The Greg Schiano era in Knoxville has come to an end before it ever got the chance to get off the ground. Schiano was reportedly heading down to Knoxville to replace the controversial Butch Jones at Tennessee, but according to VolQuest, the school has decided to move on from its No. 1 option.
Tennessee was set to be Schiano’s first head coaching job since his time at the helm of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his first college head coaching gig since he was in charge at Rutgers. But backlash to the hire came swiftly — Volunteer fans were furious with the decision to bring Schiano in for a myriad of reasons, and it got so bad that politicians were tweeting their disappointment in the hire.
As Volquest wrote, a formal announcement regarding Schiano’s hire was supposed to take place on Sunday evening, but instead, “unprecedented fan backlash on social media and UT’s campus” will lead to the team moving on. This report was confirmed by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, who tweeted that the two sides were getting paperwork together but the school is “spooked.”
Mark Schlabach of ESPN also confirmed the deal, which was agreed to, was no longer going through.
It’s a crazy situation in Knoxville right now, as the university went from having its next football coach waiting in the wings to dealing with a borderline PR crisis. And the absolutely insane part is things could conceivably get even uglier, as the two sides reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding that Tennessee is breaking by moving on from Schiano.
This is quite the saga, and for first-year athletic director John Currie, having to hire a coach after the entire college football universe watched what happened with Schiano’s hiring might be really, really difficult. As for Schiano, he has to go back to being the defensive coordinator and associate head coach for one of the best football programs in the nation, which doesn’t seem nearly as bad as facing the wrath of Tennessee fans.