Mike Hamilton's status not questioned

Cheek says 'he's our athletic director'

Cuonzo Martin speaks to reporters during a news conference as athletic director Mike Hamilton, left, listens, Monday, March 28, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn., after Martin was named the new men's head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee replacing Bruce Pearl. Martin was head coach at Missouri State, an assistant at Purdue and a college basketball player.

Photo by Wade Payne, Associated Press

Cuonzo Martin speaks to reporters during a news conference as athletic director Mike Hamilton, left, listens, Monday, March 28, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn., after Martin was named the new men's head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee replacing Bruce Pearl. Martin was head coach at Missouri State, an assistant at Purdue and a college basketball player.

AD Mike Hamilton on the end of Bruce Pearl's career at UT

Mike Hamilton expected at least two questions when the coaching candidates he was interviewing got a chance to return fire.

The first one was obvious, and the Tennessee athletic director had to clear what he could reveal about the ongoing NCAA investigation beforehand.

And the second never actually came up at all.

Neither Cuonzo Martin nor any of the unnamed coaches who didn't get his new job asked how long they could expect Hamilton to be their boss at UT. And during Martin's press conference on Monday in the Ray Mears Room after Hamilton formally introduced him with the Vols, there were really no indications whatsoever that their time working together could be short.

"I expected it, frankly, but we didn't have any," Hamilton said of questions about his job security. "There were a couple questions about NCAA issues, but other than that, there were no questions about campus leadership, athletic department leadership or anything of that nature.

"You know, a guy like Cuonzo, he was most concerned about being in a place where he felt like he could win and that he would have the right kind of resources to win. Frankly, he didn't ask a whole lot of questions about the issues with the NCAA because he wanted to be at the University of Tennessee."

Now that he's officially there after leaving Missouri State for a five-year deal at UT, potential sanctions from the NCAA conceivably could impact how much and how quickly Martin is able to win with the Vols.

But regardless of the early returns, it would appear Hamilton will be around to see how his latest hire fares after UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek again voiced his support for the athletic director.

"I think if you look at this hire we just made, we really made an excellent hire - Mike Hamilton is behind it," Cheek said. "He's the one that made the decision. He asked me to come in and look at Cuonzo, and I did. I said, 'This is the person I think we ought to hire.'

"(Hamilton) made that decision, so I have confidence in his decision-making ability. He's our athletic director."

With that public support from the administration and a new coach in tow, the next step is moving on to the case with the NCAA and figuring out what limitations, if any, Martin will be facing.

The time line for knowing the exact penalties and the severity of them still is unclear, though UT does have its date with the Committee on Infractions on the schedule in June. That uncertainty might have made finding a replacement for Bruce Pearl more challenging in the aftermath of the Notice of Allegations UT received last month, which included 10 violations from Pearl's tenure.

Hamilton could offer no guarantees about the eventual verdict from the NCAA to anybody he interviewed. But Martin, for one, apparently didn't hear anything that would dissuade him from passing on the Vols. And should he inherit restrictions on recruiting, a ban on postseason play or a reduction on scholarships, Martin also has some insurance built into a contract that will add a year for each season of punishment he faces.

"I wouldn't necessarily say (there was) hesitancy, I would say more of asking questions," Martin said. "I think that was the most important thing for me, then also it was a great opportunity. After that, there wasn't a lot of reservation at all.

"For one, it's a great job. It's a great opportunity, has great tradition, great history, it's in a great league. But for me, as far as the NCAA is concerned, Mike assured me everything will work out, and I support that 100 percent. Whatever happens with the NCAA, I'm here to coach a ball team and be successful doing it. I'm really not concerned or worried with what the NCAA has to do, what they have to say, we'll just kind of wait and see what happens. For right now, I want to try to coach these quality young men to be successful."

Martin can start that process right now as he begins to shape the program in his image. Any limitations he might eventually have to deal with along the way have yet to be determined. But for now, it appears Hamilton will continue to be around to offer some help.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward

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Comments » 149

SummittsCourt writes:

Great, we fans have to endure more bad decisions from someone who is obviously out of his league. Maybe the football team and basketball team will win despite their AD. Dooley and Martin have their work cut out for them for sure.

