Mike Strange: How is UT doing on Dave Hart's mission of comprehensive success?

Mike Strange

Sprawled across the office wall behind Dave Hart’s desk is a photographic mural. It depicts University of Tennessee athletes in various endeavors.

Everybody knows football drives the athletic department train. Everybody knows fixing football is Hart’s paramount job as athletic director.

But the mural on Hart’s wall and Hart himself embrace “comprehensive success” as the department’s mission.

Not just success in football and basketball, the revenue sports, but comprehensive success.

So how’s that coming?

For that answer we turn to the Director’s Cup standings.

You know the Director’s Cup, don’t you? It’s right up there behind the Heisman Trophy as the most revered trophy in college sports.

Just kidding. The Director’s Cup was born in 1993-94 to recognize the school that is the best across the board in all sports.

I doubt any school would swap a crystal football for the Cup, but if your mission is comprehensive success, it’s a fair gauge.

Points are tabulated for finishes in national championship competitions. Fencing counts as much as football. Stanford wins it every year. Florida is generally the SEC’s highest finisher.

Tennessee has been top 10 twice, finishing No. 7 in 2006-07 and No. 8 in 2004-05. There have been 11 other top-20 finishes.

Last year, UT ranked 33rd, easily its worst showing.

As for the current school year, 2012-13, the Vols and Lady Vols need a spring rally to climb up the standings.

With basketball concluded this week, the standings were updated to show Tennessee in 42nd place.

Doesn’t sound good, but it’s a big jump from a 29-way tie for 111th after the fall sports.

UT’s only fall points were the volleyball and soccer teams going one-and-done in their NCAA tournaments. At least they got there. That counted for something.

Football, of course, whiffed, as did both men’s and women’s cross country squads.

Women’s swimming was the biggest winter score, finishing third at the NCAA meet. Holly Warlick’s Lady Vols chipped in with their Elite Eight appearance in women’s basketball. UT’s men added points in swimming and indoor track,

Men’s basketball, like football, earned a goose egg. You either dance or you don’t score.

Also, you either ski or you don’t. Tennessee doesn’t and concedes 100 points in the standings to NCAA champion Colorado. Likewise lacrosse, gymnastics, rifle (which earned Kentucky big points), etc.

Spring is here, which is generally a good thing at Tennessee, Cup-wise.

It’s been several years since baseball contributed a single point. The wait might well continue.

Softball, however, will deliver a big score. The only question is how big. College World Series big?

Men’s tennis is ranked No. 10 in the polls. That’s not worth a point but it is indicative that the Vols will be a postseason factor.

Women’s tennis and both golf teams have potential to at least get on the board. Track and field isn’t what it used to be. Don’t look for a major boost there.

Rowing is so under the radar I won’t even hazard a guess if UT will score. Stanford’s probably good at it.

By some point in June we’ll have the final standings — and a better idea exactly how comprehensive is Tennessee’s success.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at Strangemike44.

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Comments » 37

underthehill writes:

I have seen no indication Dave Hart has done anything positive for UT ..now for the negatives..too many to list ..why bother

CrankE writes:

The Director’s Cup was born in 1993-94 to perennially anoint Stanford and schools like them as the school that is the best across the board in all sports and to imply that the athletes of every other school are stupid AND inferior.

There, I fixed it.

We ought to get 10 points alone for firing Doooooooooley.

Geofffourmyle writes:

I wish someone -could- list something genuinely positive that Hart has done.

Walt

UT '81

Snapshot writes:

in response to Geofffourmyle:

I wish someone -could- list something genuinely positive that Hart has done.

Walt

UT '81

I wish someone could list something genuinely positive that you have ever posted.

Snapshot

UT fan '13

laraccoon writes:

in response to Geofffourmyle:

I wish someone -could- list something genuinely positive that Hart has done.

Walt

UT '81

hiring Butch Jones .

Geofffourmyle writes:

in response to laraccoon:

hiring Butch Jones .

No, that won't fly because he didn't find or seek Coach Jones from the get-go.

Walt

UT '81

Geofffourmyle writes:

in response to Snapshot:

I wish someone could list something genuinely positive that you have ever posted.

