At a barely ripe 32 years old, Minnesota coach Richard Pitino has already manned two head coaching jobs in his first two years with that title.
Tennessee might be hoping the Gophers coach is tempted to keep climbing the rungs.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported on Wednesday afternoon that Pitino is on Tennessee's "short list" for replacing Cuonzo Martin, who bolted for the University of California on Tuesday.
Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague said on the Dan Barreiro show on KFAN that Pitino is not interested in the job.
Pitino could not be reached for comment on whether Tennessee has reached out.
Earlier in the day, an article written by USA Today's Nicole Auerbach listed Pitino as a name Volunteers AD Dave Hart could consider in Tennessee's scramble after Martin abruptly left.
Pitino just completed the first of six years laid out in his contract by directing Minnesota to an 8-10 record in the Big Ten and an NIT championship. He is currently making $1.2 million and has a $1.5 million buyout.
At face value, Tennessee doesn't seem like a logical move for Pitino, who was at Florida International for one year before taking the job at Minnesota. The Big Ten far outweighs the SEC in terms of competition and national respect. The public drama surrounding Martin's three-year tenure in Knoxville certainly doesn't make the job -- which will see its third head coach in four years -- any more attractive.
But the Volunteers, who had fallen on hard times before advancing to the Sweet Sixteen this season, also have plenty to offer.
To start, there is the recent history of winning despite some recent ups and downs. This year's tournament run certainly put Tennessee back in the national spotlight. But the Volunteers are no strangers to the glare. It was the fifth time the program had advanced at least that far since 2000. What's more, the facilities in Knoxville are quite the change of pace from the Dinkytown digs. The nearly 22,000-seat Thompson-Boling arena is one of the more lavish examples in college basketball. The Volunteers also have a basketball practice facility -- complete with a weight room, training room and recruiting lounges -- that is just a few years old. Those assets, along with a tamer schedule, could conceivably make building a consistent competitor easier and more expedient.
And perhaps no one in the Midwest knows the value of Tennessee recruiting better than Minnesota, which boasted an all-Tennessee backcourt last season in Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins (both from the Memphis area) and DeAndre Mathieu, who hails from Volunteer country in Knoxville.
The well of talent that brought Tennessee to its most recent success, however, will be substantially dried up next year. Junior Jarnell Stokes has already declared for the NBA draft. The Volunteers lose seniors Jeronne Maymon and Jordan McRae. And Martin's recently acquired 7-1 center, Kingsley Okoroh, who had committed just one day earlier, will instead follow his coach to Cal.
Goodman also mentioned Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall in connection with the Tennessee job. Auerbach included Tyndall, as well as VCU coach Shaka Smart, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, former UCLA coach Ben Howland, Xavier coach Chris Mack, Colorado coach Tad Boyle, Dayton coach Archie Miller, Belmont coach Rick Byrd, Louisiana Tech coach Michael White and Duke assistant Jeff Capel.