Sports writers, those learned pundits of relish and mustard from the press box, are still digesting the news that Mike Hamilton will leave the University of Tennessee's athletic director office on June 30 for good.
Their takes on Hamilton's exit with a pocketful of change and more run the gamut of conflicting viewpoints.
Fired basketball coach Bruce Pearl did Mike Hamilton in (not the firing, well, maybe the firing). Or was it the not firing until March?
The best (or is it the worst) thing he did was fire Phil Fulmer.
Had USC football coach Lane Kiffin worked out at Tennessee, he would have been a hero despite the obivously lack of rules compliance by the Lane crew. How'd that work out?
Hamilton's leaving is a last ditch gambit to convince the NCAA to allow the University of Tennessee to have a need for a mens' athletic department. Or is it the inevitable confluence of the planets.
It's so confusing when we set about being enlightened on the sports web.
See for yourself.
John Clay at the Lexington Herald Leader:
Come on, Tennessee, you sure know how to mess up a good thing.
As far as Kentucky fans were concerned, Mike Hamilton could be Tennessee's athletics director for life.
After all, what better way for the Big Blue Nation to deal with the pain of that long losing streak to the football Vols than watch the entire Rocky Top athletics program hit rock bottom.
David Climer of The Tennessean:
Even when SEC Commissioner Mike Slive came out with his eight-game suspension of Pearl, Hamilton never wavered. He supported Pearl until the 11th hour. Actually, it was more like the 11th hour, 59th minute.
Ultimately, that’s what cost Hamilton his job.
Gary Parish, CBSSports.com:
He said the following words: "I think today was inevitable."
Sure, Hamilton said lots more. He talked about his personal life and professional life, talked about his past and future and even quoted scripture. All in all, it was an OK performance. But the words that stood out most were the five from above because they suggested Hamilton recognized what he was up against even if he almost certainly recognized it later than most. You see, once Tennessee decided to split with Bruce Pearl because of Pearl's acknowledged NCAA violations it became obvious that Hamilton, the man who hired Pearl, wouldn't last.
Pat Forde of ESPN:
Well, it's about time.
Mike Hamilton resigned Tuesday as the men's athletic director at Tennessee. He stepped down a solid three months after he should have, when the NCAA notice of allegations was made public and his department was charged with violations in both men's basketball and football. And he stepped down nearly nine months after he reasonably could have, when basketball coach Bruce Pearl cried and said he lied and it was obvious that the Volunteers were in serious trouble.
Wes Rucker, GVX247.com:
But here’s my humble counterpoint: This isn’t a time for unbridled joy. It shouldn’t be, anyway.
UT will lose a good man on June 30. Hamilton is not a professionally perfect man, but he’s one of the better human beings I’ve come across while covering college sports’ most cutthroat conference.
Doug Gillett, SBNation.com:
Hamilton fiddled while Phil Fulmer allowed UT's football recruiting to turn into an '80s sitcom farce, and when the time came to replace him, Hamilton somehow managed to find the one guy in America who saw Tennessee's head coaching position merely as a stepping stone to someplace better.
Mark Bradley, AJC.com:
Derek Dooley’s job, which was never going to be easy, gets even tougher. He was a surprising hire in the first place, coming from Louisiana Tech after three seasons (two of them losing) to the massive stadium on the banks of the Tennessee River, and now the man who chose him is out. The son of Vince needs to win big soon, and with the talent at hand and post-Kiffin probation apt to descend, he might not be able.
Dennis Dodds, CBSSports.com:
The man who tried to renovate Tennessee athletics left a lot of blank drywall, but not for lack of trying. Pearl lied. Kiffin bailed. The man who hired them both, failed to sustain the momentum. The athletic department he leaves behind is still waiting to be picked over by the NCAA.
Ron Higgins, The Commerical Appeal:
He should have fired himself — and Pearl — back in September when Pearl admitted he lied to NCAA investigators. Before that, Kiffin ignored the NCAA rulebook from day one as coach after replacing the fired Phillip Fulmer, and Hamilton never did anything to reel him in, except allow Kiffin to hire the highest paid staff ($3.325 million annually) in school history.
The only thing the last few years that Hamilton did correctly was fire Fulmer. The stale program clearly needed a change, but Hamilton’s hiring of Kiffin ranks neck-and-neck with Ole Miss hiring Ed Orgeron as its football coach in 2005 as the two worst hires in SEC history.
We do know none of these writers will be the next athletic director of the University of Tennessee or even a successful palm reader on Alcoa Highway. Write that down. It's, as they say, inevitable.