Carly Harrington: Area businesss say big-name UT coach needed

FILE - This Sept. 14, 2009 file photo shows ESPN Monday Night Football broadcaster Jon Gruden before an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. Gruden says he hasn't received an offer to coach the Tennessee Volunteers as part of a deal that includes becoming part owner of the Cleveland Browns. Memphis TV station WREG reported Gruden was weighing a Tennessee offer that would give him a piece of the Browns, who are owned by Jimmy Haslam _ brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Photo by AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

FILE - This Sept. 14, 2009 file photo shows ESPN Monday Night Football broadcaster Jon Gruden before an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. Gruden says he hasn't received an offer to coach the Tennessee Volunteers as part of a deal that includes becoming part owner of the Cleveland Browns. Memphis TV station WREG reported Gruden was weighing a Tennessee offer that would give him a piece of the Browns, who are owned by Jimmy Haslam _ brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

A successful college football program is measured by its wins and losses. You have to look no further than fired University of Tennessee coach Derek Dooley to see that.

A losing season, however, goes beyond how many tickets are sold. It can have a significant economic impact on all types of businesses across Knox County from hotels to restaurants to retailers.

While Tennessee fans keep a keen watch over who the new coach will be, so, too, are some businesses that say the implications of getting it right this time are more important than ever.

"We've had more UT stuff on clearance than I've ever seen, and I've been here for 10 years," Sports Seasons manager Ronnie Dove said. "There are about five or six big names being floated around that could boost sales and take some of those markdowns back up."

Thursday morning, Dove received a call from an apparel buyer who told him that if a big-time coach is named — say ESPN broadcaster Jon Gruden, for example — 95 percent of the UT clothing on clearance at the West Knoxville store no longer will be on clearance.

Sales for Big Orange merchandise could use a lift. For the past two years, Dove said Alabama and Florida items — separately, not combined — have outsold Tennessee items 2-to-1. "If we don't get a big-name coach, it would definitely affect us even worse than now."

Reaching target occupancy rates from September through November at the Holiday Inn World's Fair Park was a challenge as the team struggled, General Manager Mitch Holloway said. The downtown hotel had to change its cancellation and booking policy to accommodate fans who weren't interested in a two-night stay.

"We've had to be more flexible," he said. "It was a good football year, but we didn't have near the numbers we've seen in the past." As far as a new coach goes, he added, "There's a lot of buzz in the air. Whoever they're going to bring in, there's still going to be an excitement about a new season with a new coach."

Mike Clark, a season-ticket holder who owns Goal Post Tavern on the Strip, agreed, saying fans would rally behind the new coach for at least the first year. "I think it's still a wait-and-see game, but I think it's time for them to spend the money and get a big name, a proven guy."

For Clark, the impact can be summed up as simple as this: If you're winning, people will be in the mood to spend.

"Ultimately it's really about W's. You win and people will spend their money. People will come from all over to come to these games," he said. "And if you're not, they shorten their trip. Maybe they only come to the big games or none at all."

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Comments » 10

NYCApple writes:

You misspelled it!! It's spelled "bidnezzzzzzzz"

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

Jimmy Hyamms is reporting that Gruden turned us down. I want to believe that this is just one more of his ridiculous predictions, but in my gut, I feel like this is probably accurate.

I can't stand this anymore. It's exhausting. We'll get Jimbo Fisher or some middling ACC coach that had one good season in the past three years and we'll be mediocre for years to come. At least Fulmer/Kiffin/Dooley isn't coaching anymore.

Thank you Mike Hamilton for hiring Kiffin and then Dooley. It's worked out beautifully. You couldn't have done more to destroy our program if you had tried.

VolMoment writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

Jimmy Hyamms is reporting that Gruden turned us down. I want to believe that this is just one more of his ridiculous predictions, but in my gut, I feel like this is probably accurate.

I can't stand this anymore. It's exhausting. We'll get Jimbo Fisher or some middling ACC coach that had one good season in the past three years and we'll be mediocre for years to come. At least Fulmer/Kiffin/Dooley isn't coaching anymore.

Thank you Mike Hamilton for hiring Kiffin and then Dooley. It's worked out beautifully. You couldn't have done more to destroy our program if you had tried.

You must be 17 years old or a person who sacks groceries for a living. A person who never hired anyone. Hamilton's hire of Kiffen looked good until the "snake" bolted for funny farm USC. I as many have hired people in top jobs and you cross your fingers that they work out because you never know. Kiffen's sudden departure 3 weeks before recruiting kept UT from getting a coach from a big time school. So blaming Hamilton shows you to be ignorant.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to VolMoment:

You must be 17 years old or a person who sacks groceries for a living. A person who never hired anyone. Hamilton's hire of Kiffen looked good until the "snake" bolted for funny farm USC. I as many have hired people in top jobs and you cross your fingers that they work out because you never know. Kiffen's sudden departure 3 weeks before recruiting kept UT from getting a coach from a big time school. So blaming Hamilton shows you to be ignorant.

