Finally we get a realistic name mentioned in connection with the Tennessee coaching opening after all of the Jon Gruden talk. Per AL.com and NewsOk.com, Tennessee officials interviewed Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy at Gundy’s home on Sunday. (Yes, this Mike Gundy):
Gundy’s name coming up in the Vols search may be a little confusing for some. He’s an Oklahoma State alum with a 66-35 record in his eight years leading the Pokes, he’s well compensated, and he has a program that is not afraid to spend money thanks to mega-booster T. Boone Pickens.
It certainly doesn’t seem like Gundy has any reason to leave Stillwater, and he could very well be pulling a Les Miles by flirting with Tennessee in order to leverage something out of Oklahoma State. NewsOk.com is reporting that Gundy is seeking more control over scheduling, as Gundy prefers a lighter non-conference schedule while his athletic director has sought out BCS caliber non-conference matchups.
However, even if Gundy is trying to leverage more control out of Oklahoma State, I’m not sure that Gundy would elicit the same response out of Oklahoma State that Les Miles got out of LSU after his flirtation with Arkansas. Les Miles has won a BCS title at LSU, while Gundy may have peaked at Oklahoma State with his 2011 Fiesta Bowl win that he followed up with a 7-5 campaign this year. If Gundy ever wanted to test his mettle in the SEC, this may be his best opportunity to make it happen.