Adams: 'Patience' is a dirty word in SEC

Georgia's Mark Richt is now the dean of SEC coaches. Imagine that.

It doesn't seem as though he has been there that long, does it?

He hasn't.

The dean isn't even in double figures, having just completed his eighth season as the Bulldogs' coach. No other SEC football coach has been at the same school that long.

Welcome to the what-have-you-done-for-us-lately era of SEC football, where "patience" has become a dirty word.

This didn't happen overnight. SEC football didn't make it out of the 20th century before coaches began editing "five-year rebuilding plan" out of their acceptance speeches.

Instead, they talk about "changing the culture." And they don't dare mention a time frame.

I knew coach Lou Holtz was finished at South Carolina when he talked about "changing the culture" - before his fifth season. It was obvious by then that more than the culture needed to be changed.

It won't be long before SEC coaches will be advised to change the culture between semesters. If they start talking about "years," some booster with deep pockets will start talking about "buyout."

Three SEC coaches - Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee, Tommy Tuberville at Auburn and Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State - just got bought out. Such yearly attrition could become commonplace in a league as competitive as this one.

Sure, it's costly making a change. But it can be even more costly if you don't make a change.

And it's not as though the SEC is having trouble making its mortgage payment.

The country might be in a recession. The SEC isn't. Its long-term billion-dollar deals with television networks will make it the richest football league outside the NFL. Its members will share the wealth, and fire and hire accordingly.

When you're making that kind of money, what's the big deal about spending a few million to get rid of one coach and a few more million to hire another one?

UT is paying Fulmer $6 million to leave. Auburn will pay Tuberville a little more than $5 million.

Sudden success stories also will contribute to a higher turnover rate among SEC coaches.

LSU suffered through losing seasons in 1998 and 1999. Enter Nick Saban.

Saban won seven games in his first season, won the SEC championship in his second year and won the national title in his fourth year. How's that for changing the culture?

After Florida lost five games in each of Ron Zook's three seasons (2002-04), it had seen enough. Out with Zook, in with Urban Meyer.

Meyer went 9-3 in his first season, won the national title in his second and is one game away from winning another national championship in his fourth season. Consider the Gators de-Zooked.

Now, Saban is at it again.

Former Alabama coach Mike Shula got a healthy raise and a contract extension after his team went 10-2 in 2005. A year later, after a 6-6 record, he got a pink slip.

Why keep Shula when you can get Saban?

Two years later, Saban has the Tide 12-1 and on its way to the Sugar Bowl. His $4 million a year deal that was once deemed "outrageous" is now termed "a bargain."

Alabama, like Florida, has been rewarded for its lack of patience. And every school in the conference has been rewarded by those historic television packages.

The combination could mark the end of coaching deans with double-digit years in tenure - unless, of course, Meyer or Saban decides to stick around.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 40

ozarkvol writes:

What about Houston Nutt? He has been a head coach in the SEC since 1998. He has just changed teams. But he should be considered the dean of SEC coaches.

blitzshoot writes:

So is "losing."

cobbwebb writes:

so is alabama!

yeavols#228407 writes:

This "dean of the SEC coaches" is just a lot of hooey..doeosn't mean jack..who came up with that anyway? A lot of factors goes into a winning season..and it goes from year to year...not tenure to tenure

NoogaVol55 writes:

Nice article I guess....I would still rather someone of KNS call Kiffin and get his update on recruiting...that would be something we could talk about.

volroadwarrior writes:

I am still waiting on a story about our 2 new recruits.

murrayvol writes:

in response to ozarkvol:

What about Houston Nutt? He has been a head coach in the SEC since 1998. He has just changed teams. But he should be considered the dean of SEC coaches.

Exactly. Unless something in the fine print stipulates tenure at the same school.

After all there was no "break in service" in his move from Fiatville to Oxford.

FlaVol2 writes:

Yeah, what about the recruits? Who's interested in Tennessee?

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

I'll echo the sentiments regarding recruiting. Try writing about something we give a s--- about.

AKVOL writes:

in response to FlaVol2:

Yeah, what about the recruits? Who's interested in Tennessee?

Could have been to visit DJ Hunter and Chris Freeman.

