*****Tennessee Football Coaching Search BIG BOARD [updated 12.4 10:47 am]



VolNation's Grand Poobah
Staff member
Oct 22, 2003
I'll try to update this as info comes along. Just throwing out names at this point that have been mentioned by those covering the program. If you have anything to add, help me out by posting it in this thread.

*****I reorganized the thread to try to keep all the updates at the bottom.

Tennessee Vols Football Offensive Coordinator Search BIG BOARD

Hugh Freeze former Ole Miss head coach (wikipedia)
  • Current offensive coordinator of the Arizona Hotshots in the upcoming Alliance of American Football league.
Chip Lindsey Auburn offensive coordinator (official Auburn site bio)
  • Currently makes $800,000 at Auburn.
Freddie Kitchens Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator (official Browns bio)

Will Friend current Tennessee offensive line coach (official Tennessee bio)
  • Currently making $805,000 as Tennessee's offensive line coach. There's been some chatter than Friend isn't interested in the coordinator position.
Dan Enos Alabama QB coach (official Alabama bio)
  • Enos has an interesting salary. He made $200,000 in 2018, is set to make $250,000 in 2019, but that skyrockets to $850,000 in year three (beginning March 2020) under his current contract.
Joe Osovet current Tennessee quality control coach, player development (official Tennessee bio)

John Lilly current Assistant to the Head Coach at Tennessee (official Tennessee bio)

Josh Niblett head coach Hoover High School (AHSFHS bio)
  • Played with Pruitt at Alabama. Has won seven state titles in high school.
Chris Weinke current Tennessee running backs coach (official Tennessee bio)
  • Per Rucker, Pruitt has worked with Weinke at multiple spots and respects him.
Rush Propst current head coach at Colquitt County High School in Georgia (Wikipedia)
  • Per Rucker, a mentor of Pruitt's and the two remain close.
Bryan McClendon offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at South Carolina (official South Carolina bio)
  • Coached with Pruitt at UGA from 2014-2015. Currently making $650,000 at South Carolina.
Eli Drinkwitz offensive coordinator at NC State (official NC State bio)


