Mike Strange: Lack of title hunts awaits new AD

Mike Strange

Back in August, every college team in every sport ostensibly began the 2010-11 school year with the goal of winning a national championship.

In some cases, the goal was realistic. In others, merely theoretical.

Now, we’re down to our last week, our last sport and our last two teams standing. Either Florida or South Carolina will win the NCAA baseball title this week in Omaha.

It will be, by my count, the 37th championship awarded (at the Division I level) this academic year (36 by the NCAA, one by the BCS). Tennessee, you probably noticed, didn’t win any of them.

That’s not intended as a blanket indictment. Texas didn’t win any, either. Nor did LSU, Michigan or Florida State, to name a few big-budget operators.

Still, you try.

UT’s most recent NCAA title was in women’s indoor track and field in 2009. Before that, Pat Summitt’s women went back-to-back in basketball, 2007-08.

It’s worth looking at a broad perspective because the athletic department sits at a crossroad.

In a matter of weeks, a new athletic director will be on board. Furthermore, he (presumably a he) will for the first time direct a combined men’s and women’s department.

What exactly is he (presumably a he) inheriting? In what shape is UT’s ship?

Frankly, it’s been in better shape.

Men’s football and basketball face NCAA penalties. Between the white lines, they face considerable competitive obstacles.

Baseball is rebuilding from the dugout up. Men’s track has dropped a baton.

On the other hand, a number of sports are solid. A few are even national contenders. Men’s tennis was the NCAA runner-up in 2010. That’s as close as the Vols got to a national title on outgoing AD Mike Hamilton’s eight-year watch.

Softball will be a marquee program as long as Ralph and Karen Weekly are around. Women’s basketball remains an icon.

For every UT team, the primary goal should be an SEC title. If you can rise to the top in this league you are in the conversation for a national championship.

The SEC has claimed five national titles this year and will inevitably add a sixth this week.

If the Gators prevail, it will be their third, to go with men’s indoor track and women’s tennis.

Auburn took its turn in the SEC national football championship rotation. Alabama won women’s gymnastics.

Kentucky is the NCAA rifle champion. No word on how many one-and-dones were on the roster.

You may have missed this, but Vanderbilt’s hoped-for return to the bowling throne was thwarted by Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Elsewhere, Ohio State won it all in men’s volleyball. A tattoo scandal is presumed to follow.

Some champions are hardly a surprise — Southern Cal in water polo or Colorado’s 17th title in skiing. Stanford in any non-revenue sport.

Others make you wonder. Akron in men’s soccer? Texas A&M in women’s basketball?

Let’s hear it for the little guys. Minnesota-Duluth in ice hockey. Augusta State — repeating, no less — in men’s golf.

And let’s hear it for the SEC one last time this week in Omaha. Choose your flavor: Gators or Gamecocks?

Tennessee fans, meanwhile, can only wonder where the next title might come from.

First, though, they have to find out who the new boss is.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 39

SummittsCourt writes:

I beleive the Lady Vols basketball team will win the next championship.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

Vandy must of pulled a "MUNSON" and choked on the lanes!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Doom!!! Despair! and agony on me!

Jediphysics writes:

in response to jrod:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'd say some of them have a shot of doing it (da dum... ching!)

VolMoment writes:

What a useless article.

VolzsFan writes:

And is any of this a surprise? Tennessee has two National Titles in football and only one legit one. Zero in men's basketball and zero in men's baseball. This is not a championship program. Never has been and never will be. Accept the fact that UT is a mediocre bridesmaid and enjoy the tailgates and big crowds. Just do not expect any championships in any of the sports that matter ever. Anyone that holds them to that standard does not know their history.

tovolny writes:

This sounds like John Adams wrote this for Mike. The Headline, however, looks like one of MIKE'S.

JOHN Adams writes stuff like this to make fun of UT under the guise of comedy. He laughs, we curse...that's funny to him.