Snapshot

UT fan '13

My posts for a long time had a consistent positive theme: "Get rid of Derek Dooley or things will never improve."

Walt

UT '81

Geofffourmyle writes:

in response to Geofffourmyle:

I wish someone -could- list something genuinely positive that Hart has done.

Walt

UT '81

...crickets...

Classof72 writes:

"Everybody knows fixing football is Hart’s paramount job as athletic director."

Football's "fixed" all right. The verb just has the wrong vowel in it.

laraccoon writes:

in response to Geofffourmyle:

No, that won't fly because he didn't find or seek Coach Jones from the get-go.

Walt

UT '81

that logic is so misguided .

underthehill writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My opinion is bama Dave was completely responsible for the Sunseri disaster ..including the buddy buddy buyout..and had very little part in hiring Jones..I'd say the big donors had the big part in the hire..

BigBadVol writes:

You people have to be some of the dumbest posters anywhere. I have never seen posters such as underthehill and collegegrovebilly be so ignorant. It's comical.

laraccoon writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

You people have to be some of the dumbest posters anywhere. I have never seen posters such as underthehill and collegegrovebilly be so ignorant. It's comical.

totally agree !

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Snapshot:

I wish someone could list something genuinely positive that you have ever posted.

Snapshot

UT fan '13

That was beautifully timed..Kudos.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Recovery is the word I label Dave Hart with and that's exactly what he's done. UT sports were at an all time low and DH has built them up from the ground. DH did away with needless spending and wasted protocol positions and is in the process of segregating athletic funds from the academic side. I believe after this year when people see the difference in play on the fb field, they will start to appreciate DH for bringing in Butch Jones. The man had a mess on his hands if he took the UT job and he left a cushy gig at Bama anyway. I feel we should be thankful he took the position..

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to underthehill:

My opinion is bama Dave was completely responsible for the Sunseri disaster ..including the buddy buddy buyout..and had very little part in hiring Jones..I'd say the big donors had the big part in the hire..

Everybody makes mistakes..Do you think Woodruff or Dickey, & Hamilton were without errors in judgement??

underthehill writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Recovery is the word I label Dave Hart with and that's exactly what he's done. UT sports were at an all time low and DH has built them up from the ground. DH did away with needless spending and wasted protocol positions and is in the process of segregating athletic funds from the academic side. I believe after this year when people see the difference in play on the fb field, they will start to appreciate DH for bringing in Butch Jones. The man had a mess on his hands if he took the UT job and he left a cushy gig at Bama anyway. I feel we should be thankful he took the position..

You are entitled to your opinion and that is all it is..no facts to substantiate..no facts to prove Hart was anything more than an errand boy in hiring Hart..reading the article it seems to me UT sports has gone lower rather than being built as you contend..and is now at the all time low you describe in error..I am waiting to see if UT settles or loses the lawsuits in court..if they settle it will indicate to me they know they are going to lose and Hart will be exposed..we'll see..as I said ..I do respect your right to your opinion..but rather than be thankful..I am waiting to see how much lower the financial situation goes before he does..I think in time Jones may work out..but to think attendance is not going to get worse this year may be a stretch..my compliments to you for maintaining a positive outlook on UT sports..one which I do not share..

JSmith525 writes:

How utterly amazing is it that you have some posters here that sit behind their keyboard and their sole purpose in life is wait-81-ing on the next article to be uploaded so that they can post their idiotic comments.
You have the Programs on course Mr. Hart. It will all start coming together. keep the course!

JSmith525 writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

You people have to be some of the dumbest posters anywhere. I have never seen posters such as underthehill and collegegrovebilly be so ignorant. It's comical.

+1

6972 writes:

I'd like to master the art of disagreeing without be disagreeable.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to underthehill:

You are entitled to your opinion and that is all it is..no facts to substantiate..no facts to prove Hart was anything more than an errand boy in hiring Hart..reading the article it seems to me UT sports has gone lower rather than being built as you contend..and is now at the all time low you describe in error..I am waiting to see if UT settles or loses the lawsuits in court..if they settle it will indicate to me they know they are going to lose and Hart will be exposed..we'll see..as I said ..I do respect your right to your opinion..but rather than be thankful..I am waiting to see how much lower the financial situation goes before he does..I think in time Jones may work out..but to think attendance is not going to get worse this year may be a stretch..my compliments to you for maintaining a positive outlook on UT sports..one which I do not share..

