Raleigh hasn't talked to Hamilton since Christmas party

'Nobody's said a word to me'

Tennessee catcher Ethan Bennett, left, takes the force of a slide from Auburn’s Justin Fradejas during the Tigers’ 13-4 win over the Vols on Friday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville.

Photo by RUTH TEDRICK/UTSPORTS.COM

Tennessee catcher Ethan Bennett, left, takes the force of a slide from Auburn’s Justin Fradejas during the Tigers’ 13-4 win over the Vols on Friday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville.

Tennessee head coach Todd Raleigh watches as the Vols play the Georgia Bulldogs at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Saturday, April 23, 2011.  Georgia won the game 8-6 over Tennessee.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee head coach Todd Raleigh watches as the Vols play the Georgia Bulldogs at Lindsey Nelson Stadium Saturday, April 23, 2011. Georgia won the game 8-6 over Tennessee.

An undistinguished Tennessee baseball season comes to an end today at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. It's time for the seniors to move on.

The coach, too, if the talk around town is accurate.

Friday night's game with Auburn started the same way Thursday night's 5-2 UT victory did - the Vols jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning.

But that's where any resemblance ended. The eight remaining innings added up to a 13-4 Auburn triumph that assures the Tigers of an SEC tournament bid.

Auburn (29-26, 14-15 SEC) just kept manufacturing runs and Tennessee had no answers other than a solo home run from Ethan Bennett.

UT coach Todd Raleigh said he had no answer for the bigger question: Is he coaching his final game at UT today?

"I haven't talked to (athletic director) Mike (Hamilton) since the Christmas party,'' Raleigh said. "So I don't know how to answer that question.

"If you listen to talk radio, that's what they say. But nobody's said a word to me.''

The 12th loss in UT's past 13 SEC games leaves the Vols 24-29 overall and 6-23 in the SEC going into today's 2 p.m. finale.

For the fourth consecutive year under Raleigh, there will be no SEC tournament appearance. The general mood in the media and among most fans has been for a while that a coaching change is forthcoming.

WNML radio, The Sports Animal, on Friday reported that sources say Raleigh will be fired.

"My wife called me and said it was on the radio,'' Raleigh said. "It's not a good way to find out, obviously.

"I can handle it. It's no big deal. But I hate to have the players on the team worry about something like that. . . . It shouldn't happen.

"But I've had no conversation with Mike since the Christmas party.''

The seniors have their own thoughts to ponder today.

Khayyan Norfork, a two-year starter since coming from junior college, said today will be an emotional experience.

"My last college game,'' he said. "It's not how I wanted to go out but hopefully we can get a win tomorrow.

"Things haven't gone like I wanted, of course. We haven't been able to get it done the past two years and that's hard to swallow.''

Norfork has one point of order still on the table. He takes a team-leading .340 batting average into the final game with Zach Osborne close behind at .337. Honors could go down to the last at-bat.

"I hadn't thought about it,'' Norfork said with a grin, "but since you said it, it's on my mind now.''

Senior Josh Liles is the only four-year player in the starting lineup today.

"My life's going to change a lot tomorrow,'' he said. "I just want to soak everything in and remember as much as I can for the rest of my life.''

It will be a bittersweet day for the Jackson native who grew up dreaming of playing at UT.

"We didn't have any great success,'' he said, "didn't go to a tournament. That's all there on paper.

"But for me to be able to live my dream every day has been an unbelievable experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

"I hate to see it come to and end, but it's time to grow up and go in the real world.''

Follow Mike Strange at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 70

pridebone writes:

Hamilton hasn't talked to his coach since Christmas? Really? Not a call to say "what's going on?" Raleigh's gone, and if he's telling the truth, then it shows that Mike Hamilton is laughably incompetent.

MiserableFloridaVol writes:

meh...it's college baseball. I couldn't find a college baseball score, other than the world series, on ESPN if I tried.

FWBVol writes:

Does this mean that Mike Hamilton hasn't been to a baseball game this year? It would seem in the last five or six months that Hamilton and Raleigh would have had at least a few short conversations.

If it is true that Hamilton hasn't spoken to Raleigh since December it would really seem that the writing is on the wall and Saturday will be the last time Raleigh coaches the UT baseball team.

eduardo writes:

guess Hyams was tired of having breaking news 2 days later

BillsBrother writes:

in response to et_vol_fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hamilton? Raleigh? Or both?

flatrock writes:

If it is true that Mike Hamilton hasn't spoken to Raleigh or the players since December, then that is yet another strike against Hamilton.
-Truth be told, Raleigh should have been cut loose the first time he forced his team to wear those butt-ugly black uniforms;
-Could it be Hamilton failed to attend any games because every time he drove by the
stadium, he spotted all the Orange and Black and thought he was at an Oregon State (or Oklahoma State or Princeton or Orioles or Bengals) game?

volgrog#210164 writes:

Reason #31 why Hamilton must go along with Raleigh.

madmax22 writes:

Hamilton has been there, he was in Todd Raleigh's patio area next to where I was just two series ago. Of course he was busy grilling out instead of running the athletic dept.

