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Report: Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano finalizing deal as Tennessee head coach

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano fist bumps redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Joshua Alabi at the first practice of fall camp on July 27. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor

Ohio State will be searching for a new defensive coordinator after this season.

Tennessee is working to finalize a deal to make the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator and safeties coach Greg Schiano its new head coach, USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken reported Sunday. However, the deal reportedly fell apart later Sunday night. 

Schiano was hired as co-defensive coordinator in 2016. Former co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell left Ohio State to take the job as Cincinnati head coach after last season and Schiano was named sole defensive coordinator. He also holds the title of associate head coach.

Per Schiano’s contract with Ohio State, Ohio State has the option to require Schiano to coach the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 2. But, he is not obligated to coach any game past Dec. 15.

Prior to being hired by Ohio State, Schiano was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the 2012-13 season to 2013-14 season and led Rutgers from 2001 to 2012.

The Buccaneers went 7-9 during his first season as head coach, then fell to 4-12 during his second season. Rutgers went 68-67 while Schiano was coach and won five of the six bowl games the Scarlet Knights made during his tenure.

The Volunteers’ job opening arose when Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12. Former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has filled in as the interim head coach for the Volunteers’ last two games. They finished the season 4-8, their worst record in school history.

Under Schiano, Ohio State allowed less than 20 points per game the past two seasons, including a third-ranked scoring defense in 2016. Tennessee has averaged more than 31 points allowed per game the past two seasons.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated at 8:55 p.m. Sunday to reflect the news that the deal between Tennessee and Schiano fell apart amid backlash

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