John Adams: Gator ties drawing suspicion

John Adams

The University of Tennessee’s next PR blunder is scheduled for Wednesday, May 4, in Orlando, Fla.

How do I know this? I just read the itinerary for UT’s Big Orange Caravan.

May 4: Dinner — Central Florida (Orlando).

Why would UT launch its annual spring tour in the home state of the archrival Gators?

Answer from the Florida conspiracy theorists in UT’s fan base: Because that’s the way UT chancellor, a.k.a Attack Gator, Jimmy Cheek wants it.

Non-conspiracy theorists will find this laughable, of course. The goodwill caravan is designed to connect UT coaches and athletic department officials with fans, and there’s nothing unusual about it venturing out of state. For example, other get-togethers on the 10-stop tour are planned for Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta.

So I’m not suggesting UT should have avoided a Florida stopover. But it shouldn’t have ignored history, either.

Many Vols fans never forgave former UT football coach Doug Dickey for being a Florida native. Their worst he’s-a-Gator-at-heart fears were confirmed when he forsook the Vols for the head-coaching job at Florida.

Never mind that football flourished when Dickey returned to UT as athletic director. Conspiracy theorists will forget that he kept UT in the good graces of the NCAA and insist that he tried to put Vols basketball out of business. They also will point out that he retired to Florida, not Tellico Village.

Fans didn’t seem to care too much about Cheek’s Florida background when he was hired as UT’s chancellor. After all, it’s not as though he conspired with Urban Meyer to hang 59 points on the Vols in 2007. He was the senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Florida. That hardly qualifies him as a chomp accomplice.

But Cheek’s Florida background got more attention when he was involved in the March firing of popular UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who won eight of 13 games against the Gators.

A donor’s email (published in Monday’s News Sentinel) to UT president Dr. Joe DiPietro read: “Call off your little attack Gator, Cheek.”

DiPietro also has a University of Florida background. He was the dean of the college of veterinary medicine before he became the chancellor of UT’s Institute of Agriculture in 2006.

I’m sure both ex-Gators have UT’s best academic interests at heart and are all for the Vols settling their differences with the NCAA in the best possible light, continuing to make the NCAA tournament in men’s basketball, snapping out of their football doldrums and eventually even making the SEC tournament in baseball. But some UT fans won’t get past Cheek’s and DiPietro’s Florida background, particularly after all that has gone wrong in UT sports this school year.

The most extreme conspiracy theorists among them will conjure up sleeper-cell fantasies in which they envision Florida strategically plotting to place their agents in positions of power with their rival. Non-extremists will merely shake their heads and wonder why UT couldn’t have selected its leaders from a non-rival’s pool.

Be careful what you wish for. Former UT president John Shumaker was from Ohio State. Anybody want him back?

My guess is that if coach Derek Dooley continues to improve UT football and new basketball coach Cuonzo Martin is successful, Tennessee fans will put the chancellor’s past behind them and regard him as a born-again Vol. Until then, I would recommend he not suggest that a dash of royal blue would touch up UT’s orange.

And next time, start the Big Orange Caravan in Crossville.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284.

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Comments » 52

murrayvol writes:

It was a dark and stormy night.
A shot rang out.
The maid screamed.
A pirate ship appeared on the horizon.

Good grief John. The natives are restless enough.

twin942 writes:

Please John, stop it. I expect to read a good analysis of UT football and what we learned from spring practice when I log on to the site. I am a bit frustrated that any decent football article in this site actually belongs to the Tennessean or the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Buck up your game. Forget this stuff and focus on football.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say silly season fodder to keep everyone reading...works! lol.
Bones never lie.

mhsvol writes:

Saying that John Shumaker was from Ohio State is about the same as saying Andy Holt was from the University of Memphis. Sure they both started there but neither one built his reputation there.

And, quite frankly, Shumaker might have been the best president UT ever had (after Holt) if the Board had been more diligent in controlling him. The guy had a building named after him at the University of Louisville, where he was President before coming to UT. And, this was after he was fired at UT. It was on his watch when Rick Pitino was hired and the university built Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. He raised the funds to make UofL a major research university. And, had he not made the mistake of taking liberties with UT funds, he probably would have made UT one of the shining stars in the SEC - both academically and athletically. Sure, he hired Mike Hamilton as AD, but he didn't want to. The major pressure came from Phillip Fulmer.

