John Adams: Want to be the AD? Then pass the test

John Adams

The search for Tennessee’s next athletic director is only a few weeks along, but I’m already discouraged.

Why? Because the search committee hasn’t sought my advice.

Perhaps the oversight can be attributed to stereotyping (i.e., the committee thinks my opinions are limited to after-the-fact critiques). Or maybe the committee doesn’t realize I have experience hiring people.

That experience isn’t limited to sorting out certified sociopaths from competent professionals in the interview process. I’m also adept at testing, as Kevin Ryan will attest.

Ryan is currently the editor-in-chief of 247sports.com, a flourishing website devoted to college sports. Our connection dates back to a copy editing test, which I devised and he took.

Although Ryan described the test as “crushing,” he did so well that he was offered the job on the spot. The test was subsequently deemed so difficult by a sports-department consensus that it was never imposed on another applicant. Ryan’s successful career now serves as a testament to the test’s validity.

I’m just as confident in my UT athletic director’s test, including the sample questions listed below. The test is designed to gauge a candidate’s ability to solve problems and think on his feet under deadline pressure. There are no right and wrong answers.

Candidates should be required to take the test orally in the presence of the search committee. Allow 30 seconds for each multiple-choice question, after which the candidates should be given another two minutes to explain the reasoning behind their answers.

1. Your football coach asks you to buy out of a non-conference game with Oregon because his program would run the risk of an embarrassing defeat. What would you tell him?

a. Our fans are accustomed to embarrassing defeats.

b. Recruit harder.

c. I’ll see if Buffalo is open that Saturday.

d. I realize our talent is still down, but you’re such a great coach that gives us a chance against anybody.

2. A local sports columnist writes that your football coach should be fired. How would you respond?

a. Fire the coach.

b. Call the publisher and threaten not to renew his sky-box seats unless he fires his sports columnist.

c. Call the columnist and tell him that — although you don’t always agree with him — you like his writing style.

d. Give the coach a $500,000 a year raise.

3. After your wife takes a job selling a new line of nutritional products, she asks you to facilitate sales to athletic department employees as well as student-athletes. What’s your reaction?

a. File for divorce.

b. Encourage athletic department personnel to take advantage of the dynamic new nutritional products now available to them at a discount price.

c. Inform athletic department personnel that for every $100 they spend on a certain new line of nutritional products, they will receive a $150 raise for the following school year.

d. Tell your wife the family can get by on one salary and emphasize what a dramatic impact she could have on the community by using her vast talents in volunteer work.

4. If you could save only one of the following from a burning building, who or what would it be?

a. Football coach Derek Dooley.

b. A wax figure of Peyton Manning.

c. A wax figure of Tee Martin.

d. Smokey.

5. Your basketball coach tells you he lied to an NCAA investigator about secondary violations. How do you handle the situation?

a. Have the team physician call NCAA officials and inform them your basketball coach is being treated for a psychological disorder that prevents him from telling the truth.

b. Offer the NCAA investigator a job in your compliance office at double his current salary.

c. Fire the coach immediately.

d. Give the coach a $500,000 a year raise and fire him at the end of the season.

6. A prominent detective agency offers its services free of charge to dig up dirt on the program of your choosing. Which program would you pick?

a. Alabama.

b. Florida.

c. Southern California.

d. Vanderbilt.

7. A major corporation offers you big bucks to put its name on your football stadium. What’s your next move?

a. Tell Mr. Big Business that Tennessee tradition isn’t for sale.

b. Offer the corporation naming rights to your football concession stands.

c. Try to convince the business to change its name to Neyland.

d. Give your football coach a $500,000 a year raise.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 57

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor like what you did here! Witch Doctor now only want to punch in belly with much weaker left hand.
Bones never lie.

Tau_of_Tennessee writes:

Where are the answers?

HallowedHill writes:

I heard you're always supposed to pick 'C' - do I get the job?

GO VOLS!

ncvol17 writes:

HUH?

HallowedHill writes:

Think of me as Mark Cuban without the money. :)

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say on serious note let the current have it. Witch Doctor say its really a bean counter job anyways. Witch Doctor say you have to have big business in to maintain competitiveness. Witch Doctor say dont hate the player, hate that game.
Bones never lie.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

It's heading into the dead of summer. Articles are difficult to find and harder to write. John tries diligently.

