Raleigh knows bottom line must improve

Play at end of season has Vols upbeat for next season

The bottom line looks virtually the same for Tennessee baseball as it did a year ago and that's not good. You've got to look closer, says coach Todd Raleigh.

The Vols finished with a bang, sweeping Vanderbilt over the weekend. Finishing, however, is not what any college team wants to be doing at the moment.

The postseason is just beginning and Tennessee won't be taking part in either the SEC or NCAA tournaments. Again.

Raleigh's first UT squad in 2008 ended 27-29, 12-18 in the SEC.

His second finished 26-29, 11-19 SEC.

It marks the first consecutive losing seasons for UT since 1989-90. Still, Raleigh said Monday, his first two years were "polar opposites" in how they ended.

"Last year at the end of the year, we were going the other way,'' he said. "This year at the end we're going forward.

"Last year, it was we can't wait to get out. This year the kids want to play.''

Raleigh spent Monday meeting with players and setting his recruiting schedule.

While Internet chat rooms suggest disgruntled defections, Raleigh paints a more upbeat picture. He said going 4-0 on a road trip to close the regular season left the players wanting more.

The incident involving third baseman Tyler Horne last Tuesday at Middle Tennessee State was not reflective of team chemistry, Raleigh said:

"I've never seen a team as fired up as we were this weekend.''

Tennessee's was a tale of two seasons. The Vols started 1-11 in the SEC, then finished 10-8 down the stretch.

Another departure from 2008 was the schedule.

"Last year our RPI was 89th and this year it's 59th,'' he said. "I want to say that's the biggest increase in the league by far.

"Last year our strength of schedule was 55, this year it's top 10 (11th, actually, in one rating).

"Maybe I'm guilty of putting a young team out there too quickly against too good of a schedule. It didn't quite pan out the way we wanted to, but I still think it prepares us for later on.''

Speaking of later on, Raleigh understands that his third year at UT will have to show progress - not just in stats or RPI but in the win column.

Athletic director Mike Hamilton could not be reached Monday, but has been positive about Raleigh's trend in strengthening UT's academic standing.

The 2009 team played with a scholarship reduction due to a poor APR score. That won't be the case in 2010.

"The bottom line is win-loss, I understand that,'' Raleigh said. "It's the real world.

"There was a lot of progress this year but it's not going to show in the bottom line.

"If we're not going in the right direction next year I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing.''

The Vols return many of their leading performers.

Cody Hawn and Blake Forsythe had outstanding sophomore seasons and Zach Osborne had an impressive freshman season at shortstop.

But the major league draft is always the wild card.

Outfielders Kentrail Davis and Josh Liles and pitcher Bryan Morgado are draft-eligible sophomores.

Incoming pitchers like Chad Bell of Walters State and several freshmen also are subject to the draft next month.

"The kids are saying the right things,'' Raleigh said. "I might be crying in June, but I think we've definitely got some pitchers coming in.''

Three touted high school signees could be more likely to actually play for UT because injuries might downgrade their draft status: pitchers Alan Walden of Red Bank and Jon Reed from Oklahoma and Georgia outfielder Drew Steckenrider.

Matt Duffy, a Freshman All-America pick in 2008 at Vermont, is transferring to UT to play third base because Vermont dropped baseball.

"The bar is set a lot higher next year,'' Raleigh said. "There's got to be more than just enthusiasm.

"There's no more thinking about winning. We've got to win.''

Bat-Gate: Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin was still talking Monday on a Nashville radio station about his suspicions concerning the bat Hawn used to hit the game-winning home run Saturday. Corbin thinks the composite bat manufactured by Easton should be illegal.

"Cody is the best hitter I've ever coached,'' said Raleigh. "I've always thought that it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.''

Raleigh said nine SEC teams use Easton bats and said UT does not tamper with them.

"We've never done anything to make bats illegal,'' he said. "I'm not with the players 24/7 but I don't think Cody would do anything like that.

"The umpire looked at the bat (at Corbin's request) and said it looked 100 percent legal.''

Per SEC policy when such an issue is raised, the bat was confiscated after the game. As of Monday night, Raleigh had heard nothing from the league office.

