Mike Strange: We all could use a little luck in 2013

Mike Strange

Once in my college days, I rung in the New Year at the home of a girlfriend. Her dad, of German heritage, insisted we all eat a pickled herring at the stroke of midnight for good luck.

Thankfully, I was one-and-done with that tradition.

Today, we begin a new year filled with best intentions. Many of them, alas, will wither. We're human. There won't be many perfect games.

But for the moment, our slate is clean, our good will unspoiled. Fortified by a feast of black-eyed peas and collard greens (Southern), long noodles (Asian) and 12 grapes (Spanish), here's wishing the best of luck to all in 2013.

To Butch Jones. Tennessee's football coach is excited to take on his new challenge. He's going to need all the excitement, energy and lucky breaks he can find.

The roster is in better shape than when Derek Dooley arrived three years ago, but it's got a ways to go before it looks like the roster at Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, the teams UT has to beat to get back to the SEC championship game. Come to think of it, throw in Vanderbilt, too.

To Cuonzo Martin. There are no worries that his basketball Vols will keep games manageable with effort and sticky defense.

They've still got to manufacture some scoring to realize their goal of getting back to the NCAA tournament.

In a down year for SEC men, there will be plenty of winnable games, even on the road, if the Vols can coax enough shots through enough rims.

To Jeronne Maymon. He likely will play basketball for UT in the calendar year. Whether his knee heals enough for it to be in February/March or November/December remains to be seen.

To Holly Warlick. Her first season flying solo with the Lady Vols poses both micro and macro challenges.

She's got a young team to mold in her image in what shapes up as a very competitive SEC race. And then she's got the women's college basketball world watching to see if she can keep the program at Pat Summitt level.

To Pat Summitt. Everybody from Connecticut to Tierra del Fuego will be pulling for the coach emeritus in her battle with an unforgiving disease.

To Dave Serrano. One year into his rebuilding project with UT baseball, Serrano will go to bat with a roster transformed by newcomers.

The SEC increased his chances of getting to the tournament in Hoover by expanding the field to 12 teams. That's the first goal.

To Ralph and Karen Weekly. Lady Vol softball advanced farther than any program on campus last year, reaching the College World Series.

The big bats are back and so are the Renfroe sisters to hurl bullets. A repeat trip to Oklahoma City is doable and this time, the Lady Vols would like to stay more than two games.

To Trevor Bayne. Knoxville's rising NASCAR driver will have to be content with a part-time Wood Brothers gig on the Sprint Cup series again in 2013. He'll have a full-time ride for Roush Fenway on the Nationwide circuit.

To Scott Stallings. Our local PGA Tour entry finished strong in 2012 with six Top 25 finishes in his last nine starts.

Stallings would love to stay healthy for an entire season, make another cut at Augusta and pick up his third tour win.

To Darron Stiles. The 2012 News Sentinel Open champ won promotion from the Web.com Tour back to the PGA Tour.

To the Smokies. Our Sevier County baseball team brings back manager Buddy Bailey in pursuit of the club's first Southern League title since 2004.

To the Ice Bears. New York, Pittsburgh and Toronto don't have hockey, but we do. The Ice Bears made it to the second round of the playoffs last year but need to hit another gear to bring home their first title since 2009.

To everybody. We could all use a little luck in 2013.

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 » 15

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

I agree Mike. Mustard herring is much better.

rb4346 writes:

If CBJ can build a decent defense this year I think the Vols will surprise some people. It will take a couple or maybe three years to get back to playing for the SEC championship, but they will make it if CBJ can recruit and coach and I believe he can. GBO

born2ride writes:

Dooley is gone. It can't get worse. Has to be better.

orangecountyvols writes:


In his college days too bad he didn't know the difference in 'rung and rang'.

Oh well, a writer for the KNS.........figures.

Happy New Year

BillVol writes:

What about J.J. Clark and the UT track teams? They need more good luck than anybody.

dvhill100 writes:

Luck is for rabbits. We need to get back to not needing luck.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

A new year, new start & high hopes. Only problem is good luck & The Vols just don't seem to go together. Our boys & girls will just have to do it on their own without much help from lady luck. You can do it! Go Vols

usnavyvolfan_on_duty writes:

Um...maybe I need to stop reading Rivals for awhile, but just looked, and we're not even in the Top 25 in recruiting right now....YIKES!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

in response to dvhill100:

Luck is for rabbits. We need to get back to not needing luck.

everyone needs luck.

For example, both teams in the BCS championship game had great good luck in pivotal games this season.

CDD was the epitome of a man with terrible luck (picture Justin Hunter with a ball going through his arms against Mizzou).

AllVol1 writes:

Luck...I just remember what Arnold Palmer said: "The more I practice, the luckier I seem to be."

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to born2ride:

Dooley is gone. It can't get worse. Has to be better.

It would get much better if you would leave

FanNotSheep writes:

Luck won't help. You have to line up and hit the other guy in the mouth. You have to have players who are as fast or faster, as strong or stronger, and are at least as well-coached as teams like Alabama, Georgia, Florida and LSU to turn this thing around.

Tennessee is losing too much on offense to be any better next year even if the defense improves a ton. They should beat 4 teams on the schedule and could beat 3 more. But that leaves a minimum of 5 losses unless one of the other teams get the flu.

Best case: Jones is a great coach and a great recruiter and we can compete with the big boys by 2015.

Worst case: He isn't -- and we are right back here in 2015.

FanNotSheep writes:

Saw where Tee Martin won't get to coach Mr. Woods next year after all. Guess he has been around Li'l Lame long enough and decided to get paid a little more than they slip in his fist at USC. Woods is expected to go in the top 5 and be the first wide receiver drafted.


Odd number years have been kind to the Vols over the decades:1939, 1951, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1997, 2001, 2013? We're definitely due..GBO!!


in response to FanNotSheep:

Saw where Tee Martin won't get to coach Mr. Woods next year after all. Guess he has been around Li'l Lame long enough and decided to get paid a little more than they slip in his fist at USC. Woods is expected to go in the top 5 and be the first wide receiver drafted.

The man can play, and I'm sure he wasn't on the Dean's list this semester.

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