The backlash of Tennessee trying to hire Greg Schiano as the new Vols head coach has triggered a firestorm around the Volunteer State. Multiple sources have told SI Tennessee has backed out of a deal to hire Schiano. The paperwork on the deal had already been in progress when things started to melt down around the UT fan base as word circulated of the possibility of the Schiano hire. Schiano's ties to Penn State during the years around the Jerry Sandusky scandal led to a social media firestorm. “Things had become toxic,” a source said.
“They’ve spooked them all,” said the source regarding the fan backlash on AD John Currie hiring Schiano. “It’s a feeding frenzy here now. It’s been a total uproar in this state. You have legislators, some big-time players who have gotten involved. It’s a hot mess."
The 51-year-old Schiano did a terrific job turning a dismal Rutgers program into a respectable one, posting a 68–67 record in 11 years including bowl games in six of his final seven seasons, before he jumped to the NFL to take over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Schiano returned to the college game last year and has become Meyer’s right-hand man. He had an exemplary academic track record with his program at Rutgers, at one point ranking behind only Northwestern in APR, and held the best APR mark of any state university in the nation four years in a row. Years ago Schiano turned down the Michigan job, and he at one time interviewed for the USC head coach vacancy.
He went 11–21 in two seasons with the Buccaneers, then spent time working as an analyst for ESPN before returning to coaching.
Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12 after the Vols fell to 4–6 and 0–6 against SEC opponents on the season. Jones went 34–27 over five seasons in Knoxville.