So, don't ask me if I would want John Shumaker at UT, because the answer is yes. And, I would also want the dang Board to step up and do the job they should have done when he was President - let him know what the rules and expectations are, because if Schumaker had been properly admonished, he could have done great things for Tennessee.

VOLliven2it writes:

Not interested in what anyone did at Florida. I want to know what they do at Tennessee. The Vol Caravan can begin or end where ever it wants. I have no problem with it being in Florida. Guess Old JA just wants to stir up the pot some more.

RoadTrip writes:

Creative Writing 101

Principle #1: Avoid writing about subjects that can make the author look silly.

Principle #2: Don't forget Principle #1.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say what a microcosm of nothingness. Witch Doctor pretty sure 95% of Vol fans never heard of KNS....really.
Bones never lie.

BillsBrother writes:

The Florida guys don't bother me nearly as much as the Clemson guy.

SEC1 writes:

Don't get mad at John Adams because UT football is one step from needing an electrode resucitation shock. Judging from that awful spring game performance and junior college like attendance, UT football barely has a pulse. In other words, it's hard to write about a football program when it is hanging on by a thread.

Voluvr writes:

...it was also rumored out of a Nashville Country Club that Dickey told UF when they were looking for a coach about a young hot shot at Duke that just beat UT at home. That hot shot set the stage for UF's 20 yr. history in football. True or not..... when the story is written saying, "many people can't forget that...." First, there is no gathered knowledge of such a thing UNTIL this article is written.

Btw, who let all these freakin' gators in here?

tennrich1 writes:

in response to SEC1:

Don't get mad at John Adams because UT football is one step from needing an electrode resucitation shock. Judging from that awful spring game performance and junior college like attendance, UT football barely has a pulse. In other words, it's hard to write about a football program when it is hanging on by a thread.

There he/she is...where ya been, junebug?????????

SummittsCourt writes:

just fire hamilton already!

tovolny writes:

John Adams is loving this. Anything he can do to to put bad light on UT (Alumni, Fans, or Administrators) he will do. Why would he state "UT Fans never forgave Dickey for being from Florida", when as far as I observed, we UT people put Dickey right up there with Elvis, Davy Crocket, Sam Houston, and Andy Jackson. He (John Adams) just sometimes pulls stuff out of the air and presents it at the worse time.

Dickey loved the University of Tennessee.I know this from my own experience, and I also have relatives that are close friends with both Doug and his wife.

I don't understand John Adams writing this. I would like for John Ward to step up and make a few statements on behalf of his old friend.

Mr. Ward, an entry on Bleacher Report would be nice here. John Adams is killing us.

govols1234567 writes:

Weird article. heres something of more interest to most of you though. Multiple sources say Kevin Ware has commited to Central Florida. Surprised there are no reports on here..
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports...

sconaway#582160 writes:

in response to govols1234567:

Weird article. heres something of more interest to most of you though. Multiple sources say Kevin Ware has commited to Central Florida. Surprised there are no reports on here..
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports...

Darn, you're rght. Ware did sign with UCF, and, no, not a word on it here. That's just not right!

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to SEC1:

Don't get mad at John Adams because UT football is one step from needing an electrode resucitation shock. Judging from that awful spring game performance and junior college like attendance, UT football barely has a pulse. In other words, it's hard to write about a football program when it is hanging on by a thread.

You are that 1 pebble that didnt flush
Please do us all a favor and stfu

SLM85VOL writes:

Does the State of Tennessee not have qualified capable men or women for the Land Grant University to hire instead of having to go to the University of Florida? Unbelievable!

VolinCalif writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well I like to support the old home front myself. But I've done enough hiring to know that you are foolish not to hire the very best Qualified person you can hire. Just like recruiting get the best possible. Most will take to the area/position where they are successful and they will not jeopardize their position like kids trying to crash a party.

Govolsinmemphica writes:

Uh Oh guys he didn't say the infamous "bones never lie" I think the sky could be falling!

Govolsinmemphica writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, it's also interesting how Bruce Pearl owned the gators at basketball. That really makes you think.

voloffaith writes:

in response to Govolsinmemphica:

Uh Oh guys he didn't say the infamous "bones never lie" I think the sky could be falling!

