Tennessee coaching search: Vols reeling as each new target turns them down

Update III: Former Tennessee coach and current Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin told Bob Ley of ESPN on Thursday that his agent sent Tennessee athletics director John Currie several names -- including Kiffin's -- when former coach Butch Jones was fired in mid-November but that Currie was not interested in Kiffin returning to Rocky Top.

According to multiple reports, NC State coach Dave Doeren has turned town the overtures of Tennessee to remain at NC State. Doeren is 33-30 in five seasons with the Wolfpack, led them to a 6-1 start and a ranking as high as No. 14 before a late-season skid.

Update II: Multiple reports early Thursday morning have NC State coach Dave Doeren considering both a "potential deal" with Tennessee and an increased offer from NC State that would leave him with a five-year contract. Joe Giglio of The News & Observer reports that the length of an improved contract with the Wolfpack was "a major sticking point" with Doeren, and a five-year offer was what he was hoping to obtain. A decision is expected to come Thursday.

Update I: On Tuesday, it was a saga between Tennessee and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. On Wednesday, it was Tennessee and Purdue coach Jeff Brohm. An exhausting day of conflicting reports have basically ended with no deal between Brohm and Tennessee. On to the next one, which appears to be NC State coach Dave Doeren.

Original story

Tennessee athletic director John Currie needed to nail this coaching hire in the worst way possible after botching the Greg Schiano debacle from over the weekend. Currie may have done just that if he lands the following coach, possibly saving his job in the process.

According to multiple reports, Tennessee is shifting its focus to Purdue coach Jeff Brohm to fill its coaching vacancy. However, it should be noted that nothing is official. Yahoo's Pat Forde writes "Brohm had been happy during a successful first year at Purdue and would be reluctant to leave after one season" and CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd confirms that nothing is imminent between the two parties. 

For what it's worth, a Purdue spokesperson has said there has been no contact between Brohm and Tennessee.

Still, it's no surprise that Brohm's name has come up in the coaching carousel. Brohm's debut with the Boilermakers was an overachieving 6-6 effort in which he was known for drawing up fun, creative offensive plays. But it was the defense that actually made the most strides. After finishing last in the Big Ten in points per game allowed in 2016, the Boilermakers finished fourth in the same category at 19.3 points per game -- nearly a full three-touchdown improvement. Prior to that, he went 30-10 in three seasons as the coach of Western Kentucky

Per Football Scoop, Brohm's buyout would be $5.9 million today if he were to take another job, but goes down rather significantly in the coming weeks. 

The news comes one day after Tennessee reportedly interviewed Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. However, Gundy announced on Twitter Tuesday evening that he would remain with the Cowboys. In the wake of Gundy turning down the job, Tennessee reportedly turned its attention to Brohm, Morris and NC State's Dave Doeren. 

On Sunday, Tennessee came close to hiring Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, but backed out after receiving intense backlash. The sheer number of misfires and rejections in the weeks-long search to replace Butch Jones has put Currie front and center of a lot of criticism, both from the fan base and nationally.  

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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