at Penn State.”

Chattanoogan Greg Whaley is talking about Ohio state’s Greg Schiano who was considered for the head coach job at Tennessee – replacing the fired Butch Jones.

He was at Penn State during the investigation of a child rape case involving the athletic department in 2016.

But the locals seemed to be dissatisfied with the Tennessee staff top to bottom.

“The coach I wanted is not coming.. John Gruden, that was my pick,” said Vols fan Larry Garner, “We got players and talent, they’re not getting out of them up there.. they made a bad hire 5 years ago and it’s finally showed up.”

But they agreed on one thing—Butch Jones was not able to do it.

Vols fan Craig Bush said, “He had great classes but he couldn’t coach them up to be the players that maybe they are. So, there’s somebody out there, but seems like they reacted pretty quickly and now it seems like I said, they..the good guys out there who’s gonna want to come deal with the incompetent people that we have at the top right now.”

Some locals we spoke with want Phil Fullmer as the next athletic director.

“First of all, I’m a Georgia fan first, Red and Black, but I’m an SEC fan so I’m really disappointed in the coaching search and the way its laid out,” said Bill Smalley, “I kind of place some of the blame on the athletic director for not encompassing and gathering in more information from other sources. He’s got plenty of assistants and aides up there that could have helped him in this and as I understand it, he took it on his own.”

All of that follows one of the worst years ever for UT football.

Smalley adds, “I really hate it for the fans.. I have a lot of friends who are Tennessee fans and I really hate it for them.. the situation that’s prevailed at this point.”

Read the full text of athletic director John Currie’s statement here.

Categories: Local News