Adams: UT takes cue from Florida on standards

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley wasn't in Knoxville for the SEC women's softball tournament, but he wasn't out of mind. Neither was Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton.

Foley invariably comes to mind when one of his teams is clinching a championship. His latest championship production is the nation's No. 1-ranked softball team, which pushed its record to 55-3 in winning the SEC championship at Lee Stadium on Saturday.

You can't appreciate the championship or Foley's role in it without a quick history lesson. Florida's last coach, Karen Johns, won 40 or more games in each of her last three seasons. That wasn't good enough for Foley.

So Johns was out and Tim Walton was in. The exchange didn't get quite the attention as the firing of Florida football coach Ron Zook, who had three consecutive winning seasons, and the hiring of Urban Meyer in his place. But the same principle applied. And any coach who signs on at Florida should understand it.

Walton was asked Saturday about the expectations of succeeding a successful coach who was good enough to serve as an assistant on the U.S. Olympic team.

"I made it clear what my own expectations were," he said of his job interview with Foley.

My guess: He mentioned "championships." It's Foley's favorite word.

Winning a conference championship isn't a requirement for a Florida coach. But it needs to be a goal. You don't keep your job there with winning records.

The expectations might not be as high at UT, but they have been raised by athletic director Mike Hamilton. In the last two years, he has fired two longtime successful coaches, Rod Delmonico in baseball and Phillip Fulmer in football.

You think that doesn't send a message to the rest of UT coaches?

And it's the right message when you have an athletic department budget the size of UT's. You can't always win championships, but you can aspire to win them.

No other program in the SEC has Florida's in-state recruiting base. Yet the Gators had a favorable recruiting base long before they started winning championships in major sports.

Before Foley was hired in 1992, Florida had won nine national championships. Since he was hired, Florida has won 13, including three in football and two in men's basketball. Until Foley took over the athletic department, Florida's only national championships were in golf, swimming and gymnastics.

Florida also ended the last school year with a staggering 90 SEC championships under Foley. You can't just buy success like that. It's as much about hiring as spending.

The Lady Vols didn't become the No. 1 program in women's basketball because of their budget or recruiting base. They became No. 1 because of coach Pat Summitt.

Nor is there any mystery to the Lady Vols' rise to prominence in softball. Women's athletic director Joan Cronan hired Ralph and Karen Weekly as co-head coaches. It's that simple.

Since then, UT has been to three of the last four world series, won 60 or more games three times, won 50 or more in five consecutive seasons and has been ranked in the top 25 nationally for 88 consecutive weeks.

All of that success didn't make the last weekend any easier for the Weeklys. Saturday's SEC championship game was probably the toughest game they ever watched at Lee Stadium - because their team wasn't in it.

They're proud of what their program has accomplished and aware that they have a young team with a freshman pitcher. But they aren't content with being nationally ranked and qualifying for the NCAA tournament.

Obviously, neither is Summitt. After winning back-to-back national championships, she could have written off the last season as a rebuilding year with a young team and excused the first-round NCAA tournament loss as a bad day at the office. Instead, she was furious.

Never mind that she has won more than 1,000 games and eight national championships. She's more interested in the next game and the next championship.

So is Foley.

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

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Comments » 49

belayvol writes:

Ok, so we have a tradition of winning and now we are going to emulate Florida? That's like saying we have no clue how to win it all. I think we knew how to win championships long before Florida became relevant.

tdforvols writes:

Man, It must be really slow in the sports newsroom.

BillVol writes:

I'm afraid to ask, but has Florida surpassed us in men's SEC titles?

springtx_vol writes:

in response to BillVol:

I'm afraid to ask, but has Florida surpassed us in men's SEC titles?

Not in Men's conference champions. Per the SEC, the total championships by school is:

Team Mens Womens Total
UF 88 91 179
UT 113 34 147
UGA 74 54 128
LSU 79 35 114

No one else has more than 100.

belayvol writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Just like you have to be in your teens to think florida is the greatest.

