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Hard to believe that no one has posted on this article after it has been up almost two days! Mears was the coach during my undergraduate days. Although his teams played a somewhat boring style, it was highly effective and Mears' showmanship made Stokely Fieldhouse THE place to be when the Vols were in town.
He was a very complex character, very tightly wound in some respects and a perfectionist in his approach to the game. Despite his showmanship, he was also rather tightly guarded as an individual. His players mostly think well of him even years later, but he was rather hard for outsiders to get to know.
Some younger fans today put down Mears for only taking a couple of teams to the NCAAs, with scant success, but they forget that under today's selection criteria nearly EVERY ONE of his teams would have made the Big Dance. Also, in those days, nobody had a chance to warm up on creampuffs in the early rounds of the tourney; for much of his career, just making it into the tournament in the first place put you in the Sweet Sixteen right off the bat. So belated congratulations to the man who created the name, if not the reality, of Big Orange Country. He should never be forgotten.
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