Dave Hart: Vols' loss, and way they lost, to Kentucky 'unacceptable'

UT AD says he believes in letting coaches make decisions

Dave Hart

Photo by Wade Payne, AP2011

Dave Hart

Dave Hart considers himself to be "competitive to a fault."

That's one of the reasons why the Tennessee vice chancellor of athletics didn't think it'd be appropriate to speak with Derek Dooley or offer the coach a public vote of confidence after the Vols' season-ending loss to Kentucky, the program's first since 1984.

Hart said he needed some time to collect his thoughts, remove the blinders from that particular game and refocus on the big picture.

"Nobody was more upset than the guy you are looking at," Hart said in an interview with the News Sentinel on Thursday, the first day in which he's sat down with reporters since the end of UT's 5-7 football season.

"That particular performance on that particular day was unacceptable. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. Unacceptable. I'm sure Derek feels the same way, the players feel the same. Unacceptable.

"When I've been around that level of disappointment, I don't talk to the coach for at least 24 hours, sometimes 48 hours. I don't have anything good to say. I can't be encouraging at that moment. I'm feeling what a lot of people are feeling at that moment because it hurts, it's embarrassing. You're human."

Hart has since had a number of discussions with Dooley and said he talks with the coach "very often." He said he voiced his opinion on a number of areas of concern, but left the final decisions, including staff changes, up to Dooley.

"I've never done it differently. I'm always honest with coaches and worked hard to develop candid and honest relationships with coaches where you do build a level of trust," Hart said. "I've never told a coach 'You need to get rid of Assistant X or Assistant Y.' I've offered my opinion, coaches have always received that well and oftentimes I've initiated that.

"The coach knows better than I know because he's in the meeting rooms, he's at practice two and a half hours a day, he's in the weight room. But I also try to observe and offer my opinions, but I've never mandated that because at some point in time, it always goes back to people."

For more from Hart's interview, check back later at GoVolsXtra.com or grab a copy of Friday's News Sentinel.

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 165

Col26ca writes:

Every Program goes through tough times. It just seems we got hit all at once. All things will come to pass. If you really are a fan or alumni you will stick with them. If you just want to be trendy, go ahead and bash the Orange, and buy the T-shirt of the Flavor of the month. For me I've been all Vol since my Freshman year 1966 and with the Vols, Celtics, Steelers and Cardinals I will stay good years and bad.
GBO

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Wow. Well, we've been waiting for him to give his opinion. Now, we see what seems to be a "let's never let this stuff happen again here."
Too bad the previous AD couldn't have taken a similar position.

So we shall see. Stay tuned.

Orange_Juiced writes:

Glad he didnt' sugarcoat it. We all have to be accountable to someone at some point and if DH had come out saying all the fluff to protect or somehow justify...then no one is held accountable...at least in the public eye.

I still like Dooley...but he...and the staff and players need to know that DH has publicly drawn a line in the sand of sorts. This is unacceptable...and they need to know that so they can assess where they need to go from here.

Orangeblood13 writes:

newsflash to the fans

Cobb_Webb_Attack writes:

Hart knows what he's doing: you evaluate after enough time has passed to make a meaningful comparison. If Dooley doesn't win enough games next year, he's fired. If he does win enough games (and finishes in encouraging fashion), he coaches the rest of his contract. In either case, Dooley will have rebuilt the player base through recruiting, steered the program without any NCAA adversity, and been a standup guy.

I don't get all the hate (Dooleave, etc.). If he sucks next year, he's gone... but the quick trigger firing kills programs: see Alabama in the 90's.

BigBadVol writes:

I like the attitude. We will be back in time. But being patient can be difficult . VFL!

born2ride writes:

Hart needs to spend the money and bring in big names coaches who can turn football & basketball around immediately. Hamilton went the cheap route and we got stuck with coaches who can't win in the SEC.

