Tennessee AD Bluntly Clarifies Insinuation That Former Clemson OC Turned Down Vols HC Job

Tony Elliott runs out onto the field before a game against Virginia and Old Dominion.

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Tennessee athletic director Danny White had an interesting remark following a recent press conference from UVA head coach Tony Elliott. The former Clemson offensive coordinator seemed to insinuate he turned down the Vols’ head coaching opening in 2021.

White caught wind of the comments and rebutted Elliott’s apparent claim. He says that Josh Heupel was the one and only offer made for the head coaching role.

While speaking on a season opening matchup between Virginia and Tennessee, Elliott was asked about the interview process with UT. At the time, he was calling plays for the Clemson Tigers, and had been a hot name on many coaching boards throughout the country.

Elliott said he was “close” to taking the job, but that “it wasn’t the right time.”

While he was complimentary of the program and head coach Josh Heupel, Elliott seemed to imply that it was his decision not to accept the role.

“Tennessee, in my opinion, is one of the blue bloods,” the UVA coach said. “One of the top tier programs in the country. When I evaluated, there were a lot of positive things about it. It just wasn’t the right time for me. When it came down to it, I prayed about it. I said, ‘I want the Lord to lead me in the direction that you want me to go.’

“It was close, but at the end of the day, when I looked at the totality of everything, it just wasn’t the right time and the right fit for me.”

Elliott would spend one more season at Clemson before accepting the head coaching gig at Virginia.

UT Athletic director Danny White quickly shut down any speculation that he offered the position to Elliott.

Tony Elliott never directly said that he was offered the Tennessee job, but he did leave some room for conjecture. White certainly clarified his stance by saying, “an interview doesn’t constitute an offer.”

This should spice things up a bit for that opening matchup between the Cavs and Vols.