VolFaninDC writes:

HOW is Hamilton still at Tennessee? When the baseball team was cleared in the NCAA investigation in February, they didn't speak?!?!? Am I missing something here?

UTvolsFAN24 writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

HE HASN'T RIPPED YOUR ALMA MATER?!?! His first 2 years he blamed every loss on UT and scholarship problems. Saying the hitting facilities were not up to par to produce SEC hitters. He now has the best hitting ficilities in the country and the results actually got worse. He told all of Delmonico's guys that they were the reason he would lose. No more of D's players and they do worse. He is NOT a good baseball coach

TheFuj writes:

This is such a joke. Cannot recall when the top three men sports were this bad, or in this much turmoil.

DCVolFan (Inactive) writes:

in response to BillsBrother:

Hamilton? Raleigh? Or both?

Yes!

iowavol writes:

Dear God why do we have to put up with this AD any longer? Your punishment by making us endure this egregious mistake by the administration is much worse than anything coming from the NCAA.

TKO writes:

Horrible coach. The kids deserve better.
Hamilton - kiffin(strike one), Pearl (strike two), Raleigh ( strike three )

iowavol writes:

You know, there may be another way to look at this. You have to feel bad for the baseball team, especially the athletes. The fact the AD - I've quit saying his name due to subsequent nausea - hasn't been around may be tale telling. AD may have been instructed to do nothing else until the NCAA hearing and then will be sacrificed in some sort of public display as penance to the great and almighty NCAA...

One can only hope.

tenuhc writes:

Bring in Rick Honeycutt from the Dodgers. Tennesse guy and will bring in quality players.

orangepeel writes:

Fire Mike Hamilton today.

jawbreaker writes:

Comments by Norfork and Liles sound like the comments made after each football season by Vanderbilt seniors. That's got to change!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Twisting in the wind....

bidnsman#244003 writes:

Raleigh seems like a nice guy, but he has done a terrible job coaching the UT baseball team. He should have been fired last year. If Hamilton has not talked to him in 5 months then Hamilton is ignoring his job!

agohn writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know why we laugh at you Forrest Gump? Mama east calling you precious, she was calling you dbag.

Slystone writes:

Dude your Boss hadn't spoken to you since Christmas? Time to update your resume and place it on monster.com Rumor has it they're hiring up in Maine.

agohn writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ohh...and why were you on a UT website a 5am? Don't you have anything better to do around your trailer park? I know you have some jean shorts you need to bedazzle for the upcoming football season.

RoadTrip writes:

May I add to RMVol's and volsFan24 very accurate statements that a man of integrity and character would not run his team on stadium steps after a loss; would not denigrate them in public (or private for that matter); would take a communications class to learn how to speak with the media and fans; would be checking in with his AD for a few minutes every week to discuss his personal progress/team issues to better the team and program; and might - just might - attend some remedial coaching clinics to learn how to coach up players and make decent on the field decisions. I know I left out recruiting well; because that is something that comes after you have handled all of the issues above.

For a clue to what is wrong in just one area simply watch the swings of most of the hitters. I have never seen such defensive swings early in the count since I coached Little League. Most of them do not shorten their strokes with two strikes and pull off the ball - or wave at it as it passes by. Most have no concept of the strike zone or their personal best pitch locations to hit the ball. So they swing at anything or stand confused at good pitches to hit.

I feel badly for the players that did not get the coaching and leadership they deserve from an SEC school. MH needs to fix this the right way for the student athete's sake alone and then it can become a money sport - which is something he does understand. Build a bleeding orange team and program and they will come - you will have to add seats there will be so many. This area supports a AA minor league team wonderfully that sits out on I-40 in Sevier County. How much better would it support a Big Orange team right on campus if it was done right?!

99bubble writes:

Raleigh is a nice guy? What planet are you living on? Raleigh is nothing but a jerk and the kids stopped trying a long time ago because they know this. He's gone thankfully and if your boss isn't talking to you, get ready to move.

arkyvol writes:

if raleigh is canned and hamilton stays, it will be like getting half a tinker toy set for christmas. and in my fondest dreams, i can't conjure up the image of a first rate coach letting himself get hired by this idiot.

Coates writes:

Hamilton is too worried about trying to cover for his own errors to be concerned about sports at UT. But he won't be the AD much longer.

Pullingguard writes:

Raleigh's record indicates he should be fired, however, if Hamilton has not communicated with him since Xmas then he should also be dismissed. One must wonder, does Hamilton have a Complex issue, afraid to address problems other than dismiss people or tell them they will be dismissed over the radio like he did Pearl. UT has a big weakness in the athletic dept., and it starts up-top and it's taken me a long time to accept this, but what others have been saying are true, Hamilton Needs to Go along with Raleigh.