Voluvr writes:

Florida can thank Dickey for his recommendation to his florida buddies of Spurrier after he beat us at home with Duke. Spurrier rewrote the book at Florida. Florida can also thank Free Shoes U. and Miami for their programs being down except 99 for fsu. They haven't been sharing the recruiting wealth, but it looks like that's starting to turn. Especially, too with Kiffin's success in Florida featuring NuKeese Richardson and Masalis Teague. Also, in exposing Luis the gator principal at Pahokee who found out he doesn't wield the weight he thought he did.

Tennessee can thank Florida not Alabama it's larger rival for waking up the sleeping giant. Because of florida, Tennessee has now gone in a different direction and one that even the Orange Envy crowd in here knows is the right one as evidenced by their continued presence.

It's been a symbiotic relationship of sorts. Each making the other better. It's also good to see the UT side of the see saw heading back up.
So Go Vols, thanks gators, and go SEC!

Voluvr writes:

Foley is probably getting too much credit here too. Remember, it was Foley that was almost lynched for running off Spurrier in his prime. Even though Fulmer and other were starting to figure him out.

teampenny#658108 writes:

The two states are tied together by players, coaches and fans. I agree football teams goes in cycles but Florida right now is on a vary long up cycle, with no end in sight. The Fla lopers and Big Orange Fans know LK is different, but no ones knows how this will play out. What my complaint is year end and out we spend the same money on sports an they have a much better all around sports program. I believe it is the fault of UT management and coaches. When you have the fan support and you provide the money results should be expected. Not interested in talk-wins an SEC championships should rain down on our university. Go Vols

abnerPeabody writes:

Hate Florida all you want but they are way ahead of us in all sports .We will work like heck,look at the film ,and get better.

formerflgranny writes:

I thought this was a discussion about ut but since we have gotten off the subject I would like to post my experience. My ex husband and I attented 1 florida home football game - our first and last! The florida fans where so rude and I have never saw so many intoxicated people in my life. I would also like to say that I have been to bars and saw more sober people than the people at the game.

GreerVol22 writes:

new name for this website

www.gogatorsxtra.com

99gator writes:

this article was asking for trouble.

gainesville john doesn't have the same ring as tuscaloosa john.

auttat writes:

in response to 99gator:

this article was asking for trouble.

gainesville john doesn't have the same ring as tuscaloosa john.

Let's just go with "Anywhere but Knoxville" John.

This one was handwritten for the trolls.

auttat writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't let the trolls arrogance blind you, they are doing an exceptional job at Florida. You can't explain it away, you just got to deal with it and get better on your own.

belayvol writes:

in response to 99gator:

this article was asking for trouble.

gainesville john doesn't have the same ring as tuscaloosa john.

How about Baton John Rouge?

govolshw writes:

Adams you are an idiot!

invisiblekid writes:

In other news, Seantrel Henderson, the nation's number 1 prospect, is planning an unofficial visit to Knoxville and is in regular contact with the staff.

http://rivals100.rivals.com/viewprosp...

This comes from Volquest and Rivals, which offer a free 7 day trial:

https://secure.rivals.com/nssubscribe...

dvols writes:

what does adams have on the kns?

i'm just sayin

FireJohnAdams writes:

in response to JohnAdamsIsTrash:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Adams is like road construction - he never goes away and he never gets better!

murrayvol writes:

in response to invisiblekid:

In other news, Seantrel Henderson, the nation's number 1 prospect, is planning an unofficial visit to Knoxville and is in regular contact with the staff.

http://rivals100.rivals.com/viewprosp...

This comes from Volquest and Rivals, which offer a free 7 day trial:

https://secure.rivals.com/nssubscribe...

Thanks kid. Drop in occasionally. Meaningful posts are a rarity anymore. It's getting so bad the trolls are talking to each other.

We'll leave the light on for you.

TommyJack writes:

in response to slovog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is that anything like waxing the bishop?

JMP_Vols writes:

News on Jesse Scroggins.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/i...

Also, UT recruiting addressed by Rivals roundtable.

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football...

abnerPeabody writes:

Reading about offers gets our interist up.Reading about commitments gets us excited.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Is that anything like waxing the bishop?

TJ...also akin to pounding the fritter maybe???