Having said that, yes,what are the answers?

John should be on a stage.............next stage out of town,

drum56 writes:

that's an all new low John Adams! What a piece of phooey!

vut56#231073 writes:

Say what?

People get paid to write this middle school banality?

Answer: guess they do.

OwensboroVol writes:

A close friend of mine who is a Florida Fan wrote me and wants the answer list. He thinks he may have answered at least 2 questions correctly. You guessed correctly. This is a Trick answer. First, no gator fan can read and write. So it is impossible for him to read the test or write his answers. Second, No Vol Fan has gator fans as friends.

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

Blow hard!

dave1#220678 writes:

When presented another John Adams column, you should do what?

A. Ignore it
B. Find some bones that lie.
C. Hope it is his farewell column
D. Pound the fritter
E. All of the above

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor like what you did here! Witch Doctor now only want to punch in belly with much weaker left hand.
Bones never lie.

Have you ever considered sketch comedy?

EarlThePearl writes:

8. A Knoxville Sports Writer Pens an Article that reaches a new low for Lack of Humor when trying to be Funny. Who would you hire as his joke Writer?

A. Henny Youngman, he only had 2 jokes but they were both more interesting than this article. Deceased he is funnier than Adams.

B. Nick Saban - again funnier than Adams.

C. John Adams Cat - He/she makes really good weekly picks in the Football Pool.

D. Bill Belichek - That Hoodie sure is funny.

All joking aside, I know Adams is the Sports Editor but does anyone Proofread these articles before publication? I remember in the Movie "All The Presidents Men" they had a round table of 6 to 10 people give their opinions on Articles before they were released. I know this is not Watergate but this article reaches a new low. Bring back the guy that wrote the Grover Glick article back in the 70's.

Observer43 writes:

Jeeze Adams you really are sucking at writing these days. Maybe it's time for a new Sports Editor.

GOJO writes:

in response to Tau_of_Tennessee:

Where are the answers?

********
John Adams does not give answers or solve problems; he just creates problems & gives answers after the fact.

Razor784 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor like what you did here! Witch Doctor now only want to punch in belly with much weaker left hand.
Bones never lie.

This one comment was funnier than Adams' entire article

Bigger_Al writes:

Did Adams get fired in the recent Gannett carnage? If not, why not?

Voluvr writes:

JOHN: I'm curious, are you guys up there laughing at this stuff? These jabs to make fun of an organization that is your employers lifeblood is so arrogant. If UT was a Div. 2 school the KNS would be smaller than the Beacon.

Maybe we should come up with a test to see who should write for GVX and KNS?

We should have hired Bobby Knight as a coach. Then, we'd see some respect coming out of the big BOX over there and you would have to answer for stuff like this.

Voluvr writes:

John, I bet out of your other face you call the people over there your friends. Dont' kid yourself into thinking that's mutual.

This stuff is sniveling.

Voluvr writes:

I really lost a lot of respect for you on this one. From now on, I'm not reading anymore personal opinion, or satirical attempts.

Hamilton was respectful of you guys at the parting.

I'm serious, you should apologize for this one.

Voluvr writes:

I think everyone on here should call for an apology for this cheapshot. I'm calling for it right now.

tovolny writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Vols,

It's heading into the dead of summer. Articles are difficult to find and harder to write. John tries diligently.

Having said that, yes,what are the answers?

John should be on a stage.............next stage out of town,

Perfect! Perfect! Perfect!

Notice the time of his posting. I guess it took him all day to grind it out.

I will have a party at the Copper Cellar the next day after he leaves Knoxville. You're invited. The Copper Cellar is still there...right?

tovolny writes:

in response to Voluvr:

I think everyone on here should call for an apology for this cheapshot. I'm calling for it right now.

I'm with you.