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

I cant take mike hamilton seriously anymore, anything he says I am going to boooo, laugh in his face, and assume whatever he is doing is only for money reasons.

hallsguy writes:

WOuld you ask your prospective boss during an interview what his expectancy for keeping his job was?
Probably why they hired the guy because he didn't know to ask. Plus he probably didn't have an agent to vet the job first.
Now he may be a good hire but Hammy still has to go regardless and PDQ.

cloudodust writes:

So much for justice. Guess I'll turn the other Cheek...Naw, Fire Hammy. Reckon it boils down to Cheek being a lackey for the big donor bucks. Sell out...

12Hours writes:

I really don't think Mike gives a rats about what any of you part time, fair weather, non donating "fans" think.
His bosses and many true fans see that he has done some great things for UT.
If we could all have the knowledge upfront that comes in hind sight, some of you would have never been concieved.
Go ahead and boo and laugh in his face. Your mama will wish she had that hindsight on you.

ReVolver writes:

"assume what he is doing is for money reasons'. Of course, numbskull...he has to run the frickin athletic department and make money for it. Why do you go to work?

"good hire but Hammy still has to go"....why? He found a great coach in Pearl, a promising coach in Martin. Are your feelings still hurt by our little football experiment that went Hollywood?

abnerPeabody writes:

Why ask a lot of questions when you are getting a two million dollar pay raise.He would have had to coach his team 10 years to get what he will get coaching the Vols one year.

tennessee47 writes:

At least this coach has family. What i heard that he by the book.

balloonman writes:

David Blackburn should be the new AD....he has proven to be more than capable and has the support of all the factions at UT....smooth transition.....wake up Cheek and Haslam before someone else steals him!

AlphaMan writes:

Hamilton is the perfect bureaucrat. This hire had more to do with saving his tail than finding the best coach.

Martin may turn out to be a fine hire.
But that's a huge maybe. Frankly, he simply wasn't the best available today. (See: http://www.backingthepack.com/2011/2/...)

He was, however, the best "politically correct" one available.

So what's the final score?

- Hamilton wins and keeps his job (for now).
- Martin wins, he gets the job.
- Cheek wins, he's protected in his job.
- The rest of us loose.

Actually we might loose or we might win. Frankly, none of us have the foggiest idea. This guy is so completely unproven at this level, who knows what'll happen. But then that issue wasn't exactly at the top of their agenda.

So thank you Mike and Jimmy. On behalf of a very large percentage of the Vol Nation, we appreciate your deep commitment to political correctness and self-preservation.

Hey, maybe we'll get you the next time around.

gwvolfan11 writes:

Mike Hamilton also said he was behind Pearl. Cheek is saying he supports Mike Hamilton . So when will Mike be fired

AlphaMan writes:

in response to 12Hours:

I really don't think Mike gives a rats about what any of you part time, fair weather, non donating "fans" think.
His bosses and many true fans see that he has done some great things for UT.
If we could all have the knowledge upfront that comes in hind sight, some of you would have never been concieved.
Go ahead and boo and laugh in his face. Your mama will wish she had that hindsight on you.

Thanks 12Hours. You just make my point (see previous post).

tovolny writes:

I saw over 600 posts in the last two days and seems to me most questioned Mike Hamilton's ability to manage the hiring and firing of coaches. Mike Hamilton never fitted the University of Tennessee. When he was hired and to this day, he appears to be an outsider. At least this is the feeling among the fans and alumni with whom I associate. I think Cheek should have stayed in the background and let Hamilton portray the "man in charge." With Cheek intering stage right, Hamiltons credibility is questioned...in drama, this means the plot thickens.

What was baseball, football, basketball, tennis, track and swimming like before Hamilton? What are these sports like now?
Would the facilities have been updated with another AD on the job? Can you name, just off the top of your head, the AD at Alabama, Auburn, Florida, North Carolina, Duke, or South Carolina?
If you asked fans of the above mentioned schools, do you think they would know who the AD is at UT? I am not predicting anything here...just asking questions.

Does what we as fans and alumni think have any impact on our (what's his name again) AD's decisions? Again...just asking questions.

BillsBrother writes:

in response to 12Hours:

I really don't think Mike gives a rats about what any of you part time, fair weather, non donating "fans" think.
His bosses and many true fans see that he has done some great things for UT.
If we could all have the knowledge upfront that comes in hind sight, some of you would have never been concieved.
Go ahead and boo and laugh in his face. Your mama will wish she had that hindsight on you.

And that is why he is a lousy AD.

Hammy doesn't give a rats about the students, the alumni, the fans in the State of Tennessee. He cares only about the donors.

