The University of Tennessee football program has been reduced to a laughingstock because of its dreadful on-field product, having recently completed their first winless SEC campaign in school history. The state of affairs became even more dreadful in Knoxville when word leaked that the Volunteers signed a memorandum of understanding to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as their next head coach.
Two weeks after firing Butch Jones and supposedly missing out on their first choices, they settled for Schiano, best known for the exceptional job he did in building the Rutgers program from 2001 to 2011. In 2006, Schiano inexplicably had the once moribund Scarlet Knights ranked in the Top 10, eventually finishing the year with the first ever bowl game win in school history. He led Rutgers to winning seasons and bowl game berths in six of his final seven seasons, with wins in the final five bowl games, a miraculous accomplishment considering how atrocious the state of the football program was in when he arrived.
Greg Schiano is a disaster of a hire for Tennessee. John Currie should resign if that’s his actual decision. Guy may have covered up child rape at Penn State. I would 1 billion % rather have Lane Kiffin back. Leach would also be better. So would Bobby Petrino. Just awful.
Despite his struggles later as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, college administrators had long coveted Schiano’s work at Rutgers and it seemed liked only a matter of time before he was given another head coaching gig in the NCAA ranks. But his imminent hiring at Tennessee took a turn for the bizarre after fans stormed the campus to protest the hiring,with some of them citing Schiano’s alleged connection to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State.
While some may have had legitimate concerns about his tenure and what he might have known at Penn State, the general consensus is that most fans didn’t approve of the hiring because of his football resume. Evidently, they wanted a bigger, more accomplished name.
Tennessee, Lane Kiffin is there. He wants the job. And you might turn to Greg Schiano? Lane’s a better option. Anybody is a better option. Literally put every coach on a wheel, spin it, and you find a better option.
Now that the job offer has been rescinded as a response to the nuclear criticism of the hire from both fans and politicians, the University of Tennessee has a chance to do the right thing. It’s what they should have done from the very beginning.
They need to offer the job to Tee Martin.
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Martin, the current University of Southern California offensive coordinator, led the Volunteers to the 1998 national championship as the Volunteers’ quarterback. The Trojans play Stanford on Friday night in the Pac-12 championship game, and Martin has been mentioned in recent years as one of the game’s best assistant coaches who will one day be running his own program.
His former Tennessee teammate Dwayne Goodrich had this to say on Twitter –
Tennessee needs to hire Tee Martin period. It makes sense. Great man, amazing recruiter and coach and relates to the young men. Make it happen Currie.
Schools with a former championship pedigree are always hesitant to bring in someone with no head coaching experience. But from the looks at what Lincoln Riley is accomplishing during his first year as the head man at Oklahoma, hiring a young former assistant can pay some big dividends
Martin has never been a head coach, but USC head coach Clay Helton has no doubts that he will be successful once given his first head coaching job.
“It’s an opportunity that I think he’s ready for when the time comes, and I’ve always been thankful for each and every day that I’ve had Tee Martin here,” Helton told reporters on Monday. “I knew that at some point in time it will end, but he is, like I said before, he is the most complete coach I’ve ever been around and I know that his day is coming to lead a program, and whoever decides to make him their head coach is going to get a very valuable commodity.”
A growing number of former Tennessee foot ball players such as Goodrich, Darwin Walker, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Aaron Hayden, Byron Moore and Albert Haynesworth are coming out to publicly voice their support for Martin getting the job.
I want the very best HC candidate for the players at the University of Tennessee regardless of color! Saying we interviewed one is like saying you have one black friend! #comeonman I’m sorry it’s a touchy subject but prove me wrong and hire Tee Martin as our next head coach!!!
Schools like Tennessee, especially during rough times, want to hearken back to their national championship times and are always looking for a coaching hire with ties to their former glory days. In this respect, and many others, Tee Martin makes the most sense.
Martin succeeded Peyton Manning as Tennessee’s quarterback for the 1998 season and proceeded to lead the program to the national championship. He went 22-3 in his two seasons as the starter and won two SEC championships.
In his first season as USCs offensive coordinator last year, the Trojans finished 10-3 and won the Rose Bowl. This season, they’re 10-2 and are preparing to face Stanford in Fridays Pac-12 championship game. The Trojans have the 13th best total offense in the nation this season, averaging 292 yards per game through the air and 197 on the ground.
Martin has been a staple for the Trojans recruiting success since he joined the staff in 2012 as wide receivers coach under then head coach Lane Kiffin. And if there’s anyone with a sincere passion for bringing the program back to life in Knoxville, it’s Martin, who has a street named after him on campus.
The elephant in the room is that Tennessee may not be ready for a Black coach.Haynesworth recently said that Martin probably won’t get the job for that specific reason. Well, the whole white coach thing hasn’t worked for the Volunteers as of late, so maybe they should try something new.
Martin delivered the Volunteers’ first national title since 1951 during his playing days. He represents the excellence and glory days that fans are dying to get back to. He’s a top notch coordinator for one of America’s most visible and scrutinized teams. And those who have worked with him are adamant that he has what it takes.
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It seems like he should have been the first choice all along. In order to scrub the stench off the Tennessee program and start over with a fresh, renewed enthusiasm, they’d be wise to welcome back one of the program’s favorite sons. But wisdom and Tennessee athletics haven’t always gone hand in hand.
Tee Martin deserves a shot to be the Volunteers’ next coach. But I’m not so certain that Tennessee deserves him.