OwensboroVol writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

And is any of this a surprise? Tennessee has two National Titles in football and only one legit one. Zero in men's basketball and zero in men's baseball. This is not a championship program. Never has been and never will be. Accept the fact that UT is a mediocre bridesmaid and enjoy the tailgates and big crowds. Just do not expect any championships in any of the sports that matter ever. Anyone that holds them to that standard does not know their history.

I accept the fact that the primary purpose of the University of Tennessee is to educate young people and then award degree's for those who are successful. The purpose of Sports is to provide and increase school spirit and school pride. The main way a fan can help his/her school is to cheer the team on be there to celebrate wins and morn loses. If you do that long enough you will be around for a special season occasionally when the talent and luck come together and a National Championship is won. This is a wonderful occasion which should be celebrated not expected. I maybe wrong but from your posting I don't believe that you are a Tennessee Student, Fan, or supporter. So let me explain this to you in a manner which I hope you can understand. It doesn't matter to me if Tennessee ever wins another game, much less a national championship, so I hope you can understand this, I'm big orange bred, big orange born, big orange raised, and when I die I'll be Big Orange Dead!

Simply_Orange51 writes:

Championships are all the more sweeter after years of not winning. To all the Vol faithful - patience......it has happened in our past - it will happen again in our future - and I, for one, hope to be there to enjoy it...... Go Vols

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

And is any of this a surprise? Tennessee has two National Titles in football and only one legit one. Zero in men's basketball and zero in men's baseball. This is not a championship program. Never has been and never will be. Accept the fact that UT is a mediocre bridesmaid and enjoy the tailgates and big crowds. Just do not expect any championships in any of the sports that matter ever. Anyone that holds them to that standard does not know their history.

You failed at being a troll. That must be depressing lol.

AHoffman writes:

The future of the University of Tennessee is academics not athletics.

tmartin writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

I beleive the Lady Vols basketball team will win the next championship.

Did Geno retire?

Hounddawg writes:

21st

utvolfan writes:

Remember the bumper sticker that said "Tennessee: Where men are men and women are champions"?

maciste54 writes:

Tenn."We'll be back !"
Me "Please hurry !" :-)

stevefrommemphis writes:

The fact that leaving AD's get $1.3 million over 3 years should help keep that new AD satisfied.

jdcdjc writes:

in response to tmartin:

Did Geno retire?

What goes around comes around, we had him before he had us, now it's our turn again, geno don't ha ve to retire, just stop lieing and cheating!!!

murrayvol writes:

in response to jdcdjc:

What goes around comes around, we had him before he had us, now it's our turn again, geno don't ha ve to retire, just stop lieing and cheating!!!

Not a chance.

arkyvol writes:

inasmuch as the last a.d. couldn't find his you know what in a bathtub with a bar of soap, i'd say that the bar has been left pretty low for his successor. lest anyone wonder how really bad it was, just compare ms. cronan's selection of a baseball coach with hammy's choice. the difference is that stark. hammy would be a great buyer for walmart. he has that cut rate, bargain rack mentality bred into him.

arkyvol writes:

"On the other hand, a number of sports are solid. A few are even national contenders."

oh yeah. how's our tiddly-winks team doing?

utvolfan writes:

in response to arkyvol:

"On the other hand, a number of sports are solid. A few are even national contenders."

oh yeah. how's our tiddly-winks team doing?

I don't think Pat will appreciatae this!

AHoffman writes:

in response to utvolfan:

Remember the bumper sticker that said "Tennessee: Where men are men and women are champions"?

A classic.

powellvol82 writes:

in response to Jediphysics:

I'd say some of them have a shot of doing it (da dum... ching!)

hahaha good one

Theo writes:

in response to tmartin:

Did Geno retire?

No. But, neither did Muffit McGraw. Geno is now number 2 in the Big East.

