Tennessee needs a new football coach and such a prolific program will be expected to make a home-run hire.
Numerous names come to mind as Butch Jones’ potential successor, especially considering the reach the Volunteers can have with such substantial resources. Not surprisingly, NFL analyst Jon Gruden and UCF coach Scott Frost are among names linked to Tennessee as potential replacements.
Add Iowa State coach Matt Campbell’s name to that list, as detailed by SB Nation.
“The former Toledo coach is in his second year in Ames,” SB Nation’s Richard Johnson wrote. “This year, he beat TCU and Oklahoma and briefly reached Iowa State’s highest ranking AP poll since 2002. He has a big buyout at ISU and has never coached anywhere in the South.”
As noted, the wins over then-No. 3 Oklahoma and then-No. 4 TCU are what’s lifted Iowa State to heights unfamiliar in recent years. That success also put Campbell’s name on many coaching big boards. But while leading to Cyclones to their first ranking since 2005 and earning a bowl bid after winning just three games in 2016 has Campbell as a name to know, luring him away from Ames won’t come cheap.
As previously detailed by Football Scoop, anyone coming after Campbell better be prepared to break the bank, as his current contract through 2021 would require a $9.4 million buyout.
“Campbell is under contract through the 2021 season with a salary of $2.1 million in 2017 that raises $100,000 a year, meaning Campbell is in line to earn $2.2 million in 2018, $2.3 million in 2019, $2.4 million in 2020 and $2.5 million in 2021.”
The real question is, if Campbell is the man Tennessee wants — and SB Nation ranks the opening as the second-best job available — will the university be willing to reach deep into its pockets? Also, would Campbell be willing to leave what he’s just beginning to build?