Volunatic writes:

I never realized how much I needed to root against the uf softball team until I read this article.
So, keeping score-- JA has a man-crush on
1) Tebow
2) Meyer
3) Foley
and
4) Tebow

Volunatic writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You mean you spent the day watching golf on the black and white TV in your mom's basement.

invisiblekid writes:

No clue why that isn't showing up under my name.

PumpVOL writes:

You people kill me, John has something good to say about anonther school besides UT and you all rip him. What did he say that wasn't true?

I will take UF's history of UT's right now in a heartbeat. At least they are getting it done, in the now.

auttat writes:

in response to gator4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Then why is Alabama the school that UT plays every year from the west?

Runningangry writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I gotta admit I'm jealous lol. Probably one of my favorite holes in all of golf.

jerseydevilvol writes:

in response to invisiblekid:

In other news, Seantrel Henderson, the nation's number 1 prospect, is planning an unofficial visit to Knoxville and is in regular contact with the staff.

http://rivals100.rivals.com/viewprosp...

This comes from Volquest and Rivals, which offer a free 7 day trial:

https://secure.rivals.com/nssubscribe...

Rivals doesnt have ut on his list of college choices. Is that just not updated?

kman29 writes:

in response to LawCoVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How many fans new UF existed prior to 1994? Well at least all the ones who were part of everyone of the sold out games in the 80s. This idea that UF didn't have a fan base prior to the 90s is absolutly hilarious.

As for you question regarding how many of those fans graduated from UF. What does it matter? Anyone who was born in the south or has lived in the south for a significant amount of time knows that whether you attended those schools or not, if you lived in the area..that was your pro team. The NFL was not as big in the south east because all there really was, were the dolphins. Faclons, Bucs and Saints were others but they came around in the 70s. EVERY SEC team has that...that is what makes the SEC schools fan basis so rabid. It isnt just your "graduates" from the schools its everyone in the state if your LSU or at least half the state if your Bama, Auburn or Georgia. Whether you graduated or not does not exclude you the right of being able to root for that school or attend the games.

I do find it funny that so many people who have never even been to Florida seem to act like they know what type of people live here. You hear about Palm Beach county and think that all of florida is like that. Full of old people from the north. Northern Florida (Jax, gville ect. area) along with the Panhandle are nothing like that. Majority are florida born. What happens down in south florida and Miami isnt our issue...take that up with Cane fan.

n2thecheckerboards2 writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Here we go with lame predictions again, cant say im surprised.

murrayvol writes:

in response to invisiblekid:

No clue why that isn't showing up under my name.

That is a bit odd given that you've never played the poser card. Hmmmm! Think GVX is playing mind games with you?

auttat writes:

in response to kman29:

How many fans new UF existed prior to 1994? Well at least all the ones who were part of everyone of the sold out games in the 80s. This idea that UF didn't have a fan base prior to the 90s is absolutly hilarious.

As for you question regarding how many of those fans graduated from UF. What does it matter? Anyone who was born in the south or has lived in the south for a significant amount of time knows that whether you attended those schools or not, if you lived in the area..that was your pro team. The NFL was not as big in the south east because all there really was, were the dolphins. Faclons, Bucs and Saints were others but they came around in the 70s. EVERY SEC team has that...that is what makes the SEC schools fan basis so rabid. It isnt just your "graduates" from the schools its everyone in the state if your LSU or at least half the state if your Bama, Auburn or Georgia. Whether you graduated or not does not exclude you the right of being able to root for that school or attend the games.

I do find it funny that so many people who have never even been to Florida seem to act like they know what type of people live here. You hear about Palm Beach county and think that all of florida is like that. Full of old people from the north. Northern Florida (Jax, gville ect. area) along with the Panhandle are nothing like that. Majority are florida born. What happens down in south florida and Miami isnt our issue...take that up with Cane fan.

Can you type coherently so that we can at least try to understand what you are saying? Geez, you gave me a headache reading this.

murrayvol writes:

in response to auttat:

Then why is Alabama the school that UT plays every year from the west?

I don't think either school wanted to give up the rivalry. Among the oldest in the nation, and if you take away the "eleven", one of the tightest.

auttat writes:

in response to murrayvol:

I don't think either school wanted to give up the rivalry. Among the oldest in the nation, and if you take away the "eleven", one of the tightest.

