Tennessee was set to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano as head coach, but the deal fell through after fans and media protested.
Tennessee's circuitous head-coaching search, which has taken on just about every twist imaginable, is nearing an end, as the Vols are trying to finalize a deal with Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt after offering him the job earlier Wednesday, sources told ESPN.
Martin has been the offensive coordinator for USC for the last two years, and he's been on staff with the Trojans since 2012. Good luck to everyone involved.
One athletic director upheaval and several swings and misses on the coaching carousel later, the Vols could finally be closing in on a new head honcho.
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Two of the sources said Australian military officials had been in Ottawa late last month for talks. The Australian plan does have its advantages.
Five days after being named the university's athletic director, Phillip Fulmer zeroed in on the longtime defensive coach and current Alabama defensive coordinator as the Vols coach, along with interviewing Auburn's defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
In his one season at Florida State, Pruitt's defense was first in the nation in scoring defense (10.7 points per game), third in the nation in total defense (248.2 yards per game), second in the nation in passing defense and lead college football with 26 interceptions. The Volunteers haven't played in the SEC championship since 2007 and haven't won the conference since 1998, when the program won a national championship. He was head coach in Knoxville from 2010-12. Sports CFB insider Pete Thamel, Pruitt has emerged as the front runner for the job.
Saban is the best coach in college football, and even he relies on the deepest pool of assistant coaches in the country.
The 43-year-old Pruitt has twice been a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to Division I-FBS' top assistant coach, and has spent many years under Nick Saban at Alabama.