Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong

The Tennessee Volunteers thought they had their man yesterday as reports emerged that Charlie Strong was the front-runner for the vacancy that was created after Tennessee fired Derek Dooley.

Unfortunately for the Vols, they didn’t factor in that Louisville AD Tom Jurich was ready to make Strong the highest paid coach in FBS.

Jurich told CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel that Strong is in the top 10 of highest paid coaches in the country.

“It is,” Jurich said. “And we’ll make him No. 1 if we have to.”

Jurich repeated himself in Doyel’s article, stating “I said we’ll make him [number] one if we have to”.

While it’s doubtful that Louisville will actually follow through with making Strong the highest paid coach in the country, which is something Tennessee could actually do, the Cardinals do seem ready to pay Strong enough to keep him around.

SI.com’s Pete Thamel states that a source told him “It was Charlie’s desire to end this constant speculation and re-commit long-term to Louisville”.

With Strong off the table for the Volunteers and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy also turning the school down, Tennessee is still without a candidate.

The latest rumors say that North Carolina’s Larry Fedora would be the next target, but at this point, we could probably expect Gruden, Butch Davis, and Bobby Petrino to all split duties in Knoxville with Bruce Pearl.

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