Yeah, I was just trying to figure out where the Florida guy was coming from.

jerseydevilvol writes:

in response to murrayvol:

That is a bit odd given that you've never played the poser card. Hmmmm! Think GVX is playing mind games with you?

I wouldn't put anything past 'em. They have posers all over the place on here.

kman29 writes:

in response to auttat:

Can you type coherently so that we can at least try to understand what you are saying? Geez, you gave me a headache reading this.

Sorry that simple english and to the point paragraphs were too hard for you to understand.

jerseydevilvol writes:

in response to jerseydevilvol:

Rivals doesnt have ut on his list of college choices. Is that just not updated?

Not up to date, that story just came out last night.

"I am going to take unofficial visits to Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Tennessee, Southern Cal and UCLA," Henderson said. "I am not doing camps, but I am just going to see some schools."

Tennessee coaches have been by to watch Henderson work out, and the Saint Paul (Cretin-Durham Hall High School) native has kept in touch with the Vol staff.

"I usually call them every couple of weeks," Henderson said. "I just want to try to get to know them better and I want to make sure they know that I am interested in them."

invisiblekid writes:

Test

auttat writes:

in response to kman29:

Sorry that simple english and to the point paragraphs were too hard for you to understand.

My apologies. You have to understand that I did not go to the Corrine Brown school of communications.

kman29 writes:

in response to auttat:

My apologies. You have to understand that I did not go to the Corrine Brown school of communications.

Please tell me what was so difficult to understand???

My first point in response to the posters comments regarding UFs fan base?

My second point in response to the posters comments regarding how his issue with people who are fans of schools they did not graduate from?

Or the even more difficult point in response to the posters comment regarding all of us who live in Florida are from the north?

Yeah...real difficult stuff there buddy!

TideGolf348yds writes:

in response to gator4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think Bama, LSU, AU & every other SEC West team would have beaten up on UT more than they already do.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to invisiblekid:

No clue why that isn't showing up under my name.

Testing, 1 2 3...

Don't know why that's happening, bro.

IPO

kman29 writes:

in response to robvols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I cerainly wouldn't target Cam Newton if I was UT. He was very slow to develop during his two years at UF. Add on to the stupidity of stealing a laptop then trying to destroy the evidence when questioned. Not a very bright guy..in my opinon.

belayvol writes:

in response to TideGolf348yds:

I think Bama, LSU, AU & every other SEC West team would have beaten up on UT more than they already do.

But you also think it is fun to hit from the red tees so we can see where you are coming from.

Twisted1 writes:

To LawCoVol and many other misinformed Vols...

UF has dominated SEC sports since 1980. They had more SEC titles in the 1980s than any other school. In the 1990s they had twice as many as the second place school. Same for the 2000s. It's not close. They have won something like 18 of the last 21 overall SEC All Sports trophies. And they will win it again this year. Also, they have won all 3 annual SEC All Sports trophies (mens, womens, overall)in the same year 8 times (and just missed it 3 other times)...no other conference team has ever done it once. UF has never been out of the top 10 in NCAA overall sports rankings in the 25+ years that the rankings have been compiled. How many times has UT even made the top 10??? Over the last 10 years, in how many SEC sports has UT been superior to UF? On the women's side I only see basketball. On the men's side...not sure if any. I may have missed a close one or two, but overall it's not close.

Counting SEC titles from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s is irrelevant. But to the posters that say you have to be in your teens or early twenties to see UF as a football power, obviously you can't do math. Even if you picked 1990 as the start date, that's about 20 years ago...so assuming you were 10-11 years old when you first begin to have a clue about college football, you would have to be in your early 30s. And I guess you forgot about those 3 straight top 10 finishes in the 1980's. And that UF was undefeated against UT in that decade.

Heck, if you go back 50 years to the present, UF leads Tennessee 18-8 in head-to-head meetings and are virtually tied in total wins...so get off your high horse. While UGA and UT are the closest rival to UF in SEC sports (actually UGA is a real threat), UF still holds the high ground for the past 30 years.

volboy81 writes:

how can you take a queue from someone on standards when they dont have any?

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