Former NFL coach Jon Gruden has told Tennessee he is not interested in pursuing the Vols' vacant head coaching job, a source close to the UT search told the News Sentinel this morning.
The source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said a report today in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that Gruden had been offered the job was not accurate.
Gruden, who won a Super Bowl 10 years ago as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is in his fourth season as a commentator for Monday Night Football, where he is one of ESPN's star personalities.
The source said Tennessee reached out to Gruden late last week, but after discussing matters with his family, Gruden declined to pursue the job. The source said no financial figures were discussed and no contract was offered.
Earlier this week, a Memphis television station reported that Gruden was being offered a stake in the Cleveland Browns NFL franchise as part of a deal to coach at Tennessee. The Browns and Gruden strongly denied the report, although Gruden stopped short of promising to return to ESPN in 2013.
Most observers expected Gruden to eventually return to the pro ranks, where there could be several attractive job opportunities after this season.
Gruden has little college coaching experience, although he was a graduate assistant at
UT in 1986. His wife Cindy is a former Vol cheerleader.
Gruden's agent, Bob LaMonte, has not returned calls and texts from the News Sentinel.
Hart was expected to leave Sunday or Monday for New York City to interview candidates at the National Football Foundation's annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer is being inducted Tuesday.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.