First, you know nothing about me. Second, Hamilton hired an unproven head coach whose professional record included losing at the Raiders and being run out of town by a living cadaver. Hamilton turned down Brian Kelly in favor of Kiffin. After Kiffin bolted, Hamilton passed on Sumlin for a coach with a losing record in the WAC and no victories over ranked teams.

So yeah, I've hired people and I know that when you tab someone to operate in a managerial position you evaluate them based upon their history and not how well they interview.

Hamilton's hires were HORRIBLE. Kiffin was a snake oil salesman and Dooley was...well, Dooley was Dooley.

Call me ignorant all you want, but the evidence is right there. Hamilton made two HORRIBLE hires and now we're stuck in the bottom tier of the SEC.

Hamilton took the job and was paid well for it. He failed and he was compensated well for failing. Let me know when you give some of your hires a million dollar parachute after they mess your business up.

123forVOLS writes:

Well that's good enough for me, the Economic Boon to Knoxville means, be a King of Harts Hart and get us a big name head coach! The whole economic landscape of Rocky Top is counting on you.

123forVOLS writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

First, you know nothing about me. Second, Hamilton hired an unproven head coach whose professional record included losing at the Raiders and being run out of town by a living cadaver. Hamilton turned down Brian Kelly in favor of Kiffin. After Kiffin bolted, Hamilton passed on Sumlin for a coach with a losing record in the WAC and no victories over ranked teams.

So yeah, I've hired people and I know that when you tab someone to operate in a managerial position you evaluate them based upon their history and not how well they interview.

Hamilton's hires were HORRIBLE. Kiffin was a snake oil salesman and Dooley was...well, Dooley was Dooley.

Call me ignorant all you want, but the evidence is right there. Hamilton made two HORRIBLE hires and now we're stuck in the bottom tier of the SEC.

Hamilton took the job and was paid well for it. He failed and he was compensated well for failing. Let me know when you give some of your hires a million dollar parachute after they mess your business up.

We do know two things about you. You are a Mega-name poster and you are a Nega-Vol. That's all we need to know. Have a good day. We will have a new head coach soon and I happen to know who that is...whomever Hart and the powers that be choose.

ashvol7 writes:

My wife and I have attended UT football for over fourty years, we live in Asheville and have tried to stay at the Holiday Inn Worlds Fair site. I have always resented having to stay two nights when we only needed to stay one. We raised our Grand daughter and sent her to school there and wanted to spend the night more, but I didn't want to stay two nights in Knoxville and they would never give us a room. They finally got just what they deserved. She graduated in May so we don't have to worry with the Holiday anymore. Plus the hotels and other businesses ripped you on football weekend.

avidreader writes:

in response to ashvol7:

My wife and I have attended UT football for over fourty years, we live in Asheville and have tried to stay at the Holiday Inn Worlds Fair site. I have always resented having to stay two nights when we only needed to stay one. We raised our Grand daughter and sent her to school there and wanted to spend the night more, but I didn't want to stay two nights in Knoxville and they would never give us a room. They finally got just what they deserved. She graduated in May so we don't have to worry with the Holiday anymore. Plus the hotels and other businesses ripped you on football weekend.

That's simple supply & demand. The same thing happens at all events and in all towns.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to ashvol7:

My wife and I have attended UT football for over fourty years, we live in Asheville and have tried to stay at the Holiday Inn Worlds Fair site. I have always resented having to stay two nights when we only needed to stay one. We raised our Grand daughter and sent her to school there and wanted to spend the night more, but I didn't want to stay two nights in Knoxville and they would never give us a room. They finally got just what they deserved. She graduated in May so we don't have to worry with the Holiday anymore. Plus the hotels and other businesses ripped you on football weekend.

I don't know how it is in Knoxville, but in Gainesville, those 7 home football weekends bring in over 20% of the annual business for the year for the businesses around the school. If not for the "gouging" as you call it, those businesses wouldn't EXIST. So which would you prefer, a nice hotel where you have to stay 2 nights, or a park bench?

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to 123forVOLS:

We do know two things about you. You are a Mega-name poster and you are a Nega-Vol. That's all we need to know. Have a good day. We will have a new head coach soon and I happen to know who that is...whomever Hart and the powers that be choose.

Wow...first of all, thanks for the grade school name calling. Always nice to see that and your insight into this coaching search is pretty amazing. Do you work for the Knoxville press? Who are your inside sources? Really glad you showed up to comment.

Also...it seems as if the "Nega-Vols" are the only Vols on these websites that speak the truth. So guess what, I'm going to keep it up.

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