The Tennessee Vols hired Josh Heupel in late January to replace Jeremy Pruitt as the program’s head football coach.
Vols athletic director Danny White settled on Heupel after he failed to land Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
White, who also tried to hire Elliott before hiring Heupel at UCF in 2017, operated Tennessee’s latest head-coaching search with plenty of secrecy. But several details still emerged.
While there was never an on-the-record report that Elliott was offered the job, the Clemson offensive coordinator essentially confirmed that was the case on Wednesday evening (via Matt Connolly of The State).
“It was something that I really had to sit down and think about and consider and pray about and talk to people and try to find the right confirmation,” explained Elliott.
“At the end of the day, when I put everything on the table, it just wasn’t the right time,” said Elliott. “I’m just so happy to be in an environment where people embrace me even though I was going through that. Showing me support one way or another.”
So what was the main reason Elliott didn’t take the job?
It boils down to the state of Tennessee’s football program and the uphill battle it faces.
“There’s going to be high expectations wherever I go because of where I’m leaving,” said Elliott. “So really want to be in a position where we have a legitimate opportunity to win.”
“I wanna be in a situation where I can hunker down and really fully invest in the community. Fully invest in the institution. Fully invest in the program. Build something special.”
“So just really, bottom line, an opportunity to win and win the right way and have the full support of everybody that touches that program,” added Elliott.
Elliott is basically looking for a win-now opportunity. And that’s not currently the case at Tennessee.
I can’t say I blame him. He’s waited this long for the right job, there’s no point in taking the wrong job now.
The Vols, ultimately, got what they needed — someone with head coaching experience and an explosive offense.
And Elliott got a raise at Clemson, while he waits for a “win-now” opportunity to come along.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
Featured image via Anderson Independent Mail-USA TO