November 26, 2017 will go down in Vol history as the day Tennessee fans finally reached their breaking point.
Saturday night’s anger over the blowout home loss to Vanderbilt faded into hope and excitement over the reports that Tennessee had finally found their new coach. An article circulated around Twitter that said John Currie had begun to talk to Jon Gruden again, but all the excitement quickly turned into anger again.
Dan Wolken of the USA Today, reported that Tennessee was finalizing a deal to make Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, Greg Schiano, the Vols new head coach, and that’s when all hell broke loose.
Tennessee fans lost their minds on social media. The immediate reaction from Tennessee fans was about his lack of success on the field, but then the Washington Post article about his ties to the Jerry Sandusky incident at Penn State was spreading like wildfire.
Tennessee fans were tweeting anyone they possibly could to stop John Currie from hiring Schiano. Early Sunday afternoon, a picture of Currie’s business card that had his actual phone number was put on Twitter. People began to blow up the Tennessee athletic department, and John Currie’s cell phone.
Tennessee politicians starting speaking out against Schiano, and that is where it became a possibility that the deal could fall through.
Tennessee fans and students lined up outside Neyland Stadium to protest the hire, and the criticism from the national media started getting stronger. Guys like Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit, Dan Wolken, Dan Wetzel, and almost any other national writer you want to name went in on Tennessee fans.
Around 5PM CT, reports went out that Currie was in Columbus to officially seal the deal, but Schiano had gotten wind of the reaction from Tennessee fans and was getting cold feet. A little bit later, reports surfaced that John Currie had seen the fallout back home, and decided to pull the plug on the deal.
Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel published a story saying that Tennessee decided to move away from Schiano after a Memorandum of Understanding was already signed between Schiano and Currie. This would mean that Tennessee could owe Schiano compensation for terminating the deal after an agreement was already made and signed.
Many media outlets in the Knoxville area are now reporting that there is legitimate discussions going on about John Currie’s future with Tennessee. Currie showed everyone just how out of touch he really is with the Tennessee fan base Sunday. Can Tennessee really trust John Currie to make such a big hire for the future of their football program after the way he crapped the bed with the Schiano deal?
The national media is bashing Tennessee fans now more than ever, and there is no end in sight. Many media members are suggesting that nobody would want to go to Knoxville after the fans ran off Greg Schiano. The key thing the media members are missing is the reason for running off Schiano. Sure, it started out as fans venting about another stupid hire, but as the day went on and more information spread, the vast majority of the uproar was about what happened when Schiano was at Penn State, not about his coaching abilities.
I would even argue that this is a good thing for whoever does become the next coach at the University of Tennessee. After what happened Sunday, just about anyone would be positively received by the Tennessee fan base. It would be much easier for a guy like Mike Norvell to be hired Monday than it would have been if he was hired during the craziness of all the Grumors. There are plenty of good coaches who would love the opportunity to become the next football coach on Rocky Top, and it is up to the athletic department to be competent enough to find them.
We watched an ESPN 30 for 30 movie unfold right in front of our eyes Sunday, and it could change the way college football coaches are hired forever. We saw a fan base finally snap after years of taking punch after punch to the family jewels. November 26, 2017 will be remembered as the day Tennessee fans saved their football program, at least temporarily.