A beautiful stadium with empty seats on Saturday is not much of an accomplishment.

Rissio123 writes:

I don't understand all these negative comments. If you go to football and basketball games, all you find are people enjoying themselves. As far as football, CDD may be the best ever. Some reporters are paid to find and report negative comments, but I have researched and I have not found one single negative issue about CDD. Think about the microscope he has been under. Not only is he a great coach, but he is clearly a man of character. He is a recruiting dream. What parent would not encourage their kid to play for him? The kid will begin adulthood a man, and may win a championship along the way. Isn't that what it is all about? Coach Martin seems to be starting out similar to CDD. I believe both sports will do well. Thinking positive and posting positive will win out in the short and long term. Support these men!!!!

VOLSMAN1999 writes:

in response to 12Hours:

I really don't think Mike gives a rats about what any of you part time, fair weather, non donating "fans" think.
His bosses and many true fans see that he has done some great things for UT.
If we could all have the knowledge upfront that comes in hind sight, some of you would have never been concieved.
Go ahead and boo and laugh in his face. Your mama will wish she had that hindsight on you.

good post Mrs Hamilton or is it Mrs Cheeks

UofTNVol writes:

We are still one of only 15 universities with an athletic program operating in the black during hard times. The pitchfork-wielding mob needs to put their big boy pants back on and get a grip.

Knoxville is starting to sounds like Salem, MA circa 1692. All KNS is interested in is destroying our school.

everydayisorange writes:

I have a few questions for the fans that don't like the hire of our new coach. Is the fact that this coach is a man of color have anything to do with it? Is it because Hamilton made the hire? Is it because of the short time career of our coach? Do you think that someone with more experience should have been hired? Do you think UT should have retained Pearl and excepted the sanctions, what ever that may be? Will you ever except any hire by Hamilton, no matter how successful they may be? These are questions that I would like to know for any fans that want to answer. Just curious!

govols1234567 writes:

Man.. and we were so close

AlphaMan writes:

in response to everydayisorange:

I have a few questions for the fans that don't like the hire of our new coach. Is the fact that this coach is a man of color have anything to do with it? Is it because Hamilton made the hire? Is it because of the short time career of our coach? Do you think that someone with more experience should have been hired? Do you think UT should have retained Pearl and excepted the sanctions, what ever that may be? Will you ever except any hire by Hamilton, no matter how successful they may be? These are questions that I would like to know for any fans that want to answer. Just curious!

OK. Here's the issue...

What Vol fans wanted was the very best possible coach out there. Not the best best politically correct coach. Not the best coach for saving Hamilton's rear. And not the best minority coach.

Just the best coach. Period.

Rather than take their time to connect with more top candidates (including perhaps some still in the tournament), they took the easy, politically safe, mid-major way out.

If you're suggesting racism was an issue, you miss the point. The only racial attitudes may be on Hamilton and Cheek's part for actively seeking a black coach (widely rumored on UT's campus).

The only thing most fans wanted was the best coach, period. We don't care what color he is. Maybe later Martin will prove that he was the best coach. But at this point that would turn out to be a wild stroke of luck.

TommyJack writes:

Let's put the Mike Hamilton story to bed. The man is smart, loyal, and a shrewd money man.
Give passes for one bad hire and one good hire that imploded. Enough already. We need to come together and move on. Enough is enough.

lafollette37766 writes:

Hamilton was on WBIR last night. Did not know the man could speak complete sentences. Anyway hopefully Martin will be able to keep things going thru the tough times that are going to come and in the end make it work. He has a very tough road to go.

bvdisc writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

MidTennVol writes:

in response to ReVolver:

"assume what he is doing is for money reasons'. Of course, numbskull...he has to run the frickin athletic department and make money for it. Why do you go to work?

"good hire but Hammy still has to go"....why? He found a great coach in Pearl, a promising coach in Martin. Are your feelings still hurt by our little football experiment that went Hollywood?

Hamilton did not "find" Pearl -- Pearl was a gift from Ernie Grunfeld, who put BP in Ham's lap with a big orange and white bow on him. Ham would never have even heard of BP if not for Grunfeld.

Think Ernie is taking Ham's calls these days? LMAO.

VolunteernGA writes:

Would you really care about sanctions if you were getting a 1.2 million dollar raise?

Couchdummy writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Let's put the Mike Hamilton story to bed. The man is smart, loyal, and a shrewd money man.
Give passes for one bad hire and one good hire that imploded. Enough already. We need to come together and move on. Enough is enough.