NYvolFan writes:

Thanks Mike. The Rifle team note was funny!

tmartin writes:

in response to Theo:

No. But, neither did Muffit McGraw. Geno is now number 2 in the Big East.

He is still leaps and bounds beyond CPS.

tmartin writes:

in response to arkyvol:

inasmuch as the last a.d. couldn't find his you know what in a bathtub with a bar of soap, i'd say that the bar has been left pretty low for his successor. lest anyone wonder how really bad it was, just compare ms. cronan's selection of a baseball coach with hammy's choice. the difference is that stark. hammy would be a great buyer for walmart. he has that cut rate, bargain rack mentality bred into him.

I agree that the new selection was much better than the previous one. However, if you think Cronan had anything to do with this hire, I have some ocean front property in Arizona I would like you to look at.

VolNExile writes:

What on earth is the hurry to get a permanent AD? Again, I see no reason to jump into this before the NCAA coughs up whatever their findings will be.

It's hard to believe that good candidates will be interested until that happens.

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to 99ss:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm calling him a troll because he obviously was trying to rile up Tennessee fans telling us to accept the fact that we are a mediocre. Understand that in no way UT is mediocre. He knew this, so he made an inciting comment to try and get some responses to fill the void is in his already pathetic life.

He's a troll, and your snarky comments at me won't change that. Thank you.

Biggie writes:

in response to VolMoment:

What a useless article.

What a useless comment.

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to RockyTopRenegade:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I thought so too. Either that, or it's his boyfriend. No true Vol fan, or really anybody, would ever consider us mediocre except for sociopathic trolls.

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A Florida troll telling someone to be classy?

Pot, thou own color is black

Munsterlander writes:

in response to thetrollhunter:

A Florida troll telling someone to be classy?

Pot, thou own color is black

Truly the silly season with nothing interesting to write about or discuss.

I think UT could still possibly win a NC in grammar policing, and in that spirit I must point out that the possessive form of 'thou' would be 'thine'. Or perhaps this was gangsta old English - as in, "Pot, you own color is black".

Yeah, I can't wait for the season to start. And don't go off on me, I'm just goofing around and bored out of my wits...

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to Munsterlander:

Truly the silly season with nothing interesting to write about or discuss.

I think UT could still possibly win a NC in grammar policing, and in that spirit I must point out that the possessive form of 'thou' would be 'thine'. Or perhaps this was gangsta old English - as in, "Pot, you own color is black".

Yeah, I can't wait for the season to start. And don't go off on me, I'm just goofing around and bored out of my wits...

Damn my lack of medieval linguistic knowledge. You win sir.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Munsterlander:

Truly the silly season with nothing interesting to write about or discuss.

I think UT could still possibly win a NC in grammar policing, and in that spirit I must point out that the possessive form of 'thou' would be 'thine'. Or perhaps this was gangsta old English - as in, "Pot, you own color is black".

Yeah, I can't wait for the season to start. And don't go off on me, I'm just goofing around and bored out of my wits...

I would vote for "thy" in that context, as in "thy will be done" in the Lord's Prayer. On the other hand, there is the line in the old poem, "to thine own self be true", so what do I know?

So true about the silly season! When does fall football practice start?

Huttdawg100 writes:

NC's are hard to come by. There can be only one. I think you've got to be competitive, and when the opportunity to get one, you've got to strike while the iron is hot. Plus, you've gotta have some luck along the way.

crockett1836 writes:

in response to tmartin:

He is still leaps and bounds beyond CPS.

Geno told Maya Moore that CPS "liked women" ..what a display of coaching dominance.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to thetrollhunter:

A Florida troll telling someone to be classy?

Pot, thou own color is black

Trollhunter and Vol fans,

Time for the daily description of a troll such as the "precious one" and sidekicks:

According to the computer definition of a troll:

"A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.

So Jack from the Staff........what say you? Are they plants or legitimate trolls?

UTKin1992 writes:

The Stanford comment was beautiful!

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