The University of Tennessee fired head football coach Jeremy Pruitt Monday, with cause. This means the university does not have to pay Pruitt's $12.6 million dollar buy out.
Pruitt finished with a record of 16 and 19 on Rocky Top.
Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer is also stepping down. The NCAA violations are still under investigation, and UT Chancellor Donde Plowman says she hopes it comes to a close soon.
For now, defensive coach Kevin Steele will serve as interim head coach. Steele has been on Tennessee's coaching staff for less than a week.
This makes for an interesting coaching search as the university has to first hire an athletic director, and then a head football coach.
Now begins the process of who could become the next head football coach at the University of Tennessee. The WBIR Sports team put together a list of potential coaching candidates.
1. Hugh Freeze, Liberty
Freeze is the proven front runner among Vol fans and that has been very apparent in the last two coaching searches. Freeze led Liberty to a 10-1 record last season and top 25 recognition. He, most importantly, has SEC head coaching experience at Ole Miss.
2. Billy Napier, Louisiana
Napier spent four seasons at Alabama under Nick Saban, so he has plenty of experience in the SEC. He is also a Tennessee native. Napier led the Rajun Cajuns to a 10-1 record this season.
3. Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina
Chadwell is also a Tennessee native, as he went to high school at Anderson County. He led Coastal Carolina to an 11-1 record and top 10 appearance.
4. Gus Malzahn, former Auburn head coach
Malzahn led Auburn to a winning-record program. He's a veteran SEC coach that has defeated Saban three times. Jeremy Pruitt went 0-3 against the Big 3 in the SEC - Alabama, Florida, Georgia. A coach with SEC-winning experience is huge.
5. Tom Herman, former Texas head coach
Tennessee has a good track record with former Texas head coaches... and the stability Tom Herman brings is necessary for this program right now. Herman has a .71 winning percentage as a head coach and has never lost a bowl game.