DJ Hunter, 3-Star CB, Middletown OH, Soft-verbal

Chris Freeman, 3-Star OT, 6-9, 348. Trotwood, OH
Also being recruited by Fl, MI, WV and WI. Med interest according to Scout.com.

Both towns are near Dayton which is where the UT plane was today before heading to Memphis.

VolPride_13 writes:

The term "dean" is how long you have been at ONE school in the SEC, So Nutt would not be the dean because it is his first season at Ole Miss!!
It's pointless anyway!!

VolinCalif writes:

in response to volroadwarrior:

I am still waiting on a story about our 2 new recruits.

Me too. I've scaned every post sense you ask that ?, nothing. I only know about one new recruit. May Tj knows something, or for that mater Gatorzz

BillsBrother writes:

in response to cobbwebb:

so is alabama!

bama is a four letter word!

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

Wow! what a hot news article JA. What about something revelent to UT and now? Of course Nutt is the Dean of SEC coaching, which means nothing. Just like your the Dean of KNS non revelent sports articles.

I'm the Dean of the Gainesville Fl Volunteer association. Which means I still pay the same as you for a Bud Light.

Get Real

yeavols#228407 writes:

LOL GainesvilleVol...

leedsvol2007 writes:

Stretching for something to write and somehow to needle us about Saban and Meyer.

Its funny how sympathetic everyone has been toward Tommy Tuberville and Jimmy Hyams has thought that Tuberville would have been a great choice for the Vols.

If you compare Fulmer and Tuberville you will find they had virtually identical overall records during Tuberville's tenure at Auburn. Tuberville was 85-40 at Auburn 1999 through 2008. Fulmer was 85-41.

Food for thought.

VolinCalif writes:

Surfed long enough tonight. Nothing new about the Vols recruits and I'm sure tired of hearing aboout the Fulmer buy out. Come KNS let the died dog go. Call lane and get some reports good or bad we'd like to hear what is going on. Ps It would also sell papers.

asleep#212036 writes:

Not that it really matters but the point of discussing coaching tenure is to acknowledge someone's ability to hang in at a single institution, otherwise it means nothing. If a coach changed schools every year for 12 years, it would hardly mean anything to call him the "dean" of SEC coaches. Longevity at a single school is multi-factorial, including wins/losses, academics, boosters' moods, even accomplishments of your rivals. Staying 17 years, like Phil did, is actually quite amazing in this day and age. Therefore, Nutt is not the dean - he quit/was forced out at Arkansas and landed in Oxford. No cudos for the continuation move - this is not the NBA. Richt is the man - for now. Go Vols!!!

AKVOL writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

Stretching for something to write and somehow to needle us about Saban and Meyer.

Its funny how sympathetic everyone has been toward Tommy Tuberville and Jimmy Hyams has thought that Tuberville would have been a great choice for the Vols.

If you compare Fulmer and Tuberville you will find they had virtually identical overall records during Tuberville's tenure at Auburn. Tuberville was 85-40 at Auburn 1999 through 2008. Fulmer was 85-41.

Food for thought.

Great post! But, how do their respective records compare the last 5 years and versus their biggest rivals?

-- Just wondering

BuckFama writes:

If you are looking for breaking UT sports news, you should look at the Tennessean or listen to Jimmy Hyams' show at 3 PM on WNML. The KNS is the Baskin-Robbins of the newspaper world ... it is constantly being scooped.

Florida has maintained its prominence in the past few years, not as a product of its impatience, but as a result of its being, by far, the most fertile recruiting base in the southeastern US. Spurrier awakened this sleeping giant, and Meyer has benefitted by being there.

Adams seems to forget that Alabama's impatience had them flail helplessly through several "Capstone Cops" (Dubose, et al) until hitting it well with Saban.

These two schools and their success with their current skippers are the exception rather than the rule in the SEC. Most of the other schools that have made their way onto the coaching merry-go-round by being impatient have found themselves saying hello and goodbye to unsuccessful (and some relatively successful like Cutcliffe at Ole Miss) coaches at a far too high frequency.

Sometimes it is hard to understand why newspaper publishers are more patient with their sports editors than athletics directors are with their football coaches.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to AKVOL:

Great post! But, how do their respective records compare the last 5 years and versus their biggest rivals?