Yes, we do have a right to our opinions..Furthermore, for what's it worth I enjoy reading your comments, not so much for informative content, but for the comedic value..

SevenT writes:

You can always tell a good AD by the hires he makes. This Hart fellow slobbered all over Chuckie then Charlies Strong and struck out. Then f-Hart panicked and settled for Big Least Butch Jones.

I give Hart a generous C+

JSmith525 writes:

Feb 16, 2013, UT 88 - UK 58... what an awesome offseason that 1 game makes!

laraccoon writes:

in response to SevenT:

You can always tell a good AD by the hires he makes. This Hart fellow slobbered all over Chuckie then Charlies Strong and struck out. Then f-Hart panicked and settled for Big Least Butch Jones.

I give Hart a generous C+

yea like that big least Louisville team that slobber knocked FlorDUH. BTW dip, Strong was a big east coach too , try to make a little sense next time .

SevenT writes:

in response to laraccoon:

yea like that big least Louisville team that slobber knocked FlorDUH. BTW dip, Strong was a big east coach too , try to make a little sense next time .

OK....Strong has huge SEC ties, huge ties to the state of Florida, he was the DC for Florida for a very long time, he finally got his shot as a Head Coach when he ended up at Louisville, he has proved he can recruit big time players to Louisville. You obviously know very little about football outside of the Vols program.

Nobody would have said a word if Hart could have made the hire but Hart couldn't seal the deal. Chuckie was a pipe dream long shot so nobody can slam Hart for swinging for the fence.

I hope this makes sense this time.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

OK....Strong has huge SEC ties, huge ties to the state of Florida, he was the DC for Florida for a very long time, he finally got his shot as a Head Coach when he ended up at Louisville, he has proved he can recruit big time players to Louisville. You obviously know very little about football outside of the Vols program.

Nobody would have said a word if Hart could have made the hire but Hart couldn't seal the deal. Chuckie was a pipe dream long shot so nobody can slam Hart for swinging for the fence.

I hope this makes sense this time.

That's ironic you mentioned Charlie's recruiting..Louisville was like in the 70's last NSD in recruiting..That's hardly out-recruiting anybody in the country, much less the SEC.

Razor784 writes:

in response to Geofffourmyle:

No, that won't fly because he didn't find or seek Coach Jones from the get-go.

Walt

UT '81

It was like they said on the Sportsource, Jones bailed Hart out by agreeing to take the job. He had just been publicly turned down by two other candidates and if Jones didn't take the job then it was getting ready to turn ugly.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Razor784:

It was like they said on the Sportsource, Jones bailed Hart out by agreeing to take the job. He had just been publicly turned down by two other candidates and if Jones didn't take the job then it was getting ready to turn ugly.

Greg Roman was also in the mix according to coach search.com..He's the long time assistant to Jim Harbaugh and current OC at SF. If Jones didn't want the UT job he could have very easily taken the Colorado gig..He purposely waited to see if Charlie Strong was going to take the position before declining the Colorado job. Either way (and I'm glad it's Jones he was my choice from the start) Roman or Jones are great hires for UT.

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

That's ironic you mentioned Charlie's recruiting..Louisville was like in the 70's last NSD in recruiting..That's hardly out-recruiting anybody in the country, much less the SEC.

Not sure where the dirty birds finished up 2013. But you should go back and review Strong's recruiting classes over the past 3 seasons and you will see some very good classes.

BTW Kentucky stole several top prospects away from Louisville last year which hurt Louisville's class. Particularly Jason Hatcher. Troll

laraccoon writes:

in response to SevenT:

OK....Strong has huge SEC ties, huge ties to the state of Florida, he was the DC for Florida for a very long time, he finally got his shot as a Head Coach when he ended up at Louisville, he has proved he can recruit big time players to Louisville. You obviously know very little about football outside of the Vols program.

Nobody would have said a word if Hart could have made the hire but Hart couldn't seal the deal. Chuckie was a pipe dream long shot so nobody can slam Hart for swinging for the fence.

