ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia Bulldogs defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has interviewed for the head coaching position for the Tennessee Volunteers, according to Volquest.com
Tucker interviewed with new Tennessee Athletic Director Phil Fulmer, who was hired last week after the school fired John Currie following a tumultuous week of protests from fans and rejections from several coaches. The interview reportedly took place on Sunday.
Tucker is in charge of Georgia's defense, which ranks fourth in the country in total defense. The Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship on Saturday and will play in the Rose Bowl in a national semifinal game.
When asked about the interview on Monday, Smart said it was Tucker's business and he didn't want to discuss it.
"I think Mel’s done a tremendous job for us, he’ll continue to do a tremendous job," Smart said.
Tucker was hired by head coach Kirby Smart in 2016. He worked with Smart at Alabama for a year prior to that. He has never been a head coach, but he was the interim head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. He was 2-3.
Smart was a defensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, and then he went on to be the head coach at Georgia. Smart said he could only hope his own coaches flourish.
"I am a big believer in your success gives opportunities to others. That’s really what that profession’s about. Mel’s been a really good coach at a lot of places, and I think Mel’s going to make a great head coach one day. Whether it’s this year or next year or some other time. He’s a tremendous asset to our program," Smart said.
Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith said Tucker has a lot to do with his success.
"I’ve grown a lot under coach Mel Tucker. I think he’s an awesome coach, even better person. Just his defensive style, the way he calls plays and the way he cares about his players, that speaks volumes. I think he’s a great guy and I love him," Smith said. "I’m sure if that’s what he wanted to do one day, he’ll be a darn good head coach."
The Volunteers fired Butch Jones during the season. There were reports they would hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, but the deal fell through after fans protested the potential hiring.