NYvolFan writes:

If it is true that Mike Hamilton has not spoken to his baseball coach since Christmas he should be fired ASAP. Case closed.

eb502us#225637 writes:

Nice to know that Hamilton is on top the baseball situation by speaking to his coach about things that are going on.

When are we going to get rid of this clown? At least Raleigh is trying, can't say the same for Hamilton. Fire is arse now!!!!

thevoice writes:

in response to NYvolFan:

If it is true that Mike Hamilton has not spoken to his baseball coach since Christmas he should be fired ASAP. Case closed.

Looks like they have a lot to catch up on.

Ichabod writes:

Simple question. If TR is fired for poor performance as UT baseballs Coach, then why would Hamilton keep his job as UTAD? Certainly his performance ranks equal to Raleighs. Ask yourself, whether young or old - when have UT's Mens three major sports been in worse shape than they are all today ? Whose hand has been on (or off) the rudder during that time? My personal opinion is that not speaking to your Coach for five months, during a season as tumultuous as this has been - speaks volumes as to the character, management style, and the CONTINUED FAILURES and turmoil surrounding Mens Athletics at UT since Hamilton was given the job. It should be interesting when he trots out onto Shields Watkins this fall to collect one of those 'jumbo sized checks'. Let Bobby Denton announce his name, and see what you hear. I am sure the 65,000 or so that will be attending the Buffalo game, will be none to pleased.

North writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

SummittsCourt writes:

Sad for the seniors who played their four years and found no success thanks to the lack of coaching. Raleigh is an embarrassment to baseball and needs to go.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and you are delusional

treedodger writes:

UT does`t need a new coach, they need one less baseball team.

SummittsCourt writes:

Raleigh record
overall 107-113
SEC 38-80

No tournaments

Enough said!

dvols writes:

if a tree falls in the forest does it make a noise?.......

madrigal writes:

Once again Mike Hamilton shows his class.......that quality which he doesn't have, along with integrity.

us43137415#376444 writes:

in response to tenuhc:

Bring in Rick Honeycutt from the Dodgers. Tennesse guy and will bring in quality players.

Once again.. Honeycutt is not interested in the Tennessee job. Again, cross him off your wish list.

Even if he were interested, Tennessee WILL NOT PAY HIM.

Here's your sign: CROSS HONEYCUTT OFF YOUR LIST.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to Coates:

Hamilton is too worried about trying to cover for his own errors to be concerned about sports at UT. But he won't be the AD much longer.

Hamilton does NOT make the hires nor does he fire. If you get your wish, and probably will not, a new AD would be the same. At UT, the AD is only a mouthpiece for the Chancellor and big money folks

shipperman#280095 writes:

If you want to make a statement, don't buy any Pilot gas for 3 or 4 weeks

VolsToTheWall writes:

what do you expect. Raleigh's obviously been to busy being the best collegiate coach in the country to have time to talk to Hamilton. He's been choppin wood, tryin to figger out this now 3 month long funk, and tryin to remember all his pitchers names so he can put them all in, every game. bless that man and his work ethic

tennrich1 writes:

in response to us43137415#376444:

Once again.. Honeycutt is not interested in the Tennessee job. Again, cross him off your wish list.

Even if he were interested, Tennessee WILL NOT PAY HIM.

Here's your sign: CROSS HONEYCUTT OFF YOUR LIST.

The last conversation I had with Rick....he is still interested....maybe....Money not his issue...

RoadTrip writes:

in response to tennrich1:

The last conversation I had with Rick....he is still interested....maybe....Money not his issue...

What is MH waiting for?

Voluvr writes:

That they havent' talked is no big deal and NOT a story. How he's doing with the team may be. But, I don't think that's why they haven't talked. Ham wouldn't shy if he needed to talk to him. Ham's very busy and Raleigh's in the middle of baseball.....yawn.

Titan writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

If you want to make a statement, don't buy any Pilot gas for 3 or 4 weeks

I haven't bought any Pilot gas since the opening of football season two years ago. That was the weekend that nearly every gas station in Knoxville was out of gas except Pilot and they jacked the price to $4.99/gallon. Call it supply and demand or whatever you want to but I have not forgotten and will not forget.

thewalloffame#333843 writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your joking,right? Ask his players,parents,umpires,or fans and see if any think he's a good man,or coach and see what they say.And where did he have success before? I seriously doubt he gets another chance to coach again.He could not coach little league.

North writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

Hamilton does NOT make the hires nor does he fire. If you get your wish, and probably will not, a new AD would be the same. At UT, the AD is only a mouthpiece for the Chancellor and big money folks

Shipperman I hate to inform you, but you don't have a clue what a competent and respected AD would do. Hamilton has been reeled in by so many because of his blunders the last few years, it's given people the idea that all AD's are as useless as Hamilton.
If you don't think Hamilton will get canned before the first football game, maybe you'd be interested in some oceanfront property in Sevier County.

hep writes:

in response to jawbreaker:

Comments by Norfork and Liles sound like the comments made after each football season by Vanderbilt seniors. That's got to change!

Haha LMAO always nice to hear a Vandy jab!

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