I guess you are right in that we should let this rest and get on a more positive course, but I hate settling for mediocre management remaining in place. It leaves an underlying sense of distrust.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

Hamilton did not "find" Pearl -- Pearl was a gift from Ernie Grunfeld, who put BP in Ham's lap with a big orange and white bow on him. Ham would never have even heard of BP if not for Grunfeld.

Think Ernie is taking Ham's calls these days? LMAO.

I would doubt Mike is calling Ernie. After all, the coach that Ernie "put in his lap" as you say, has gotten us in a mess with the NCAA. Get over your man love for Pearl people. He is an habitual cheat and a liar and is gone, thank God

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to Couchdummy:

I guess you are right in that we should let this rest and get on a more positive course, but I hate settling for mediocre management remaining in place. It leaves an underlying sense of distrust.

And how do you know so much about UT management? We do NOT know everything that goes on.

HHUUMMBBLLEE writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Let's put the Mike Hamilton story to bed. The man is smart, loyal, and a shrewd money man.
Give passes for one bad hire and one good hire that imploded. Enough already. We need to come together and move on. Enough is enough.

hey wooly one,hamilton is a jurk why are you so blind.

VOLliven2it writes:

All the votes of confidence in Mike Hamilton by Cheek seem to be more to remind him than anything else what a "quality" AD Ham man is. What is painful is how it keeps going on and on. That troubles fans who seem to be ignored and while the big donors are important, seats will need to be filled. With the fan base angered at the way things have gone and being seemingly overlooked by the powers that be, that will be difficult. Personally, I go to games when I can and watch them a lot. That does not change no matter who is coach, who is AD etc.
We can be loyal fans and still believe there will cotinue to be problems with Mike Hamilton as our Athletic Director. I hope all that junk does not negatively impact our new head basketball coach. He already faces the uncertainty of what the NCAA will do. Did anyone see what the answers to his NCAA inquiries were? No one knows what he was told about what may be coming. Frankly, no one but NCAA Almighties really know.

miketn6 writes:

in response to 12Hours:

I really don't think Mike gives a rats about what any of you part time, fair weather, non donating "fans" think.
His bosses and many true fans see that he has done some great things for UT.
If we could all have the knowledge upfront that comes in hind sight, some of you would have never been concieved.
Go ahead and boo and laugh in his face. Your mama will wish she had that hindsight on you.

Well, I am a full time, lifetime, donating fan, and I want him gone. The bad he has done far outweighs any good. Our athletic department will be a joke as long as that clown is running it.

huckabee writes:

Hamilton had one coach leave for his dream job that we were all happy with and he had one coach lie to the NCAA that most people loved and hence he had to fire him so now you want him fired. Yeah makes sense to me. If the Chancellor thinks Mike is doing a good job then that is good enough for me. I suspect that he knows more about what Mikes job description is than the fans do! Thank you Mike for giving your all to Tennessee.

BustaRhymes writes:

While I believe hiring Coach Dooley and Coach Zo were **great** moves by UT - I think Hamilton must go. Sure, he put out the "fire" consuming our FB and men's BB programs... but I can't get past the fact that he was the one that started it...

We won't know for years how Dooley and Zo will fare (I think well - but I'm an optimist). We will have some idea how much damage Kiffin/Pearl did this summer. Perhaps Cheek and company are keeping Hammy's head around so it can roll this summer - after the NCAA hearing...

kthoma14 writes:

MH says new coach was not worried about NCAA BUT he gets a year added to his contract for every year of sanctions! Years UT will have to pay him for if he doesn't win and gets the boot. CM "wanted to be at UT" MH says. My @ss. CM wants to make 1.5 mil and get his foot in the door of big time Programs. MH is either a liar or stupid or both.

jimr07 writes:

in response to 12Hours:

I really don't think Mike gives a rats about what any of you part time, fair weather, non donating "fans" think.
His bosses and many true fans see that he has done some great things for UT.
If we could all have the knowledge upfront that comes in hind sight, some of you would have never been concieved.
Go ahead and boo and laugh in his face. Your mama will wish she had that hindsight on you.

I totally agree with this post. Keep Hamilton.

jimr07 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Let's put the Mike Hamilton story to bed. The man is smart, loyal, and a shrewd money man.
Give passes for one bad hire and one good hire that imploded. Enough already. We need to come together and move on. Enough is enough.

