The Odds-on Favorite to be the Next Tennessee Coach is Someone Alabama Fans Know Well

Oddsmakers say the frontrunner to head the Volunteers is another former Nick Saban assistant at Alabama
Publish date:

The Tennessee football program fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt with cause, the university announced in a press conference on Monday. 

Since there's no athletic director either, as Phillip Fulmer stepped down roughly a month after Tennessee announced that its football program was being investigated for alleged recruitment violations.

So while it's hard to get a handle on who might eventually end up being the next head coach, according to BetOnline the person to watch is yet another former Nick Saban assistant coach.

Next Tennessee Volunteers Head Coach

Billy Napier 7/2

Jamey Chadwell 4/1

Bill Clark 9/2

Hugh Freeze 19/4

Luke Fickel 5/1

Doug Marrone 11/2

Jim Caldwell 6/1

Kevin Steele 7/1

Tom Herman 7/1

Lane Kiffin 8/1

Guz Malzahn 10/1

Peyton Manning 33/1 

Napier was Alabama's receivers coach from 2013-16. He's been the head coach at Louisiana since 2018, and has a record of 28-11 including last season's 10-1 mark. 

The real wild card in all of this is the school is expecting to be sanctioned by the NCAA. 

During Monday's press conference, Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman said she expects NCAA Level I or Level II violations but doesn't know when the punishment or investigation will be concluded.

In addition to Pruitt, assistants Shelton Felton and Brian Niedermeyer (a former Alabama graduate assistant) along with four members of the on-campus football recruiting staff, the director and assistant director of football player personnel and a football analyst/quality control coach have been fired. 

Former Saban defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is acting as interim head coach. Steele was hired last week and last served as Auburn's defensive coordinator.

Finally, the courts will likely get involved as Tennessee will not pay Pruitt's buyout because he is being fired for alleged NCAA violations under his watch. So whatever happens and is uncovered will likely drag out in the public eye for quite some time.

Correction: Brian Niedermeyer was mentioned as being a former Alabama player. He was a graduate assistant in 2016 and the assistant director of recruiting operations in 2017. We regret the error.