Will Jon Gruden "Volunteer" To Leave ESPN?

Mike Tirico shouldn’t be surprised if his “Monday Night Football” colleague Jon Gruden bolts the booth to be a head coach again. The latest rumor du jour: he’s the perfect fit for the Tennessee Volunteers.

It’s a given that Jon Gruden’s current profession of “Monday Night Football” analyst is a temporary job. Everybody knows that, no matter how comfortable or in the groove he may be in the “MNF” booth for four seasons, coaching is his true calling.

He was a beloved figure in Tampa Bay after winning a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers. Since his departure from the team, sellouts at Raymond James Stadium have been hard to come by.

And as long as he’s still biding his time alongside Mike Tirico for sixteen Mondays a year, his name will still be circulated when NFL teams are hiring. You may recall strong rumors suggesting Gruden would become the next coach of the St. Louis Rams (that job went to Jeff Fisher).

But could he entertain the thought of being the head coach of a college football team?

There’s a persuasive piece written by Nashville sports radio host Clay Travis that suggests why Gruden might become the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, should the team part ways with Derek Dooley, who is in his fourth season as Vols head coach.

Among the main factors of Gruden possibly coaching in Tennessee: His name recognition would put fannies in the seats, the current roster is not in a rebuilding phase, and, quoting Travis: “This guy would kill in recruiting.”

As Travis also points out, Gruden’s wife, Cindy, is from East Tennessee and is a University of Tennessee alumnus.

And if it doesn’t work out?

“He can always go back to television.”

Travis cites Gruden’s passion for “breaking down film” and “interacting with players” as part of his desire to resume his coaching career. “Gruden is just 49 years old,” Travis writes. “is he really going to be a television lifer like John Madden?”

Predictably, there’s been plenty of on-air recruiting of Jon Gruden on Travis’ radio station, WGFX/104.5 The Zone. Just today, Erin Andrews, in her weekly spot on the station, was asked what she thought of a possible Gruden hire at Tennessee. “He’s not going to leave ESPN,” she was quoted as saying. (Of course, Andrews herself left ESPN.)

If you want to enlighten yourself with Clay Travis’ 1500-word manifesto on why Jon Gruden should even fathom leaving the confines of Bristol for the fields of Rocky Top, click here.

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