I hope this makes sense this time.

during the football coach hiring process i was hoping the whole time Strong would turn us down . He may have been a better choice , he may have not and only time will shed any light on that . " i obviously know very little about football outside of the vols program" why because i wasnt pumping the Charlie Strong sunshine like yourself ? dude only time will tell who was the right fit for U T and who wasnt . you can claim what you consider was "swinging for the fence" but just cause you have such a high opinion of your own thinking does not mean you know JACK bud . only time will tell but it looks good from here so far .one question though and answer honestly , have you ever stepped foot on a football field in pads or does your pompous opinion come from what you read cause from most of the trash i read of yours you seem kind of dumb , oh well thats just my opinion i guess .

SevenT writes:

in response to laraccoon:

during the football coach hiring process i was hoping the whole time Strong would turn us down . He may have been a better choice , he may have not and only time will shed any light on that . " i obviously know very little about football outside of the vols program" why because i wasnt pumping the Charlie Strong sunshine like yourself ? dude only time will tell who was the right fit for U T and who wasnt . you can claim what you consider was "swinging for the fence" but just cause you have such a high opinion of your own thinking does not mean you know JACK bud . only time will tell but it looks good from here so far .one question though and answer honestly , have you ever stepped foot on a football field in pads or does your pompous opinion come from what you read cause from most of the trash i read of yours you seem kind of dumb , oh well thats just my opinion i guess .

Troll this article is about Hart not your personal distaste for my comments.....going after Chuckie was "swinging for the fence" because it was not realistic to go after a retired NFL Coach who has a great gig on ESPN....Strong was Hart's target and Hart failed on both and settled for Jones. Hart failed go lure his guy from freaking Louisville to Tennessee. That is a big embarassing whiff for Hart.....Jones may turn out to be a great get, you are right time will tell...do yourself a favor and try to get a life, find a girlfriend and try not take comment boards so seriously....just my thoughts RACOON

laraccoon writes:

in response to SevenT:

Troll this article is about Hart not your personal distaste for my comments.....going after Chuckie was "swinging for the fence" because it was not realistic to go after a retired NFL Coach who has a great gig on ESPN....Strong was Hart's target and Hart failed on both and settled for Jones. Hart failed go lure his guy from freaking Louisville to Tennessee. That is a big embarassing whiff for Hart.....Jones may turn out to be a great get, you are right time will tell...do yourself a favor and try to get a life, find a girlfriend and try not take comment boards so seriously....just my thoughts RACOON

"embarrassing whiff for Hart" thats the way you see it not me, and to be honest i think you are the only person ive heard say that . you didnt answer my question about playing ball or not .

SevenT writes:

in response to laraccoon:

"embarrassing whiff for Hart" thats the way you see it not me, and to be honest i think you are the only person ive heard say that . you didnt answer my question about playing ball or not .

I played several sports including football.

snowvol writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

You people have to be some of the dumbest posters anywhere. I have never seen posters such as underthehill and collegegrovebilly be so ignorant. It's comical.

Absolutely correct. My favorite lament from The Legion of Misguided is the endless, and comical, reference to "Alabama Dave." Or, if we hire a coach from, say, Gainesville, he becomes "Gator ______." Certainly these gentlemen, when coming here from Bama or Florida, only have one thing in mind: To sabotage Tennessee Athletics. They make millions as they check in secretly with their contacts in Tuscaloosa and Gainesville - or wherever else individuals are hired from - dead-set on undermining not only UT, but the entirety of Knoxville and the state of Tennessee.

I've always laughed off the notion from other fans that we have the dumbest, or one of the most moronic, fan bases. But you read comments here long enough and it becomes quite clear a few folks desperately need to remove the orange-colored filters that predispose everything they say and write.

Geofffourmyle writes:

in response to Geofffourmyle:

I wish someone -could- list something genuinely positive that Hart has done.

Walt

UT '81

....still crickets....

Walt

UT '81

volboy81 writes:

this competition has always seemed unbalanced and filled with holes. All schools dont play the same number or the same non-revenue sports. How are most SEC schools supposed to complete with schools like Stanford who offer everything from water polo and lacrosse to cricket and tiddly-winks!??!

SummittsCourt writes:

My opinion is still that it was a big mistake combing the men's and women's sports into one department.

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