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

Couple of interesting things here:

He waited to speak to Dooley until the emotion caused by the loss had worn off. BRILLIANT

He offers his opinion but doesn't demand hiring or firing because the coach has to run his program. BRILLIANT

He stated facts in this article and didn't throw anyone under the bus. BRILLIANT

All signs of a solid leader. Very much appreciated. This kind of careful, rational public speaking is what we deserve from our Athletic Director.

Mr. Hart, thank you for these comments. Please remain this way through the gauntlet of bonehead fans who want fire anyone, anytime, in the attempt to get a win. As I'm sure you already know, if so many of the people on this board had your knowledge and experience you wouldn't get paid the big bucks you get paid.

That being said, behind the scenes, I hope you and Coach Dooley are laying the bricks of the foundation of long term success.

johnlg00 writes:

I have no problem with Hart's comments. There is no justifiable reason for firing Dooley at this point, nor for trying to micromanage the program. Hart is giving Dooley enough rope to either haul himself out of the hole he is in or to hang him with if it comes down to that. I'm glad he knows himself well enough to refuse to make important decisions in the heat of an uncomfortable moment. If he has made his concerns clear to Dooley, that is all he should do at this point.

VolMoment writes:

in response to Col26ca:

Every Program goes through tough times. It just seems we got hit all at once. All things will come to pass. If you really are a fan or alumni you will stick with them. If you just want to be trendy, go ahead and bash the Orange, and buy the T-shirt of the Flavor of the month. For me I've been all Vol since my Freshman year 1966 and with the Vols, Celtics, Steelers and Cardinals I will stay good years and bad.
GBO

You are true Tennessee fan and it refreshing to read your post. Like you said it happens to all teams in all sports and the ones who complain and don't understand are the people who can't tie their shoes correctly two times in a row but are unforgiving to an 18 to 23 yr old athlete who dropped a pass and or blame the coach.

Caspian writes:

I'm impressed with Dave Hart. I like his style.

ClemCash writes:

I hope Hart knows words alone won't suffice. He had better be getting a short list together RIGHT NOW for the football job and men's basketball. NOW!

mlynn1 writes:

in response to born2ride:

Hart needs to spend the money and bring in big names coaches who can turn football & basketball around immediately. Hamilton went the cheap route and we got stuck with coaches who can't win in the SEC.

I'm sure Hart knows what he is doing without the advise of some no knowledge jacka__ like you. I've already told you to go ride, because you don't have a clue about sports of any kind.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

As long as we all understand that this is not acceptable we have a foothold.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

In the mean time good coaches like Malzahn, Weiss, Meyer,Jim Mora Jr, Kevin Sumlin, Freeze,
June Jones,and even Jeff Fisher will all be in new contracts and off the board next year. Kansas didnt waste time and now Gill is trying to get a job at Liberty College. On top of this no great assistants will come to Ut knowing Dooley is a lame duck coach and many times new staffs bring their own. Even Cutcliff is a name being used at Penn State. Jay Graham should have stayed with Spurrier and and built a bigger name with a much better OL and running back talent. Now he risk being a one and done assistant also. UT should have made a change, next year will just add to the depth of destruction.

PHAT_VOL writes:

Finally the silence has been broken. Sounds like he knows what hes doing. Follows a set procedure.
Come on coach Dooley coach'm up.

Cobb_Webb_Attack writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

In the mean time good coaches like Malzahn, Weiss, Meyer,Jim Mora Jr, Kevin Sumlin, Freeze,
June Jones,and even Jeff Fisher will all be in new contracts and off the board next year. Kansas didnt waste time and now Gill is trying to get a job at Liberty College. On top of this no great assistants will come to Ut knowing Dooley is a lame duck coach and many times new staffs bring their own. Even Cutcliff is a name being used at Penn State. Jay Graham should have stayed with Spurrier and and built a bigger name with a much better OL and running back talent. Now he risk being a one and done assistant also. UT should have made a change, next year will just add to the depth of destruction.