-- Just wondering

Completely different paths. Fulmer, until this year, almost always beat the bad teams but rarely won the big game against a ranked rival, especially the past 5 years. Tuberville's teams were routinely winning big games against Florida, LSU, and Bama but would lose to Miss. St., Arkansas, and other such "lesser" foes. Because of that, neither of them made it to SEC CG's as often as they should have. And both are now unemployed.

AKVOL writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

Completely different paths. Fulmer, until this year, almost always beat the bad teams but rarely won the big game against a ranked rival, especially the past 5 years. Tuberville's teams were routinely winning big games against Florida, LSU, and Bama but would lose to Miss. St., Arkansas, and other such "lesser" foes. Because of that, neither of them made it to SEC CG's as often as they should have. And both are now unemployed.

One could coach-em-up for the games that mattered and the other couldn't. Either way, both are out of jobs.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to AKVOL:

One could coach-em-up for the games that mattered and the other couldn't. Either way, both are out of jobs.

Yeah, Fulmer's teams were much more consistent regardless of the opponent but unable to rise to the occasion, especially recently. Tuberville's teams were a sine curve, from the top of one wave to the bottom of another, depending on the opponent. Apparently neither of those systems was deemed acceptable for the future of UT or Auburn. We'll see if either or both schools have any buyer's remorse in the future. Go Vols!!!

ncvol writes:

in response to ozarkvol:

What about Houston Nutt? He has been a head coach in the SEC since 1998. He has just changed teams. But he should be considered the dean of SEC coaches.

I agree with this. He has been in SEC the longest.
Go Vols!

ncvol writes:

Well, I guess I should have been reading the rest of the posts. They explained that in order to become the dean you have to be at the same school. Oops! Go Vols!

gtown_vol writes:

you mean like the 'patience' one would have to display in waiting for John Adams to leave town?

scvol12 writes:

Adams apparently just likes to stir things up. After writing numerous columns about the shortcomings of Fulmer, he now says there is no patience in the SEC after Fulmer is fired. Adams are you just talking out of both sides of your mouth? Perhaps it is the constant negativity from folks like you that drive patience out of the SEC.

CrankE writes:

"The combination could mark the end of coaching deans with double-digit years in tenure - unless, of course, Meyer or Saban decides to stick around."

So...I guess only those two will ever succeed long term in the SEC and no one else will ever be able to challenge them? He starts off with an interesting observation, then shows his true colors in Saban-Meyer worship.

Sure wish KNS would get impatient with their sports editors.

Volunatic writes:

This isn't a terribly recent development. At the beginning of the 1994 season, Ray Goff was the "dean of SEC Coaches" after only FIVE seasons with Georgia.

Volunatic writes:

in response to AKVOL:

One could coach-em-up for the games that mattered and the other couldn't. Either way, both are out of jobs.

If you don't beat the lesser foes, the other games don't matter, either.

Moaninglikeheck writes:

in response to ncvol:

I agree with this. He has been in SEC the longest.
Go Vols!

No he hasn't. Think about it.

Colliervol writes:

Reminds me of a Far Side cartoon I saw one time. Two buzzards sitting in a tree. One looks at the other and says, "To heck with patience, I'm going to kill something."

Am I comparing fans to buzzards? In many cases, yes. In our case, I don't think so. It strikes me that UT was patient for an awfully long time before making the change.

Ralph_Crampton writes:

Volunteer football has turned into a two-headed monster that only can be controlled by Vol football victories. This monster will devour anyone or anything that gets in its way. It seems that other SEC teams have monsters' also, it appears. This football monster can only be controlled by more and more football wins. Look for the trail of fired SEC coaches to continue.

ncvol writes:

in response to scvol12:

Adams apparently just likes to stir things up. After writing numerous columns about the shortcomings of Fulmer, he now says there is no patience in the SEC after Fulmer is fired. Adams are you just talking out of both sides of your mouth? Perhaps it is the constant negativity from folks like you that drive patience out of the SEC.

I truly agree to this post.
Go Vols!

ncvol writes:

in response to Moaninglikeheck:

No he hasn't. Think about it.

I know and I thought I corrected that statement in the post below it. Sorry, for the mistake. Go Vols!

Colliervol writes:

in response to BuckFama:

If you are looking for breaking UT sports news, you should look at the Tennessean or listen to Jimmy Hyams' show at 3 PM on WNML. The KNS is the Baskin-Robbins of the newspaper world ... it is constantly being scooped.

Florida has maintained its prominence in the past few years, not as a product of its impatience, but as a result of its being, by far, the most fertile recruiting base in the southeastern US. Spurrier awakened this sleeping giant, and Meyer has benefitted by being there.

Adams seems to forget that Alabama's impatience had them flail helplessly through several "Capstone Cops" (Dubose, et al) until hitting it well with Saban.

These two schools and their success with their current skippers are the exception rather than the rule in the SEC. Most of the other schools that have made their way onto the coaching merry-go-round by being impatient have found themselves saying hello and goodbye to unsuccessful (and some relatively successful like Cutcliffe at Ole Miss) coaches at a far too high frequency.

Sometimes it is hard to understand why newspaper publishers are more patient with their sports editors than athletics directors are with their football coaches.

Welcome back Buck. Haven't seen you in awhile on here.

Good point about Bama. And they got lucky with Saban. As I recall, they offered the job to Rich Rodriguez before Nick fell in their lap.

Colliervol writes:

in response to RobtheVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Trying to set a record for most posting names there naffy? That would be the only thing you've accomplished since you've been on here.

leedsvol2007 writes:

in response to AKVOL:

Great post! But, how do their respective records compare the last 5 years and versus their biggest rivals?

-- Just wondering

I went back and looked at their SEC records from 2003 through this year. Tuberville was 33-15 with one SEC championship during his undefeated untied season in 2004.

Fulmer was 30-18 with two championship game appearances during the same period.

Tuberville had more success against Florida but was not as good against Georgia. Of course he had 6 straight wins against Alabama.

But overall the two are relatively equal. And Auburn's non-conference schedule during the same period was notably weak.

So looking at them overall their records are very similar.

He did win the last 4 head to head's but 2 of the 3 regular season wins were at Auburn and the other was in the championship game in 2004. Also two of the losses were in 2004 against the squad that had Ronnie Brown, Jason Campbell, and Cadillac Williams on what may have been Auburn's best team ever.

utdoctor69 writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey General_Watermelon…

Do you have a life outside of posting on www.govolsxtra.com?

I am wondering if you still live at home with mommy? Does mommy wash your clothes and prepare your daily lunches? Does mommy tell you that you are the “most handsome boy in the neighborhood”?

I wonder, because looking at your profile, I see that since February 12, 2008, you have made 2,858 posts. Wow! Get a life dude.

You are averaging over 286 posts per month. Due to this, I suppose that there is no woman in your pathetic, worthless life, huh? Moreover, do you even have a job? If you do, you are obviously stealing from your employer, because it appears that you do nothing else daily other than post dim-witted rants on this website.

My problem with you is not the fact that you obviously do not have a life, a job, or a woman, and you’re clearly a mommy’s boy. My problem with you is that you are a coward. Why you ask? Because you hide behind your keyboard, under a false username, and post stupid, uneducated rants that serves no purpose. Any coward can create a fake email address, come up with a retarded username like “General_Watermelon” and hide behind their keyboard and sling insults at people.

This is one of the problems with these free websites. Any coward can spend their life ranting and posting insults. People like yourself do this because you are not held accountable. If there were mechanisms in place that held users accountable, cowards such as your self would not be doing as you do. For example, on www.rivals.com, users must use a credit or debit card to pay their monthly subscription, and this gives the moderators a look into what the users’ real name and real address is. When the user must put up their credit card as opposed to creating a fake email address and user name, this creates accountability. This is why cowards such as you use this website as opposed to the subscription sites.

So, “General_Watermeleon”, whoever you really are: I know that you will continue to spend your life hiding behind your keyboard on free message boards. I also know what a coward such as you will never do: You will never MAN UP, and tell your REAL NAME and your REAL ADDRESS. Because if you do, you just might be held accountable for your words, and as we all know, cowards hide, just as your doing.

Get a life coward!

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

in response to NoogaVol55:

Nice article I guess....I would still rather someone of KNS call Kiffin and get his update on recruiting...that would be something we could talk about.

Adam's doesn't write an article where he can't catch a fish. Don't you see many of these flopping around on these posts! In other words why don't we take a couple of weeks off, and just go fishing! (article removed due to insesitivity to animals, and John's love of nature). Did yo u hear where Colon P. loves Rush?

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