The next coach of Tennessee football will have Peyton Manning championing for him.
On Tuesday, the two-time Super Bowl winner talked to reporters in a news conference after his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Naturally, talks turned to the coaching fiasco at his former alma mater.
Manning conceded that it’s been a difficult time, particularly with the firing of athletic director John Currie. But he said that he’s always going to be there to support the school, and just hope for the best that things will look up.
Currie was replaced by Philip Fulmer, who coached Manning when he was playing for the Vols. But the 41-year-old former Colts quarterback has distanced himself from the ongoing search for a new coach.
But how can Manning show his support for the school?
“Donor, supporter, fan, all of the above,” he said. “Coach Fulmer was my coach, but I’ve always supported every coach we’ve ever had — Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley, Butch Jones — and I’ll be supporting whoever our next coach is.
The coaching search blew over when Greg Schiano’s name cropped up as among the candidates. It immediately caused a fan backlash because of the Ohio State’s defensive coordinator’s close links with convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.
There were other names on the list like Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Mike Leach (Washington State) and Dave Doeren (North Carolina State) but it was only Schiano who committed to become the head coach of the Vols.
According to the report, Fulmer is back on the hunt for Tennessee’s next coach. Reportedly, the athletic director is interested in Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. But there are other candidates as well such as Chad Morris (Singapore Management University), Les Miles (former coach, LSU), Kevin Steele (Auburn defensive coordinator), and Brent Venables (Clemson defensive coordinator).