Your list reminds me of most of my poker hands: two good ones (Meyer and Fisher) and a handful of maybe (everyone else). That said, the most proven college coach available will probably sit out another year or two: Jim Tressel. If there's another Saban, he's it.

mlynn1 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

In the mean time good coaches like Malzahn, Weiss, Meyer,Jim Mora Jr, Kevin Sumlin, Freeze,
June Jones,and even Jeff Fisher will all be in new contracts and off the board next year. Kansas didnt waste time and now Gill is trying to get a job at Liberty College. On top of this no great assistants will come to Ut knowing Dooley is a lame duck coach and many times new staffs bring their own. Even Cutcliff is a name being used at Penn State. Jay Graham should have stayed with Spurrier and and built a bigger name with a much better OL and running back talent. Now he risk being a one and done assistant also. UT should have made a change, next year will just add to the depth of destruction.

Weiss, did you say Weiss? Hell, he couldn't win at Notre Dame, he sure won't win at Kansas. By the way, why don't you apply for a head coaching position, I mean, since you know so much!

Dougb-VFL writes:

in response to Col26ca:

Every Program goes through tough times. It just seems we got hit all at once. All things will come to pass. If you really are a fan or alumni you will stick with them. If you just want to be trendy, go ahead and bash the Orange, and buy the T-shirt of the Flavor of the month. For me I've been all Vol since my Freshman year 1966 and with the Vols, Celtics, Steelers and Cardinals I will stay good years and bad.
GBO

Excellent post, I feel the same way and anyone that does not stick with their teams are fake fans and we don' need their support anyway. I am a die-hard fan of UT,Buffalo Bills, and the NewYorkKnicks and have been for over 20 years regardless of records!By the way if you like mma please watch the former defensive player for the vols Ovince St Preux dominate this Saturday night. VFL

voloffaith writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

In the mean time good coaches like Malzahn, Weiss, Meyer,Jim Mora Jr, Kevin Sumlin, Freeze,
June Jones,and even Jeff Fisher will all be in new contracts and off the board next year. Kansas didnt waste time and now Gill is trying to get a job at Liberty College. On top of this no great assistants will come to Ut knowing Dooley is a lame duck coach and many times new staffs bring their own. Even Cutcliff is a name being used at Penn State. Jay Graham should have stayed with Spurrier and and built a bigger name with a much better OL and running back talent. Now he risk being a one and done assistant also. UT should have made a change, next year will just add to the depth of destruction.

Thank ewe SYBIL for lending sanity to the conversation. What would we do if you didn't toss in your wooden nickel of criticism.....EVERY TIME! Maybe,just maybe Mr. Hart knows more about the biz than ewe do and understands when change is called for at the proper time. Knee jerk reactions get ewe a hurt knee......

NashvillePreds writes:

The fact that Hart has a pair, as compared to our last AD, at least offers some hope.

Please fix this f'ing mess of a sports program Mr. Hart.

LibertyVolance writes:

I would say the only negative we have right now is a negative fanbase on the internet. If we can submerge their constant negativity, then we will eventually emerge as winners. Go Vols!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

In the mean time good coaches like Malzahn, Weiss, Meyer,Jim Mora Jr, Kevin Sumlin, Freeze,
June Jones,and even Jeff Fisher will all be in new contracts and off the board next year. Kansas didnt waste time and now Gill is trying to get a job at Liberty College. On top of this no great assistants will come to Ut knowing Dooley is a lame duck coach and many times new staffs bring their own. Even Cutcliff is a name being used at Penn State. Jay Graham should have stayed with Spurrier and and built a bigger name with a much better OL and running back talent. Now he risk being a one and done assistant also. UT should have made a change, next year will just add to the depth of destruction.

Witch Doctor say and your hero Fulmers name is never mentioned...ever wonder why? seems not to be just a Tennessee thang.
Bones never lie.

voloffaith writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

The fact that Hart has a pair, as compared to our last AD, at least offers some hope.