Corbin, whom Raleigh said is on the collegiate rules committee, has raised the composite-bat issue long before the UT series. He called it "the steroids of college baseball.''

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Comments » 23

Capt_Winters writes:

First!!!!! and by the way FIRE RALEIGH!!!!

staf101#341843 writes:

in response to Capt_Winters:

First!!!!! and by the way FIRE RALEIGH!!!!

YES! mIKES LUCK HAS RUN OUT. HIRE A REAL COACH.

us43137415#376444 writes:

OK, so the team ends the season on an up beat.. OK, so they started winning games down the stretch.. OK, so Raleigh thinks there's a lot of enthusiam..

Comments like that quiet the critics for awhile.. don't forget, coaches have to sound good for the sake of recruits. The above News-Sentinel article might as well have been written by the UT Public Relations Department, shoveling it with both hands.

Just remember how Raleigh treated players.. getting in Horne's face in front of the other players because he made one mental error (a lot of fans saw that one, too).. telling McCray he needed to go back to high school (borrowed that from another chat-ter..don't know if it's right but I can believe it).. there's probably other little incidents we'll never know about, unless players leave and let it leak out or something..

And of course, Hamilton is out of pocket for a comment, because he doesn't want to seen as plugging up the hotseat yet. Right now, it's a public relations stunt in neutral.

I'm willing to give Raleigh one more year to put something cohesive together that wins more games than loses them.. But by george, every SINGLE lost game next year, needs to scrutinized, analyzed and broken down. And no excuses this time... no more of those PR quotes: "yeah we lost, but so-and-so really had a good game" "yeah, we lost, but Haun's homerun total was impressive." We lose for a reason, and I don't want a sugar-coated, mamby-pamby public relations quote that belongs on the back page of the Daily Beacon.

chrisw2967 writes:

they havent fired this clown yet ? what is Mike waiting on ?

snafu14u#241639 writes:

in response to us43137415#376444:

OK, so the team ends the season on an up beat.. OK, so they started winning games down the stretch.. OK, so Raleigh thinks there's a lot of enthusiam..

Comments like that quiet the critics for awhile.. don't forget, coaches have to sound good for the sake of recruits. The above News-Sentinel article might as well have been written by the UT Public Relations Department, shoveling it with both hands.

Just remember how Raleigh treated players.. getting in Horne's face in front of the other players because he made one mental error (a lot of fans saw that one, too).. telling McCray he needed to go back to high school (borrowed that from another chat-ter..don't know if it's right but I can believe it).. there's probably other little incidents we'll never know about, unless players leave and let it leak out or something..

And of course, Hamilton is out of pocket for a comment, because he doesn't want to seen as plugging up the hotseat yet. Right now, it's a public relations stunt in neutral.

I'm willing to give Raleigh one more year to put something cohesive together that wins more games than loses them.. But by george, every SINGLE lost game next year, needs to scrutinized, analyzed and broken down. And no excuses this time... no more of those PR quotes: "yeah we lost, but so-and-so really had a good game" "yeah, we lost, but Haun's homerun total was impressive." We lose for a reason, and I don't want a sugar-coated, mamby-pamby public relations quote that belongs on the back page of the Daily Beacon.

Right on. One more year and let the numbers do the talking.Case closed. I don't think this is the guy, but give him enough rope. bonzaivol

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Pull the plug.

give_him_6 writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

Right on. One more year and let the numbers do the talking.Case closed. I don't think this is the guy, but give him enough rope. bonzaivol

My thoughts exactly. One more season he says is all he needs, then let him have one more season. Then if it's not up to expectations...FIRE HIM. No one will have any excuses.

jdcvols#230433 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Pull the plug.

I talked with Dupree. He said that if the bat turns out illegal then the idiot Raleigh has to be fired.

sampears writes:

What?! We have a baseball team at UT....who knew.

ethanfrome writes:

"Raleigh knows bottom line must improve."

The headline says it all...One more year.

Pullingguard writes:

He inherted a bad situation. Reduced scholarships, depleted talent, so it looks like things could improve greatly in 2010, so give him that third year and see what the results are. They will either spell success or failure and then there will be no questions on his future..

mj54 writes:

If Hamilton were to fire a coach after 2 years saddled with the scholarship reductions he had and the way he increased the GPA of the team the past two years, he wouldn't be able to hire anyone.