That is not the original. He/she is a wannabee. Original is WD"S Ghost.

ON topic, don't ya just love them conspiracy theorist. I guess they'll say we are going to change to UF knoxville campus.....

adimatteo#261830 writes:

this is truly the most ridiculous and nonsensical comment I have seen. Would be funny but for fact it is written by a so called journalist for the paper.
Alumni groups in states work hard throughout the year, and those of us in states outside TN, will occasionally get a Big Orange Caravan as a reward for the years' worth of programs we do to keep excitement for UT , again out of TN.
Needless to say, it does not come to FL as often as major TN venues.
This year the one stop in FL is Orlando, a very large chapter.

I realize and hope some of the comments were meant as sarcasm, but to even make it sound as it were somehow negative is moronic to put it mildly.
Mr Adams, I dont have to agree with what you say, but at least try to learn some facts before you write on a subject, you will not appear to be as ignorant as you seem.
To even suggest that somehowthe university was wrong for the initial stop to be in FL is nonsense

DooleysOrangePants writes:

GVx's next PR blunder is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, in Knoxville,Tn. thats when John Adams next article comes out.

VolzsFan writes:

ALL of this can be fixed if the person in charge wants to. The number one donor and the person all things can or could go through is Haslem a Tenn guy. All of these people report to his son in an official capacity. Either Haslem can replace anyone they want to over there whenever they want to.

Keep in mind, since Spurrier started, Florida has had the best winning % in all of college football. When you look at the records only two had a decent amount of success vs them, Bowden and Fulmer. Florida dominated every other team they played by a wide margin.

Why is Fl dominating Tenn? Because they are a 100 mile radius from the most high school football talent in America. And if you are from any other part of the country you would rather go to school in Florida than Tenn. That is what made what Fulmer did that much more incredible and that becomes more obvious with each passing season and will continue to show the stupidity of those involved with the changes.

Enjoy those changes.

John_10065 writes:

Hey, I was born in Huntsville, grew up 30 miles from MTSU, went to school in Martin, live in IN and work in KY.

Does that mean I have to burn my orange hats and jacket?

Volific writes:

in response to tennrich1:

There he/she is...where ya been, junebug?????????

I'll tell you where she's been--still getting over that trip to the final four, uhhh I mean to the final eight--Butler owns the gators.

Volific writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really--Witch_Doctors_Daddy? Witch Doctor is a god--omniscient and omnipresent--please don't try to raise yourself to his status--pathetic. Now your mom a different story. Also add in women's softball as gator owners.

punkin writes:

This has to be the most childish piece of supposed journalism I have ever read. Where's that danged ignore button?

Vol43 writes:

Well John boy, looks like this one blew up in your face. Not exactly the response you were looking for, huh? USC is looking better all the time. You are leaving, or was that a hoax?

UTKin1992 writes:

Although I usually attribute the regular attacks directed at John Adams as lunatic fringe foddder, I can't help but join them on criticizing him for this article.

huntined#565710 writes:

No problem starting here in FLA. There are a lot of VOL fans here and they will enjoy it being in ORLANDO..Gator fans will tell you they see a lot of VOL tags,shirts and hats here..and this may be a small reward to us VOL fans that live here as it has been rough on us the past 6 years..not easy being a VOL fan and living here but we will always be VFL.. I have had my tag holder kicked and broken,tobacco juice spit on my T but got to admit I have taken a pee on a lot of GATOR decals also..

cloudodust writes:

Quote from Billie 'Biscuit' Durant :
"A great athletic department is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within. Pass the butter please, Momma..."

GBOEngineer writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

just fire hamilton already!

just shut up already!

tdforvols writes:

Well, That's three minutes I'll never get back. UT needs all the presence they can get in Florida. In case Adams hasn't heard more than a few good players reside in that area....

Volgeezer writes:

What's wrong with kicking off the Big Orange Carivan in Orlando, there are a lot of suffering Vol fans in Florida. Lately we have to suffer through the 3rd weekend of Sept, and do so with our heads held high. This will be a big morale boost for us Vol fans that live here. Throw the dog a bone every once in a while. There are plenty of Big Orange fans in this part of the country and this will makes us feel appreciated.