Please fix this f'ing mess of a sports program Mr. Hart.

If we lose ewe hope emerges free and less caustic atmosphere to all. Go back to the frozen tundra and try and enjoy the Nashville hockey warriors ....ok?

FWBVol writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

In the mean time good coaches like Malzahn, Weiss, Meyer,Jim Mora Jr, Kevin Sumlin, Freeze,
June Jones,and even Jeff Fisher will all be in new contracts and off the board next year. Kansas didnt waste time and now Gill is trying to get a job at Liberty College. On top of this no great assistants will come to Ut knowing Dooley is a lame duck coach and many times new staffs bring their own. Even Cutcliff is a name being used at Penn State. Jay Graham should have stayed with Spurrier and and built a bigger name with a much better OL and running back talent. Now he risk being a one and done assistant also. UT should have made a change, next year will just add to the depth of destruction.

First of all, as a UT grad as well as former Liberty student, it's Liberty University, not Liberty College. Before it was Liberty University it was Liberty Baptist College.

Secondly, the name is Cutcliffe, not Cutcliff.

Hugh Freeze might turn out to be a great coach, but he has never won at a major college level. And this is Malzahn's first head coaching job so time will tell how he does at Arkansas State, which is hardly UT in the SEC.

I live in Florida and know several Florida fans. Last Thursday was a day of rejoicing for Gator fans as all of them I know were giddy over Charlie Weis leaving for Kansas.

Meyer, great coach, but he's a head case that probably won't last five years at Ohio State. Fisher has never been a college head coach and there's no certainty that he would be interested in coaching at the college level.

As for Jay Graham, I think a strong argument can be made that he is a great assistant coach with a bright future. If, by some chance, Dooley is terminated after next season, Graham is the kind of guy the next coach would probably want on his staff.

It's obvious from all of your posts that you are no UT fan. Heck, from what I can tell you probably shouldn't even be handicaping a third grade spelling bee.

hueypilot writes:

Professional Handicapper's gig is getting more tiresome by the minute. I like Hart's candor. Message to Dooley. Get to work. Time's a wasting. Your clock is ticking.

Classof72 writes:

"That particular performance on that particular day was unacceptable. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. Unacceptable. I'm sure Derek feels the same way, the players feel the same. Unacceptable."

Amen. And it wasn't the loss, it was the lack of focus, effort and commitment. Bear Bryant would have fielded a team of walk-ons before putting up with that stuff. If it keeps happening, Hart will have to do something about it. I like Dooley and hope Dooley takes care of it.

SATCHMOE writes:

I sure hope that Dooley reads this post and takes a few notes. Hart never said,Dooley, you are not a good football coach right now, or, Dooley, you are a bad coach right now, and Dooley,you and the rest of those coaches are not very good right now. Mr. Hart, thank you for being professional and very smart on how to handle people without demoralizing. I believe we will see better days ahead.

VOLinTX writes:

The AD's words sound good and about time for some type of comment. I hope for the University, the players and the fans that this is not idle press talk. Now Coach Dooley has to get high caliber players and coaches to compete in the SEC. The clock is running.

dvhill100 writes:

Well, notice has been served. If he has gone public, then you know he and CDD have had the "conversation". I wish for nothing but success for CDD and his staff and team. Having said that, AD DH has come from two very successful AD's at huge football schools (FL St and Alabama), so he knows what it takes to win and what has to be done to make it happen.

I like everything about him.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Orange_Juiced:

Glad he didnt' sugarcoat it. We all have to be accountable to someone at some point and if DH had come out saying all the fluff to protect or somehow justify...then no one is held accountable...at least in the public eye.

I still like Dooley...but he...and the staff and players need to know that DH has publicly drawn a line in the sand of sorts. This is unacceptable...and they need to know that so they can assess where they need to go from here.