Monday 11.26
  • This one has legs, according to Jesse Simonton. "I do think that the Hugh Freeze stuff has some legs, talking to some people. There was interest a year ago when Pruitt was initially making his inaugural staff for Tennessee, with Hugh Freeze. That obviously did not happen and they went with Tyson Helton. I think there's some mutual interest there. There's gonna be some hurdles, though, to make that happen. One is the SEC and two I think is some folks in Tennessee's administration."
  • Hubbs says Tennessee won't be in a hurry, which means an NFL guy is possible. Pruitt knows how critical this hire is.
  • Vol QB commit Brian Maurer throws his vote in the hat for Kliff Kingsbury.
  • Hyams quoting ESPN's Brett McMurphy -- "McMurphy said former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze would be `an unbelievable hire.’ He noted the SEC blocked Alabama from hiring Freeze as an analyst. He’d also go after Kliff Kingsbury, recently fired by Texas Tech "
  • Simonton on Chris Weinke: "I don't see that happening."
  • "Freeze has a very real interest in the job. There's no question about that. I think the fundamental question is what kind of offense does Pruitt want to play." - Brent Hubbs
  • "I am being told that the No. 1 target for them as their next OC is Hugh Freeze but there may be some hoops to jump through. But he is the leader in the clubhouse." - Darren McFarland
  • "Both Auburn & Tennessee have interest in Hugh Freeze I’ve been told by multiple people. Will be interesting to watch other candidates come forward." - Trey Wallace
  • "Auburn OC Chip Lindsay is very interested in Tennesse job along with others." -- Trey Wallace
  • "you can’t discount Jeremy Pruitt simply reorganizing his current staff (Will Friend, Chris Weinke, Brian Niedermeyer) and promoting a John Lilly or Joe Osovet." -Simonton
  • "I've been texted Josh Niblett's name a couple times. I don't see it with the Hoover HC. But Niblett does have strong connections to Pruitt." -Simonton
Tuesday 11.27
  • "One thing to watch in Knoxville if Dan Enos does get the job, I would expect Jalen Hurts to follow him to Tennessee" - Michael Bratton
  • Brian Rice said on Ainge's show he thinks a hire will be made by Friday.
  • With Alabama's current offensive coordinator Mike Locksley being mentioned for the Maryland job, Dan Enos is believed to be a candidate to step into that role at Alabama.
  • Hugh Freeze is still a possibility per Chris Low this morning. He also mentioned Dan Enos and Bryan McClendon, who Pruitt tried to hire last year, but thinks it would take a lot of money to get him away from South Carolina.
  • Enos has an interesting salary. He made $200,000 in 2018, is set to make $250,000 in 2019, but that skyrockets to $850,000 in year three (beginning March 2020) under his current contract.
  • Tee Martin has been fired by USC.
  • Hyams just said he doesn’t expect Pruitt to promote from within. He does expect him to hire someone he knows or has ties to.
  • Chip Lindsey is set to receive a $100,000 retention bonus if he's employed beyond this Saturday.
  • "Taylor told Vols Wire earlier today that “Chip is very interested in the Tennessee job, but wants to see what transpires at Auburn.” - Dan Harrleson
  • "Continue to be told that Auburn’s Chip Lindsey is strongly in the mix for #Vols OC. Was told this a.m. Freeze remains “possible.” Top names I’ve heard throughout the day from multiple folks " -- John Brice
Wednesday 11.28
  • Chris Low on the Jayson Swain Show: "I think Hugh Freeze is a real possibility and he will be given serious consideration. Pruitt has several guys on his list and one of those guys is Freeze. I don't know that he's the guy at the head of that list, but I do expect Jeremy to talk to him. I think he can help Tennessee. He could help Jeremy. He's proven. Saban tried to hire him last year before the SEC sort of squashed that. A lot of the stuff he talked with Saban and his staff about they ran this year at Alabama. I do think Freeze is in it and will be given serious consideration. If Jeremy decides that who he wants and he's the best fit, then I think it'll happen."
  • Low on Bryan Mcclendon: "Another guy I would put in that mix is Bryan McClendon. Jeremy wanted him last year and Muschamp made him the OC at South Carolina. It would take a lot of money to get him. They were paying Helton $1.2 million. I don't think McClendon is making that at South Carolina."
  • Brent Dougherty on 3HL: "I expect Jeremy Pruitt and former Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze to have a discussion about the Tennessee OC position within the next 24-48 hours.”
  • Sources told FootballScoop that Jeremy Pruitt’s top two candidates at this time are Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and NC State offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz. We understand both are interested in the position.
  • Hubbs said he doesn't think Hugh Freeze to Tennessee is completely dead.
Thursday 11.29
  • I’m told Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt met & interviewed former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze yesterday and Freeze is one of the finalists for Vol offensive coordinator job. Pruitt decision on OC should come soon. -- Clay Travis
  • JUST IN: Jeremy Pruitt has met with Hugh Freeze to talk ‘ball and discuss his offensive coordinator vacancy -- Austin Price
  • I hear if Locksley takes the Maryland job, Freeze will go to Alabama. Pruitt needs to move quickly if he wants him. -- Brent Dougherty.
  • I said this earlier this week & will reiterate: @CoachHughFreeze highly deserves a 2nd chance & will bolster a staff on many levels. Indicated #SEC will not block. And now 3 college coaches say would be a huge get for #Vols -- Brice
Friday 11.30
  • Pete Thamel said no decision has been made on Tennessee hiring Hugh Freeze.
  • "#Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt interviewed Auburn OC Chip Lindsey on Thursday. Has been using help of John Lilly in interviews as well. Leaderboard remains Freeze and Lindsey. Drinkwitz expected to chat w/ Pruitt as well. Ideal timeline is 24-48 hours" -- John Brice
  • Patrick Brown says Pruitt has spoken to Freeze, Lindsey and Mike Locksley, although admits some could be guys he's talking to because he knows them, and not necessarily interviews.
  • 'Brett Norsworthy of Ole Miss/IMG Football Network discussed the latest on Freeze with Vols Wire Friday afternoon.
  • “All indications are pointing to something with Tennessee,” Norsworthy told Vols Wire. “They (Tennessee) are getting a really good football coach.”' -- Dan Harrelson
  • Hubbs said he doesn't think anyone at Tennessee is drawing a hard line saying you can't hire Pruitt.
Monday 12. 3
  • "I'm where I have been on this whole coach search for Tennessee. I think Hugh Freeze is right there in the middle of it. I think he has been right in the middle of it. He's talked to Jeremy. Jeremy's talked to a few people. He's also talked to Chip Lindsey, the Auburn offensive coordinator, and I know he's had some conversations with some other people. One of the things that Phillip Fulmer told Jeremy Pruitt was to talk to several people and figure out who's the best fit for him. Who's the best fit? Who can help Tennessee offensively get back to where they want to get? And I think, right on through, that Hugh Freeze has been right there at the top of the list. I think Jeremy's trying to check all of the boxes. I would expect by tomorrow, certainly Tuesday at the latest, that he's going to have an offensive coordinator on board. And I know everybody wants to know, 'Well, is it going to be Hugh Freeze? Is he the leader?' And I don't want to speak for Jeremy Pruitt, but as I've said right on through — and I've tried to be consistent with all this — I think Hugh Freeze is right there in the forefront of this search and, I think, somebody that could help Tennessee a lot. I really do." - Chris Low
  • The longer this drags out the less likely Hugh Freeze will be the hire. - Austin Price
  • John Brice says Freeze wants the job and its in UT's hands. Lots of other programs have interest and Tennessee will hit the reset button if this doesn't get completed.
  • Mark Chip Lindsey off the list. It appears as though he's heading to Kansas to join Les Miles.
  • Hubbs isn't sure Freeze has a Tennessee offer and doesn't know what the hold up is. The assumption is some on not fully on board with the hire. Confirms Freeze interviewed at FSU and talked to Auburn.
  • Freeze is a candidate at Liberty, according to footballscoop.