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to tennrich1:

There he/she is...where ya been, junebug?????????

She has been trying to remodel her trailor after that tornado knocked it off its wheels.

hueypilot writes:

Born/bred Tennessean living outside Jacksonville since 1997, I can tell you a couple of things. Doug Dickey is as loyal a Tennessee supporter and fan as anyone you will ever know. He lives in Jacksonville now for a couple of reasons. Good weather and he is very near his many grandchildren. Like many coaches he returned to UF to coach his alma mater and if you know Coach Dickey he has never been one to admit mistakes or voice regrets, but if he did he'd tell you that was a big mistake, Anyway he finally returned to Knoxville and was AD over a very impressive run as such at UT.
Second the BO Caravan comes to Orlando or Jacksonville pretty much every other year. Two years ago Kiffin and Pearl came, and the day consists of a golf tournament and a dinner.
Nothing unusual about the BO Caravan being in Florida. Obviously a slow newsday and trying to tittilate with the Cheek DePietro connections.

CrankE writes:

....spoken like a true Tebow worshipper.

Bigger_Al writes:

Adams has missed the obvious - I know, not much of a shock.

President DiPietro has three degrees from the University of Illinois. I bet he was incensed in the early 90's at Bruce Pearl for his role in turning in the Illini for offering a basketball player $75K and a Chevy Blazer. DiPietro took over as President in January of 2011. That, my friends, is what changed the administrations stance on supporting Bruce Pearl.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to InDestruCtible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Looks like GaytaZ is back with another new user name

OwensboroVol writes:

You may call it petty, but how come no one with a diploma from the University of Tennessee is considered for these positions? Neither of the Gentlemen, and I do use the term loosely, that Mr. Adams speaks of have any idea what its like to work for and earn a degree from the University of Tennessee. As a Alumni it insults me that no Tennessee graduate is considered good enough to hold these positions. Maybe when we hire someone with Orange Blood running through their veins we will get someone who understand how Tennessee Fans feel and how the firing of Bruce Pearl was the biggest Back Stabbing in modern history.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

darn adams whats up they wont let you post junk like this at usc,i figured you and lame kitten would be bed buddies by now

murrayvol writes:

in response to InDestruCtible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes, but not the way you feel zz's greatness.

murrayvol writes:

in response to InDestruCtible:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee is among the Top 10 in all time wins.

Florida is not....and won't get there before the Apocalypse.

Inconvenient_Truth writes:

John and people

Are the noses not very plain on your face. It is May 4th and you and all the minions in the Athletic Dept and a good many boosters have a chance for a nice, Spring, all expenses paid vacation to Disneyworld. And you thought they were all going to hop in their cars and drive to Fairfeild Glade.

Money is the Mothers milk of bigtime athletics and it is now, more than ever, a corporate affair. Why do you think Neyland's seating capacity has declined by the thousands... No conspiracy, just fact.

Tnjim writes:

To SLM85vol: I agree either Tn back ground or major schools out of SEC!

Govolsinmemphica writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors_Daddy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What is donovan's record against pearl? Enough said!!

VolNExile writes:

in response to murrayvol:

It was a dark and stormy night.
A shot rang out.
The maid screamed.
A pirate ship appeared on the horizon.

Good grief John. The natives are restless enough.

Every time I read this, it gets funnier. Great post.

So JA, we Vols in exile, wherever we happen to be, aren't supposed to get the Big Orange Caravan coming through because we're in enemy territory?

Isn't there any real UT athletics news that you can write about?

VolNExile writes:

in response to Inconvenient_Truth:

John and people

Are the noses not very plain on your face. It is May 4th and you and all the minions in the Athletic Dept and a good many boosters have a chance for a nice, Spring, all expenses paid vacation to Disneyworld. And you thought they were all going to hop in their cars and drive to Fairfeild Glade.

Money is the Mothers milk of bigtime athletics and it is now, more than ever, a corporate affair. Why do you think Neyland's seating capacity has declined by the thousands... No conspiracy, just fact.

THIS

rocky_topper writes:

I don't find it laughable at all. What I find laughable is that so many haven't pieced this together about Gator Cheek!

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