It’s been almost five years since the Tennessee Vols nearly hired Greg Schiano to replace Butch Jones.

Fortunately for the Vols, a fan revolt blocked the hire of Schiano, rescuing Tennessee from a mediocre coach (career losing record) who would’ve been a bad cultural fit.

Unfortunately for UT, the Vols hired Jeremy Pruitt to replace Jones instead. That didn’t go very well. Pruitt went 16-19 in three years and was eventually fired due to an NCAA investigation into impermissible benefits.

After Pruitt was fired, the Vols hired Josh Heupel as the football program’s head coach. The program, thanks to Heupel and new athletic director Danny White (who was also hired in the wake of the recruiting scandal), is in the best shape it’s been in since Phillip Fulmer was roaming the sidelines on Rocky Top.

Tennessee Vols
Jul 21, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Tennessee Volunteers head coach Josh Heupel talks to the media on the stage during SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the NCAA sent Tennessee their notice of allegations in response to the Pruitt/recruiting investigation. As a result, the Schiano/Tennessee fan revolt has been back in the news (I gave my thoughts on Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde’s column slamming Vols fans here).

The crux of the Schiano angle from the national media is basically that Tennessee would be in a much better place right now if they would’ve hired Schiano instead of Pruitt. That’s ignoring Schiano’s obvious flaws as a head coach (go ask folks in Tampa Bay how they feel about Schiano).

Schiano was asked during Big 10 Media Days this week if he’s ready to talk about Tennessee and what happened in 2017.

“Not quite yet,” said a laughing Schiano. “Not quite yet. It’s coming, though.”

It’s amusing that Schiano said those words because it’s the exact same words he said in late 2017 when he was still the defensive coordinator at Ohio State.

“I’m going to speak about that whole thing at some point when it’s appropriate,” said Schiano in December 2017. “Right now, I don’t think it is. Right now, it’s all about this season, and the Cotton Bowl, and us closing out this season the right way.

“There will be a time that’s appropriate to speak on that, and then I will.”

Well Greg, when is the appropriate time? 10 years from now? 20 years from now? When will we ever get to hear Schiano’s side of things?

I’m suspecting the answer is never. But Schiano doesn’t want to admit that there’s really nothing else to the story. Tennessee fans simply didn’t want him in Knoxville. And that’s their prerogative. After all, UT fans are the ones packing Neyland Stadium every Saturday, buying merchandise, spending thousands of dollars to attend Tennessee, donating to the school, etc. They might not be on the field on Saturdays, but the fans are absolutely part of the program. And they deserve to have some sort of say in what happens.

Tennessee is in a better place because they didn’t hire Schiano. Sure, they had to endure the Pruitt era, but the Vols have emerged on the other side. And the future is looking bright.

Featured image via Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports