When my phone rang during a Tennessee spring practice, I was standing behind a linemen's drill at Haslam Field. I was closer than I thought to the action.
After an exchange of hellos, my wife paused when she heard the background noise.
"Is that him?" she asked. "Is that Coach O?"
Ed Orgeron's reputation preceded him at UT. Whether he's issuing commands to a defensive lineman or recommending the purchase of a vehicle ("Tell 'em about it, Jo Jo"), he has one of the most distinctive voices in college football - so distinctive, in fact, that it's recognizable 15 yards away from a cellphone.
The Hummer commercial, and the Orgeron-inspired song, "Colonel Reb Is Cryin,' " by Memphis talk-show host Chris Vernon made Orgeron a bigger hit on YouTube than he was at Ole Miss.
Yet more than a year after Orgeron was fired as Ole Miss' head coach, his reputation could use a rewrite. That has nothing to do with the commercial, the song or his one season as a defensive line coach with the New Orleans Saints. It has everything to do with the aftermath to his three seasons Ole Miss.
Orgeron won 10 games and lost 25 in his three seasons at Ole Miss. That will get you fired just about anywhere in the SEC. And if that's your first head-coaching job, as it was for Orgeron, it likely could be your last.
But a year later, you can't judge him solely on how much he won or lost at Ole Miss. You also have to judge him by what he left behind.
And that judgment makes you wonder if Orgeron could land another head-coaching job, just as Ron Zook did after being fired following three consecutive five-loss seasons at Florida.
Zook's recruiting helped his successor, Urban Meyer, win a national championship two seasons after Zook was fired. Orgeron's recruiting helped his successor, Houston Nutt, go 9-4 a year after Orgeron was fired.
His recruiting will continue to pay off for Nutt and the Rebels this season. This preseason, Ole Miss will be a popular top-10 pick, thanks, in part, to Orgeron's recruiting.
Zook's post-Florida success also could enhance Orgeron's chances of another head-coaching opportunity. Hired as Illinois' head coach after the 2004 season, Zook led the Fighting Illini to the Rose Bowl three years later.
Orgeron's reputation as a star recruiter goes back to his days as an assistant coach at Miami and was bolstered by the players he helped sign under Pete Carroll at Southern California. Of course, you could argue: Who couldn't recruit to Miami and USC?
But Ole Miss?
Four of Orgeron's Ole Miss recruits made first- or second-team All-SEC last season. Texas transfer Jevan Snead, another Orgeron recruit, could be the second-best quarterback in the conference this season. UT will see for itself when it faces the Rebels on Nov. 14 in Oxford.
Lane Kiffin observed Orgeron's recruiting first hand when they worked together on Carroll's staff. Hiring Orgeron as his recruiting coordinator quickly became a priority for Kiffin when he accepted the head-coaching job at UT. Kiffin, Orgeron and the rest of a staff full of accomplished recruiters helped the Vols land the eighth-rated recruiting class in the country.
That probably didn't surprise Bruce Feldman, a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine. His book, "Meat Market" documented the recruiting prowess of Orgeron and provided a revealing behind-the-scenes look at college football.
Feldman's last line in the book, which was written before Orgeron's final season, couldn't have been more telling: "If Ole Miss doesn't win, Ed Orgeron's only solace will be that he stocked the fridge for his successor."
Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.