LJS1984 writes:

I'M WONDERING IF JOHN ISN'T HINTING AT SOMETHING HERE and you people are too interested in blasting him and can't figure it out? Did Hamilton threaten to pull a skybox from a publisher? More importantly, did Hamilton and his wife push nutritional products on employees and athletes? Some of you may not be able to catch subtle hints and I think Adams is toying with your intelligence. There is obviously more to this story. Meanwhile, he is getting the last laugh at all of you bashing him while it seems he knows he has inside information on the old AD. He understands that if he writes an article that half of you can't figure out what he's getting at. Too preoccupied forming your own opinions about him.

LJS1984 writes:

in response to LJS1984:

I'M WONDERING IF JOHN ISN'T HINTING AT SOMETHING HERE and you people are too interested in blasting him and can't figure it out? Did Hamilton threaten to pull a skybox from a publisher? More importantly, did Hamilton and his wife push nutritional products on employees and athletes? Some of you may not be able to catch subtle hints and I think Adams is toying with your intelligence. There is obviously more to this story. Meanwhile, he is getting the last laugh at all of you bashing him while it seems he knows he has inside information on the old AD. He understands that if he writes an article that half of you can't figure out what he's getting at. Too preoccupied forming your own opinions about him.

P.S. Just a conspiracy, but do you really think he can make some of that stuff up? Most of you bash his intelligence and writing ability all the time. Where would he come up with the AD's wife selling nutritional products, and the AD pulling a skybox? Must have gotten it somewhere. Right?

drgrover63#210462 writes:

Nutritional Supplement. Think Doug Dickey.

FWBVol writes:

in response to LJS1984:

I'M WONDERING IF JOHN ISN'T HINTING AT SOMETHING HERE and you people are too interested in blasting him and can't figure it out? Did Hamilton threaten to pull a skybox from a publisher? More importantly, did Hamilton and his wife push nutritional products on employees and athletes? Some of you may not be able to catch subtle hints and I think Adams is toying with your intelligence. There is obviously more to this story. Meanwhile, he is getting the last laugh at all of you bashing him while it seems he knows he has inside information on the old AD. He understands that if he writes an article that half of you can't figure out what he's getting at. Too preoccupied forming your own opinions about him.

It was actually Doug Dickey's wife that was selling, if I remember correctly, Shaklee products.

I don't know how long you've been reading John Adams' stuff, but he seems to be constantly takign shots at the UT athletic department. And while I don't like a lot of what Adams writes, I understand that while the UT beat -- sports, business and education -- is probably the single largest story source for the KNS, the paper has no ties to UT.

I would have much less respect for the News Sentinel if it became a homer newspaper that praised all things UT and I say that as a Tennessee College of Communications graduate and a member of the media.

Every comment on this column and other columns and stories drives advertising sales and the bottom line is in this day when newspapers across the country are hurting every comment and dollar helps.

As a Tennessee fan I don't always agree or like what John Adams writes, but as a member of the media I have no problem with what he writes as the freedom of the press is not bound by popular opinion.

Voluvr writes:

in response to LJS1984:

I'M WONDERING IF JOHN ISN'T HINTING AT SOMETHING HERE and you people are too interested in blasting him and can't figure it out? Did Hamilton threaten to pull a skybox from a publisher? More importantly, did Hamilton and his wife push nutritional products on employees and athletes? Some of you may not be able to catch subtle hints and I think Adams is toying with your intelligence. There is obviously more to this story. Meanwhile, he is getting the last laugh at all of you bashing him while it seems he knows he has inside information on the old AD. He understands that if he writes an article that half of you can't figure out what he's getting at. Too preoccupied forming your own opinions about him.

I understand what you're saying. This isn't the creativity of George Plimpton here. Even still it's akin to both Schapp's throwing Bobby Fisher under the bus after they're careers are due to Fisher allowing them close to him. Fisher was brillant and was one actually DOING something rather than making fun and criticizing those that DO, to draw a parallel. No, he's not toying with anyone, he's being disrespectful to those he pretends to befriend for his own gain.

This was a low blow and very unnecessary.

If there's nothing to write about right now I would like to see a bio of each sport's writers personal athletic experience.

He still should apologize.

