When Tennessee hired Lane Kiffin for their coach 14 months ago Air Force's Troy Calhoun was the second choice to take over the Vols. At the time Calhoun was just finishing up his second year at Air Force and had them in their second bowl win in as many years. The Academy figured they would be safe from losing their coach to either the NFL or the college ranks for a while, but now his name has surfaced again to head to Rocky Top with Kiffin heading back to USC.
For those who are not aware Troy Calhoun has a more extensive coaching resume then the departing Lane Kiffin with a 25-14 record at Air Force to go along with three bowl appearances in three years. Besides being a solid coach at Air Force, Troy Calhoun has coached at Ohio University and Wake Forest from 1997-2002 before shooting up the NFL ranks and peaking at the Houston Texans offensive coordinator prior to heading to Air Force.
Now, Troy Calhoun's name is being mentioned as a possible replacement for Lane Kiffin. The coaching hire is expected to wrap up this week in hopes to retain any recruits that are wavering with the current coaching uncertainty. Tennessee is going to see if they can recover from Ed Oregon telling recruits to not enroll -- and switch their commitment to USC -- while sitting at his Knoxville desk.
To date their has been no knowledge or an interview between Tennessee and Troy Calhoun, however at tonight's Air Force basketball game The Gazette reporter David Ramsey briefly spoke to the coach who offered up this quote:
Calhoun did not end the mystery. He declined to answer specific questions about a possible move to the Volunteers. But he did say this, with feeling:
"I’m the coach at the, and that’s it," he said.
I repeated his words to him, and asked if I could quote him.
"You bet!" he answered. "You bet!"
A move from a service Academy may seem a bit out of left field and could be a hard sell to Vol fans. However, with the success that former Navy coach Paul Johnson is now having at Georgia Tech could provide a boost to Troy Calhoun's profile. Also, the offense he will bring most likely will not be the run option which is ran at Air Force. The reason the option is used at the Academy is because Calhoun kept portions of the Fisher DeBerry era and uses the option to counter the limitations that Air Force has.
The offense would be similar to a pro style offense that Tennessee is used to which would be what Calhoun ran as his only year as the Houston Texans offensive coordinator. So, Vol fans would not have to worry about taking a year or two of recruiting classes to get the right players for the job.
Other candidates for the job were said to be Will Muschamp but he has all ready turned down an offer, and possibly former head coach Phillip Fulmer -- who was fired just last year. Besides those names athletic director Mike Hamilton is being hush-hush on who they are looking for and even flying commercial instead of a private jet to stay one step ahead of message boarders. However, look for most of the names that came up last year will be revisited with Gary Patterson of TCU, Chris Petersen of Boise State, and Tim Brewster of Minnesota.