Right around the time when Tennessee went through its debacle with offering Greg Schiano its head coaching job and then rescinding, a report indicated the position had been offered to Chip Kelly. According to the Vols, that never happened — despite what Kelly’s camp wants us to believe.
According to documents obtained by SEC Country through a public records request, former Tennessee athletic director John Currie told UT chancellor Beverly Davenport in a text message that no offer was made to Kelly. USA Today had reported on Nov. 22 that Kelly turned down somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million per year from Tennessee.
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Currie, in his Nov. 22 text message to Davenport, said the report that Tennessee had made an offer to Kelly “is a complete fabrication planted by his agent [Trace Armstrong] to incite competition w (sic) other schools & drive up his price and perceived desirability.”
Currie cautioned Davenport that “as we head into the weekend the rumors & crazy speculation etc. will pick up as people throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks.”
Of course, the Kelly rumors ended up being the least of Currie’s concerns. His coaching search was a complete embarrassment for Tennessee, highlighted by the hiring of Schiano basically being nixed by public outcry. Despite all that, you could make the argument that Curry got the last laugh.
Kelly, of course, ended up being hired by UCLA. It’s unclear if reports of Tennessee making an offer to him boosted his stock, but it probably didn’t hurt. If that truly was the work of Kelly’s agent, it’s not a terrible strategy.