So ... are you implying that Coach Dooley thought that the UK loss was acceptable? Read again what UTAD Hart said. Yes, a line was drawn. But Dooley and Hart stand on the same side of that line ... together.

And unlike the typical GVX poster ranting and raving on here, UTAD Dave Hart understands it is better to step back and look at the situation OBJECTIVELY rather than spouting off emotionally. Think about that before your next post.

Have a nice day.

GerryOP writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

In the mean time good coaches like Malzahn, Weiss, Meyer,Jim Mora Jr, Kevin Sumlin, Freeze,
June Jones,and even Jeff Fisher will all be in new contracts and off the board next year. Kansas didnt waste time and now Gill is trying to get a job at Liberty College. On top of this no great assistants will come to Ut knowing Dooley is a lame duck coach and many times new staffs bring their own. Even Cutcliff is a name being used at Penn State. Jay Graham should have stayed with Spurrier and and built a bigger name with a much better OL and running back talent. Now he risk being a one and done assistant also. UT should have made a change, next year will just add to the depth of destruction.

You didn't include your hero Phillip Fulmer in your list of "good coaches?" Good job!

Southland writes:

in response to mlynn1:

Weiss, did you say Weiss? Hell, he couldn't win at Notre Dame, he sure won't win at Kansas. By the way, why don't you apply for a head coaching position, I mean, since you know so much!

correct sir Weiss is one of the biggest and most expensive flops in college football coaching ever why would anyone think he can win on the college level. Poor Kansas they just thought they were bad but man are they going to suffer for a couple of years before they fire Weiss and try to recover

CRFVols writes:

I like his attitude and what he had to day. Hopefully he'll pan out better than Hammy.

I'm guessing some of you will criticize him since several of you all have criticized posters on here for being negative. Sounds like his thoughts were pretty negative following that loss too.

Vols17 writes:

I think Hart is the right man for the Job. Glad hammy is long gone.

volinlm writes:

Enough said. Let's move on.

Southland writes:

Coach Fulmer is a sad case. No doubt he can coach but what he is remembered for is his downfall at the end. It is amazing that no one seems the least bit interested in him even though his overall record is outstanding. He practically begged for three years to get a new job and no one even shows interest. I wished he would take a job at a lower level school and do a great job for someone. The man loves football and is a pretty good man and coach. I hate that he is simply cast aside and forgotten. There are a lot of coaches that never came close to doing as good a job as he did that get hired again and again-see Ron Zook and yet coach Fulmer doesnt even get considered.

GerryOP writes:

in response to volinlm:

Enough said. Let's move on.

Well said ...

tnsportsman writes:

in response to dvhill100:

Well, notice has been served. If he has gone public, then you know he and CDD have had the "conversation". I wish for nothing but success for CDD and his staff and team. Having said that, AD DH has come from two very successful AD's at huge football schools (FL St and Alabama), so he knows what it takes to win and what has to be done to make it happen.

I like everything about him.

Agree, I like everything about AD Dave Hart! AD Hart is No BS and has just served notice, WIN OR ELSE!

IMO and what I have been told, Dooley has 1 year and 1 year only to WIN! That’s 8 or 9 wins in 2012 or else! I really hope CDD does win this next season. IF not AD Hart will make a change.

Notice “Dooley” Served

GO VOLS ALWAYS!

8thmaximdotcom writes:

Looks like he knows Dooley won't make it.

doh writes:

in response to born2ride:

Hart needs to spend the money and bring in big names coaches who can turn football & basketball around immediately. Hamilton went the cheap route and we got stuck with coaches who can't win in the SEC.

The football program couldnt be turned around immediately. Kiffin did us no favor by getting rid of some much needed depth and his recruiting class wasnt very good. Dooley has to have a chance to get more players in before he can truly be judged. I hated losing to Kentucky as much as anyone. Next year should be better.

Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free writes:

in response to born2ride:

Hart needs to spend the money and bring in big names coaches who can turn football & basketball around immediately. Hamilton went the cheap route and we got stuck with coaches who can't win in the SEC.