Again, the voice of reason. TJ you seem to get smarter as you get older.

jimr07 writes:

in response to BicardiRum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Go take some Midol and change your napkin.

volsfannsc writes:

in response to BicardiRum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Winning fairly and playing by the rules" is such an oxymoron in the NCAA. There is no Easter Bunny I'm sorry to say. UT fans complain if we don't win, and are willing to look the other way if we are winning. With the NCAA watching so close that should we sneeze, they get covered with spray- any hiccup brings out the fans that exclaim "I don't care if we win or loose, we want an honest program".
I am an alumni, and nothing pleases me more to see our athletics excel, but the reality of the situation is college athletics now revolves around the income it can generate. This is why Cheek endorses Hammy. Why do you think Camgate was washed over? Why do you think Tressel and 5 of his star players were allowed to play in their bowl? The money bowls generate. Why Tennessee is in the crosshairs is a mystery, but it is what it is. Yes, there are those who will say we get what we have coming, and I don't disagree- but we can't have it both ways. Right now the tide is a resounding "We have no name, inexperienced coaches- what gives? I want a program that wins now" So what say you come July when the NCAA is through trampeling us? Hammy generates dollars albeit through deep pocketed suporters. I for one can't afford to attend the number of games I once did, but most of that is due to the economy, not Hammy. Although not a big fan of Hammy, I am not ready for his lynching. He fits the NCAA system while attempting to split the fence on hiring issues. Go ahead, look at the posts....what should he have done.

HarryHood writes:

Cheek says, "He's our athletic director."

In all fairness they said the same thing about Pearl every time someone stuck a mic in their faces.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Let's put the Mike Hamilton story to bed. The man is smart, loyal, and a shrewd money man.
Give passes for one bad hire and one good hire that imploded. Enough already. We need to come together and move on. Enough is enough.

I agree TJ. Enough is enough. Pearl messed in his nest and got caught. Kiffin bolted for his dream job. None of the whiners about MH were whining when CBP had it clicking and when Kiffin brought some swag back to the football program. It is really easy to play the blame game when you are sitting at your laptop doing nothing for the university.

skm writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

I would doubt Mike is calling Ernie. After all, the coach that Ernie "put in his lap" as you say, has gotten us in a mess with the NCAA. Get over your man love for Pearl people. He is an habitual cheat and a liar and is gone, thank God

easy, liar yes, cheat no. don't go too far when talking about the person who resurrected men's basketball here.

and hamilton still had to hire pearl.

skm writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

Hamilton did not "find" Pearl -- Pearl was a gift from Ernie Grunfeld, who put BP in Ham's lap with a big orange and white bow on him. Ham would never have even heard of BP if not for Grunfeld.

Think Ernie is taking Ham's calls these days? LMAO.

dude, hammy still had to interview and pick which coach should lead tn. ernie made suggestions to the all mighty doug dickey and look who he brought in. pretty soon the hammy haters will be lauding dooley and cuonzo, but minimizing hammy's role in their hire. typical.

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

Fire Hamilton.

pms151 writes:

Who is paying the $250 grand owed on his contract? Anyone know?

pms151 writes:

PT Barnum has got to be turning over in his grave.

larry#1388664 writes:

Just like in business...many times there is someone at the top who stays there and does corporate damage until finally someone figures it out. When will Hamilton finally be figured out? Please...don't say "he brings in money to the school"...that's just not a good enough reason.

jimr07 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

I agree TJ. Enough is enough. Pearl messed in his nest and got caught. Kiffin bolted for his dream job. None of the whiners about MH were whining when CBP had it clicking and when Kiffin brought some swag back to the football program. It is really easy to play the blame game when you are sitting at your laptop doing nothing for the university.

Well said.

jimr07 writes:

in response to VOLS_SEC_RULES:

Fire Hamilton.

Keep Hamilton.

FranklinVol writes:

in response to 12Hours:

I really don't think Mike gives a rats about what any of you part time, fair weather, non donating "fans" think.
His bosses and many true fans see that he has done some great things for UT.
If we could all have the knowledge upfront that comes in hind sight, some of you would have never been concieved.
Go ahead and boo and laugh in his face. Your mama will wish she had that hindsight on you.

I am a DONATING FAN and I still believe that Hamilton is the worst thing about UT and I really don't care if you or Hamilton care what I think. Until he is gone, UT will never be the same.

jimr07 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That rum will get to you eventually.

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