COLUMN: Where Tennessee ranks among jobs in the SEC
Photo Credit To USA Today

COLUMN: Where Tennessee ranks among jobs in the SEC

Anytime coaching search season is upon us, the merits of a particular job are debated.

This is what’s currently happening with Tennessee.

As ridiculous as it sounds, there is a contingent that believes the head coaching job in Knoxville isn’t elite simply because the Vols haven’t achieved elite status since the early 2000s.

This, of course, is an absurd belief.

Although Tennessee isn’t the premier job in the SEC, to ignore all of the advantages it holds is ludicrous. All these benefits make it the third best coaching job in the conference, trailing only Alabama and LSU.

Starting off, there isn’t a more profitable program in the SEC on a year-to-year basis. In fact, only one program in the country (Texas) is more lucrative than Tennessee.

Does money buy championships? Yes and no. Having an abundance of cash certainly provides access to essentially every coaching candidate, but money can’t mask every problem, especially if a bad hire is made. Just look at Butch Jones, whom Tennessee didn’t break the bank for, but still couldn’t save Jones from completely ripping any progress he had made to shreds this past season.

However, what has been accomplished due to Tennessee’s prosperity is top-of-the-line facilities, a key selling point in the nation’s most competitive recruiting conference.

Speaking of recruiting, given that Tennessee is in the SEC, is surrounded by several recruiting hot beds, and is in a state that’s gaining more and more high school talent by the year, a coach wouldn’t have to look far to recruit elite prospects.

Elite prospects would come to Tennessee because of its rich tradition and passionate fan base, two qualities no mortal could ever deny exists in Knoxville.

Just how passionate are the fans? Against a superior LSU team at home in the midst of a monsoon, over 90,000 people packed Neyland Stadium to watch a 4-6 Vols team lose by 20 points.

This program never and will never lack support. Even during a ferocious social media campaign aimed to “Empty Neyland,” it didn’t find any success. Fans still flocked to Neyland Stadium for a night game against Southern Miss.

Only Alabama and LSU are better jobs in the SEC. The Crimson Tide have the conference’s strongest brand, while LSU’s proximity to talent is substantially greater than Tennessee’s. However, the Vols place ahead of Florida, a program that has to go to war with two other high-profile programs in its own state during recruiting cycles.

Nobody should ever question how GREAT of a job Tennessee is. Are the fans at times, for the lack of a better term, insane? Of course, but that’s normal at an SEC school. The money, facilities, access to recruits, tradition, and dedication from the fan base make Rocky Top a dream destination for any coach.

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