No one does coaching searches like the Tennessee Vols.

This search, which is being led by recently hired athletic director Danny White, is a bit different, though.

White is doing his best to prevent leaks. He doesn’t want the search played out in the media. And he wants the current football team to be the first to know who is hired.

So far, White is doing a pretty good job. Information about the search is scarce.

Despite the locked-down search, there have still been a few names tossed around — mostly by national media.

Football Scoop reported on Saturday evening that Minnesota’s PJ Fleck, SMU’s Sonny Dykes, and Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott have been vetted for the job.

Rivals recruiting analyst Mike Farrell tweeted late Saturday night that the job is Elliott’s if he wants it.

Farrell is a well-connected guy in college football, but I’d be hesitant to put a lot of stock in that tweet.

Not because I think Farrell’s information is bad, but because I don’t think his information is coming from within Tennessee athletics.

And there’s the fact that White was in Knoxville all day on Saturday. At this point, I don’t think he’s conducted any face-to-face interviews. That will probably change on Sunday.

This coaching search is playing out a lot like White’s search for a new coach at UCF in 2017. In that search, he used the Parker search firm to assist in finding a new head coach (he’s using the same search firm in this search).

The UCF media threw around a lot of names during the search. Kevin Sumlin, Jason Candle, Ryan Day, and Troy Walters were the names mentioned in an article from the Capital Gazette on December 4, 2017.

The very next day, White hired Josh Heupel to replace Scott Frost. Heupel wasn’t really on anyone’s radar.

I’m not saying that’s exactly how this search will play out. Maybe White ends up hiring Elliott. No one knows right now.

But we do know that White has a history of finding a way to keep a search quiet.

The best bet for Vol fans is to sit back and simply enjoy the speculation. But don’t put too much stock into the names you hear, until you see a new coach announced.


Looks like Danny White has purposefully fed misinformation to reporters in previous coaching searches.

Featured image via UT Athletics