VOLinATL writes:

You can tell it is in the middle of summer...not much to write about. But John, even for you, this is snarky.

mac_b_from_tn writes:

It's been 3 years since the football coach you loathe was fired. Do you

a. Get over it and move on.
b. Squeeze every mile out of the fact that you two had a beef.
b. Write snarky columns dredging up the past.
c. Give Kevin Ryan a $500,000 raise.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

It was actually Doug Dickey's wife that was selling, if I remember correctly, Shaklee products.

I don't know how long you've been reading John Adams' stuff, but he seems to be constantly takign shots at the UT athletic department. And while I don't like a lot of what Adams writes, I understand that while the UT beat -- sports, business and education -- is probably the single largest story source for the KNS, the paper has no ties to UT.

I would have much less respect for the News Sentinel if it became a homer newspaper that praised all things UT and I say that as a Tennessee College of Communications graduate and a member of the media.

Every comment on this column and other columns and stories drives advertising sales and the bottom line is in this day when newspapers across the country are hurting every comment and dollar helps.

As a Tennessee fan I don't always agree or like what John Adams writes, but as a member of the media I have no problem with what he writes as the freedom of the press is not bound by popular opinion.

Please, don't interject rational thought again.

arkyvol writes:

haven't sought your advice yet, john?

hang in there. just as soon as they've finished canvassing every honky-tonk, laundromat, and bus depot in knoxville. precedence, you know.

rootin4volz writes:

2. A local sports columnist writes that your football coach should be fired. How would you respond?

a. Fire the coach.

b. Call the publisher and threaten not to renew his sky-box seats unless he fires his sports columnist.

c. Call the columnist and tell him that — although you don’t always agree with him — you like his writing style.

d. Give the coach a $500,000 a year raise.

The answer is most definitely B. Particularly if said columnist is John Adams.

NashvillePreds writes:

Funny

Volunatic writes:

Pretty funny test. It would be nice to have an athletic director who could pass it, though.

Volunatic writes:

in response to wallandhiker:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't know where you'd get a crazy notion like that one. It was a purely hypothetical situation, just like with all the other questions.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Voluvr:

I think everyone on here should call for an apology for this cheapshot. I'm calling for it right now.

I'm going to hold my breath until the apology is given.
Seriously, though-- this is just a typical John Adams column. No one is forcing you to read these. Sometimes his columns irritate me, too, but life's too short to worry about them much.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Did Adams get fired in the recent Gannett carnage? If not, why not?

Well, for one thing, he is employed by E. W. Scripps, not Gannett.

VolMoment writes:

in response to Voluvr:

I think everyone on here should call for an apology for this cheapshot. I'm calling for it right now.

I agree. Someone said the people who post here should give a test to decide who will be the KNS sports editor. John would fail mighty. What ajoke he is. Another postor is right , the KNS would not exist any larger than the Beacon if UT wasn't here. Garnett please remove John Adams.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to Volunatic:

Well, for one thing, he is employed by E. W. Scripps, not Gannett.

Well, ok, but is that the only reason?

Volunatic writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

Well, ok, but is that the only reason?

People read his columns. Readers attract advertising dollars. E. W. Scripps shareholders expect their company to be profitable.

nwcs writes:

I wonder how many people are like me. I only read these columns because the silly insults people throw at Adams can be so laughably funny. Seriously, if those people who actually and truly don't like Adams' columns would stop commenting I think readership would fall.

KevDVol writes:

I've got a good question:

Who do I call at the Knoxville News Sentinel to get the last 5 minutes of my life back?

VOLinATL writes:

At least we all know the correct answer to question 4: SMOKEY!!

bUTchVFL writes:

This article actually made me laugh.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Tau_of_Tennessee:

Where are the answers?

On Fulmer's laptop.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say on serious note let the current have it. Witch Doctor say its really a bean counter job anyways. Witch Doctor say you have to have big business in to maintain competitiveness. Witch Doctor say dont hate the player, hate that game.
Bones never lie.

That would be about right. Chris Rock said that too.

bonescat writes:

If the possible answers to question 4 are A. Jesus B. Smokey, then that question is tough. In its current state, it is a no brainer. Sorry DD, we still love you.

Colliervol writes:

Want to be a sports columnist? Pass a third grade test and you can be one.

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