They finally met face-to-face Monday afternoon. The meeting didn't last much longer than it takes to say hello and goodbye.
The goodbye was permanent in Raleigh's case. He was fired as UT's baseball coach by the same man who hired him four years ago.
Raleigh will be paid about $330,000 and presumably get a T-shirt that says "Mike Hamilton Paid Me To Leave." The way Hamilton is firing coaches, some entrepreneur is apt to start mass producing such shirts.
Raleigh now is a certified member of the "I Got Hamiltoned Club," which includes former UT coaches Rod Delmonico (baseball), Phillip Fulmer ( football), Buzz Peterson ( basketball), and Bruce Pearl (basketball). But there are a couple of significant differences between those guys and Raleigh.
One difference: Raleigh had a worse record than any of them, and fewer defenders than Hamilton after failing to reach the SEC tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
Another difference: Hamilton actually talked to those other coaches.
Raleigh said after Friday night's game against Auburn that he hadn't talked to Hamilton since a Christmas party last December. He said Saturday his only communication with the athletic director since then had been through a couple of text messages.
If you take the coach at his word, then you would conclude Hamilton has elevated avoidance management to an art form. You also might conclude that's he's almost as adept at that as he is at rendering former employees financially secure. UT and its boosters could have revitalized a third-world country with all the out-the-door bucks they have thrown at Hamilton's fired coaches.
That brings up a slightly related question: How does Hamilton still have a job?
Raleigh went 25-29 in his last season. But he had a better year than Hamilton.
Both UT football and basketball made the NCAA's hit list. Hamilton fired two of the coaches (Pearl and Raleigh) that he hired. He also struck a blow for Tennessee pride when he replaced North Carolina with Buffalo on the 2011 football schedule.
Yet he mysteriously continues in a job he has held since 2003, as though things are going swimmingly. He also continues to hire coaches as though he will be around forever, or at least long enough to fire them.
You don't have to be a competent sports administrator to determine what UT baseball needs in its next hire. It needs someone who will create a big splash - big enough to convince fans and recruits that it's seriously committed to reviving a sport that no longer can advance as far as the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala. The best way to do that is to hire a coach who already has succeeded at this level.
Raleigh was the coach at Western Carolina when Hamilton hired him in 2007. In introducing his new coach, Hamilton said he stood out among an impressive list of candidates.
"He and his wife, Stephanie, will be a great addition to our team, as we work our way back to Omaha in pursuit of a national championship," Hamilton said at the time.
He might want to amend that for the next hire. Something like: " . . . as we work our way back to Hoover in pursuit of a postseason presence."
Then, he should turn to the new coach and say, "See you at the Christmas party."