That's the problem. Name a "big name" coach in football or basketball who would take or even find a head coaching position at ut attractive? Stuck in mediocrity and irrelevant. That's ut.

Voluvr writes:

My hope is that Dooley takes us to the top. If not, I say we go after the best coach that's underemployed OR at a place that won't attract the big time players to win a title. Offer Spurrier a homecoming retirement package to East Tennessee and at least double his pay for 7 yrs.

I still think he's the best coach in the game. He rewrote the book in college football. He would have come to UT if we didn't run the single wing. I would get into the orange visor business!

smokies_old_soul writes:

Mr. Hart sound solid - good to hear, though i still don't like an Alabama guy running our show - just does not sit right with me.

as for Dooley, yes, it's probably best to give some time, but what bothers me is not the wins & losses at this point, but that he stood idly by and allowed his players to showboat, berate coaches and staff and to poison the team with bad attitudes. even when his seniors came to him with concerns about the younger players, he actually tried to get them to handle it in the name of "getting the players to take ownership of their team." what a bunch of inane psycho-babble.

if i were the Head Coach and saw one of my players going off on a profanity-laced tirade against his position coach or even a student assistant, i would be in that kid's face so fast, his head would spin and you can bet he would be watching the rest of that game and probably some more from the sideline. Completely Unacceptable !!

givehim6 writes:

in response to BlueTickHound4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Like the way you put your post. UT does not need the King Henry the 8th rule, "If you do not like the coach, off with there head" Next.

vol49 writes:

Thanks Mr. Hart. The voice of reason. Refreshing to know there is a well thought out process in place and not a knee jerk reaction which could lead to even bigger issues. There are too many former coaches on the payroll as it is. I think the message has been properly delivered. I hope that message was properly received and understood by the current staff.

frblalack writes:

People on this site who continuously spew their ignorance by disparaging Coach Fulmer make me puke!

I was a freshman at UT in '65 when the program was rebuilding under Coach Dickey. I KNOW what a GREAT job Coach Fulmer did; anyone who thinks less is an absolute IDIOT! Obviously they are unable to read or understand success.

On another note, quite similarly we have the "Dooley Bashers"...these people are so pathetic in that they can't see the forest for the trees! Give Coach Dooley a genuine chance to succeed before you throw him AND the football program under the bus! Successful programs are built on continuity and they are not built overnight!

All Vols - All the time - Go Big Orange

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to Cobb_Webb_Attack:

Hart knows what he's doing: you evaluate after enough time has passed to make a meaningful comparison. If Dooley doesn't win enough games next year, he's fired. If he does win enough games (and finishes in encouraging fashion), he coaches the rest of his contract. In either case, Dooley will have rebuilt the player base through recruiting, steered the program without any NCAA adversity, and been a standup guy.

I don't get all the hate (Dooleave, etc.). If he sucks next year, he's gone... but the quick trigger firing kills programs: see Alabama in the 90's.

Forget Alabama. Simply look at the Fulmer mistake.

standfast#211788 writes:

It has been said that a good coach wins all the games he is supposed to win and some he is supposed to lose. Coach Majors lost a bunch of games he should have won and got fired. Coach Fulmer had great success early, but toward the end, started losing to teams he should have beaten. So far, Coach Dooley has won the games he was supposed to win – except Kentucky. That game sticks in everyone’s craw and will continue to do so until next season. Next year’s team needs a “signature win” – period. The fans need to see some progress. We need to beat Florida or Alabama or Georgia or somebody other than Middle Tennessee and Buffalo. It’s as simple as that!

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to LibertyVolance:

I would say the only negative we have right now is a negative fanbase on the internet. If we can submerge their constant negativity, then we will eventually emerge as winners. Go Vols!

Well we want no the extent of the size of the negative fan base until after the Florida game next year. That's shaping up to be Dooley's next must win at home in Neyland.

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