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Archive for March 2011

What Did Hamilton Do To Attract Fan’s Ire?

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(Courtesy: Purdue Cancer Center)

Cuonzo Martin has been named the newest head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball team. Plenty has already been written about this hire and I won’t need to add to it other than to say I am withholding judgment.   I want(ed) it to work out the best as I did for Bruce Pearl, Todd Raleigh, Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley.

That being said, the questions always go back to UT Athletic Director Mike Hamilton. He was named to replace Doug Dickey in 2003. He came into the job having a background in banking/finance and has done a fine job maintaining the balance sheet.  But this is the University of Tennessee. It isn’t all that difficult to get people to donate be it $5, $500 or $5,000. Say what you want about Tennessee fans. They are loyal to a fault.

To understand the ruckus going on at the University of Tennessee, you have to understand its politics and how things have been run around here. It is mostly a good ole boy and girl network.  Locals call it the “courthouse crowd“. Yes, I understand the handshaking and backslapping. But the way things have worked around here, it has been about getting on one’s knees and backstabbing.  It has affected everything from the schools, law enforcement to the University of Tennessee system as a whole. Despite all the talk about the best interests of the student/student-athlete/fans, etc…, it is not and has not been for a long time minus being happy to take your money. I’m sure this goes on in many places, but to affect the college athletics to the degree that it has is absurd.

Hamilton’s particular fault is he is a yes man. Namely to the big time donors to the athletic department.  He simply doesn’t know when to say no.  His keen lack of judgment in athletic matters be it hiring, relating to coaches and staff and being able to channel the passion that people have for UT sports leaves much to be desired.  The fact that the “sources” in the athletic department are able to run wild with coaching rumors while he is too busy having a half-day meal with a big-time donor goes to show where his priorities are.  He might want to spend a few hours attending a football practice just to let people know he in fact is still around although probably not for long.

He simply is not qualified to be the athletic director. He lacks the intuition, the passion and doesn’t relate to the feet on the ground that is so necessary to succeed in such a position.  He would be a better fit for some other position such as a liaison between the university and Nashville or a special assistant to the President whatever that means.  But his time as UT AD is due.  How about approaching Derek Dooley about the position? At least it is a thought.

Written by chrisforliberty

March 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Posted in General

Bruce Pearl era ends! What’s next?

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By now, half the world knows Bruce Pearl is out and whoever else is being tossed up as potential replacements.

UT men’s basketball had been on a roller coaster since the end of the Ray Mears era. Pearl brought three things to the table: a personality, an image, and consistent winning. I don’t expect us to hit a homerun with the next pick, but I can’t say that the bottom will drop out either. Then again, people were saying “Bruce who?” at this time six years ago too.  I have no idea what the next coach will bring. Likely UT will have to overpay to bring in one of the more recognizable names and why should they choose UT if their current or other future options are more attractive?

Possibly a coach from a Division II school or smaller school in Division I would do.  They may want to go for a coach who is less showy, but stresses fundamentals, strategy and can handle the pressure all the same. On top of that, a coach with a fire in his (or her) belly is a must. You can’t last much less succeed in sports or at anything in life without passion.

As for Mike Hamilton, yes he is on the hot seat again.  I am not calling for his head, but I don’t think he has measured up either. He does a good job in terms of capital improvement projects and fundraising. But he has trouble relating to the nuances of athletics and to coaches, players, training staff, etc… Ultimately, we don’t care if $1 billion was raised if they are bouncing between coaches and coaches are turning down the opportunities outright even with all the history and tradition. That speaks volumes. I wish everyone the best in their future endeavors. Maybe some day, I will become the UT Athletic Director 🙂

Written by chrisforliberty

March 24, 2011 at 12:10 am

Posted in General