Tuesday 12. 4
  • Still not sure why some are assuming Hugh Freeze would definitely take the #Vols OC job right now with so many other potential possibilities out there for him. Not sure Freeze isn't still weighing options on his end, regardless of any potential snag on Tennessee's end. -- Rucker
  • Austin Price thinks Freeze prefers the Tennessee job over Auburn or FSU. Also suggested Tennessee will not promote from within for this opening.
  • Chip Lindsey to KU is official.
  • Nashville radio host Chad Withrow: "I think Tennessee is looking more into these stories from Briarcrest than anything that happened at Ole Miss before offering Freeze."
  • Josh Newberg of 247 says Tennessee isn't pursuing Hugh Freeze.
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Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
Why would Freeze take a risk at Auburn? It's possible Gus might be gone next year. The only upside of that risk is that Auburn might put him in as HC. If he's wanting to get back to being a HC then I guess Auburn might be his best and quickest path. If he's looking to rehabilitate his image before trying a HC job again then UT is where he needs to go.


Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2018
I would love to see Peyton Manning take the OC position and immediately upgrade our O-line and QB positions. I know Peyton won’t take it but, I’d sure give him a call.
He said if he ever did coach that is where he would do his coaching is in the OC position. Said he did not want to be a head coach.
Dec 1, 2010
Hugh Freeze former Ole Miss head coach (wikipedia)
  • This one has legs, according to Jesse Simonton.
  • "I am being told that the No. 1 target for the as their next OC is Hugh Freeze but there may be some hoops to jump through. But he is the leader in the clubhouse." - Darren McFarland
  • "Both Auburn & Tennessee have interest in Hugh Freeze I’ve been told my multiple people. Will be interesting to watch other candidates come forward." - Trey Wallace

I'd take Rick Pitino and Bobby Petrino if they could beat Vandy!

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