Give Raleigh enough rope to hang himself then you can get rid of him w/out any bad press from other baseball coaches.

OrangeMan_86 writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

His winning percentage this season was higher than your iq. Below 47.

gwbask writes:

Attempted positive spin on a bad situation. Give him one more year but with expectations of strong results. Hope the bat siyuation doesn't come back to bite us in the bu--, and cost us that 4 game win streak that Raleigh is building on.

volchiq writes:

You people kill me. You are wanting to see a fire so bad that you are looking at fog and saying it is smoke.

Give it a rest, if a player can't take a coach in his face, he needs to head back to his mom's bosom or grow a pair.

I am not loving the way things are right now either, but improvements are being made and Raleigh should have the chance to get players in that want to play and not be coddled.

bryan14 writes:

If Mike really wants to know the main reason that TR & the young man had a heated exchange of words maybe he should look a little deeper into the situation. What did TR say to this young man in a meeting before the MTSU game?????? Yes, I know that TR said that he should not have said what he did but that was out of line in any setting. If TR had conducted himself in this manner in the business world he would have been given a pink slip by the HR department and kicked out the door. View some of the Georgia message boards as the people down in Georgia seem to know the whole story. If MH fails to pull the plug on TR ASAP then maybe MH should be shown the door.

Futurecoach16 writes:

in response to bryan14:

If Mike really wants to know the main reason that TR & the young man had a heated exchange of words maybe he should look a little deeper into the situation. What did TR say to this young man in a meeting before the MTSU game?????? Yes, I know that TR said that he should not have said what he did but that was out of line in any setting. If TR had conducted himself in this manner in the business world he would have been given a pink slip by the HR department and kicked out the door. View some of the Georgia message boards as the people down in Georgia seem to know the whole story. If MH fails to pull the plug on TR ASAP then maybe MH should be shown the door.

You speak like you're all-knowing. What was said? Something along the lines of he needs to step it up, needs to be a team player, something like that? What?

Volunatic writes:

"Maybe I'm guilty of putting a young team out there too quickly against too good of a schedule. It didn't quite pan out the way we wanted to, but I still think it prepares us for later on."

Awww shucks, coach. We was just snake bit.
Against "too good of a schedule". Against Belmont. And ETSU. And Western Carolina. And South Carolina UPSTATE?!?! etc.
Mr. Raleigh, the excuses aren't "the bottom line".

Volunatic writes:

Corbin, whom Raleigh said is on the collegiate rules committee, has raised the composite-bat issue long before the UT series. He called it "the steroids of college baseball."

Dang. He sounds like Raleigh.
I'm sure Vandy doesn't use the Easton bats because they just can't afford them.

basevol31#584179 writes:

He could have salvaged the season if he pitched Jamie Bennett the whole time LOL

us43137415#376444 writes:

All you post-ters.. keep us all posted on the bat thing.. that worries me. If you hear it's illegal, let us all know, because Raleigh's outta here, and I'll lead the choruses..

RoadTrip writes:

If Raleigh and Mike Hamilton are serious about the Vols and Raleigh's job, they will wake up and realize that some of the best players he could recruit are under their noses in east TN. How do you miss recruiting Kyle Koeneman with 50 HRs in two years setting the WSCC record- a ntional powerhouse? LSU and Vandy did not miss it - with LSU the winner for his services. Good for LSU and Kyle, which has a real baseball program. Are you guys blind?! Why - because he was a local Seymour kid so he couldn't be very good? This kid will be drafted high within the next two years.

This stuff makes me sick. Almost as much as the KNS not picking up on it. It was in The Mountain Press this morning. Why would you not be following where this kid went? He sets records in his sport and is a good local kid with intelligence. You choose to ignore to run such newsworthy junk as Ramar Smith getting arrested. Who cares? He has been gone from UT for over a year and was dismissed for doing things wrong, like now. Why not focus more on the positives out there that most people care about, that build up the communities where your paper is published?

Volumnus writes:

If you don't fire him, get him an orange wig, paint his face apply a red nose and get him some size 68 shoes. Both shoes might fill is mouth up! At any rate his looks would then compliment his personality and lack of professionalism.

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