Column: Why not Tennessee?

For a man that can reunite the heralded Volunteer fan base, someone to cherish Tennessee's traditions, but most importantly, someone who can return the program to national prominence.

It doesn't matter how or who has fractured this once-revered program. What is at stake now is finding the right person to fix it.

Tennessee director of athletics Dave Hart made it clear Sunday afternoon that he intends to hire the right person for the job.

Someone who has a history of success.

How much success is Hart looking for?

Does he want someone that can compete for an SEC Eastern Division title?

Does he want someone to dominate the entire SEC on a yearly basis?

Will he look for someone that will have Tennessee competing for BCS National Championships on a regular basis?

Call me crazy but the answer is right in front of him.

Hart said money wasn't going to be an issue in this very critical hire, that he would hold nothing back in making the right decision for the University of Tennessee.

So why doesn't he just pick up the phone and call a good friend of his, someone who he has worked with, someone that knows how to win on a regular basis, someone who knows how to build a program that had its share of coaches and issues.

You don't have to look very far for the solution to Tennessee's problems — actually 316 miles southwest of Knoxville.

Hart should make a call to the best college football coach in the country and in the SEC — Nick Saban.

Before you start laughing so hard you fall off your chair, let's look at a few similarities of the Alabama football program from 2000-07 and the current turmoil that Tennessee has been in since the departure of Phil Fulmer.

The Crimson Tide went through three coaches, if you count "Roll Tide" Mike Price before finding someone to lead their program to the national spotlight.

The powers that be at Alabama decided enough was enough and went out and hired a coach that had taken SEC West counterpart LSU to a BCS National Championship. They didn't care if he had coached at another SEC school (Saban didn't care either). Alabama boosters stepped up to plate and made it happen. Money was no issue.

Why not Saban at Tennessee?

Tennessee by far has one of the most attractive campuses in the southeast and definitely in the Southeastern Conference.

The Vols have a storied tradition.

They have some of the best athletic facilities in the country.

They have Neyland Stadium. When it's filled to capacity it's one of the toughest places in the country to play.

For those who don't think that Tennessee can afford to sway Saban away from Alabama, stop and think about the old saying it takes money to make money.

No one believed that Alabama would end up paying Saban the necessary money it would take to make him their head football coach.

When Saban was announced as head coach of Alabama it shocked the world.>p> This is what Tennessee needs to do. They need a shock-the-world type hire.

Here are a few reasons that Saban might consider taking the Tennessee job.

It's in one of the nicest towns and areas in the South. You have the Smokey Mountains only a few miles away. Your stadium is basically on the banks of the Tennessee River.

Instead of having to play in the SEC West he would get the opportunity to dominate the SEC East.

Tennessee has some of the best facilities in the conference and some of the best in the nation.

Talk about the Third Week in October becoming a little bigger, this would take the Tennessee/Alabama rivalry to indescribable levels.

To be the best you have to beat the best. In this case you have to go out and hire the best.

While some Tennessee fans may not like the thought of having Saban as their head coach, winning cures all ills.

I'm betting Vol fans would rather win on the third weekend in October than what they have encountered the last few years. >p> Many compared Derek Dooley to Nick Saban. How wrong they were. The key difference between the two is that Saban has won at every college job where he's been the head guy. Dooley may have acted like Saban in some ways, but he didn't measure up where it was most important.

Saban's official record at Alabama is 50-12, Dooley's career record as a head coach ended Saturday night at 32-41.

Vol fans may doubt that Tennessee can afford to hire Saban away from Alabama, my question to you and to Dave Hart, can you afford not to?

A Saban led Tennessee team would fill Neyland Stadium to capacity, it would elevate every aspect of the Volunteer program both in the state and on a national level.

It would definitely be a worthy investment.

Tennessee has some of the best fans and best supporters in the country.

Now we will see if Hart really mean't what he said when he told Tennessee media Sunday that money wouldn't be an issue with this hire.

Vol fans are wanting a home-run hire. Saban would be the grand slam hire that won the World Series in the bottom of the ninth.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories