Mike Strange: This season was supposed to be different for Vols; it's not

Mike Strange
Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) hangs his head as they walk off the court after losing to North Carolina State 65-58 at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) hangs his head as they walk off the court after losing to North Carolina State 65-58 at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Bolstering its resume by snagging road wins has been beyond UT’s grasp thus far. Now the Vols can’t even defend their home turf.

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Comments » 47

VibrantVol writes:

Martin is history. Pearl wants the job back. Haslam needs to persuade Cheek to do it before Pearl gets another big job elsewhere. No way we make the NCAA. Virginia will beat us at home, too.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Pearl isn't coming back, good riddance of the conjecture.
However, the Titanic has sailed.
Good luck Coach Martin, you are a wonderful human being.

TommyJack writes:

The sad fact is, CM can't coach offense. There is no plan. Plus, Stokes has shown zero improvement. Coach'em up? Hello?

atnvol#283282 writes:

It is a sad period in the overall performance of Tennessee athletics....we just cannot seem to get over the hump in any of the major sports programs....

willphill#241787 writes:

in response to VibrantVol:

Martin is history. Pearl wants the job back. Haslam needs to persuade Cheek to do it before Pearl gets another big job elsewhere. No way we make the NCAA. Virginia will beat us at home, too.

You are exactly right!

tenacvol#248890 writes:

Bring Pearl Back!!

KENVOL writes:

I think it is a forgone conclusion that Martin is gone. I don`t see him saving his job. There is. no desire on this team. Good luck down the road CCM.

manoffewwords writes:

in response to VibrantVol:

Martin is history. Pearl wants the job back. Haslam needs to persuade Cheek to do it before Pearl gets another big job elsewhere. No way we make the NCAA. Virginia will beat us at home, too.

AMEN

manoffewwords writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

Pearl isn't coming back, good riddance of the conjecture.
However, the Titanic has sailed.
Good luck Coach Martin, you are a wonderful human being.

WHY NOT .

manoffewwords writes:

in response to tenacvol#248890:

Bring Pearl Back!!

Now!

TommyJack writes:

in response to TommyJack:

The sad fact is, CM can't coach offense. There is no plan. Plus, Stokes has shown zero improvement. Coach'em up? Hello?

Bruuuuuuce!

NewMarketVol writes:

This team has no direction,to much standing around. It looks like everybody is wating on somebody else to make a play. Bring Bruce back now!

Plasticman85 writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

Pearl isn't coming back, good riddance of the conjecture.
However, the Titanic has sailed.
Good luck Coach Martin, you are a wonderful human being.

The Pope is a wonderful human being too but probably can't coach a lick of basketball. Either bring back Bruce Pearl or our program is headed in a downward spiral that will take years to reverse. Hopefully Hart has the you know what to do the right thing. Bring back Bruce!!!

SmokeysPup writes:

not into basketball like football, but I will watch the VOLS when they are on tv. I watched the first 10 minutes and turned the channel. I felt like I was watching a scrimmage game.

JSmith525 writes:

I really thought that this season would be the one to get the Vols back. It is so hard to watch this team play. With the talent that this team has there are "ZERO" excussess for their bad play. When painfully watching the games, I wonder what the hell is CMM thinking. He shows "ZERO" emotion at courtside. Some one needs to light a fire under the teams butt and someone needs to light a bonfire under Martin's butt. His pitiful display gives the the impression that he want's his butt fired. I don't understand it one bit. That much talent and they play the most boring game I can remember. Geeze,, Martin wake up already and do your damn job..

slb1zellwood#1421797 writes:

Someone best do something quick because I don't know when I have ever see worst coaching than what the current staff is providing to these kids. I have seen better coaching in pick-up back yard games than we are seeing from this staff. Damn I live in Florida and I thought coach Martin and staff would have this team performing at a high level and us Tenn. folks in Fla. some relief from the Gator people. But I guess not if last night is a sample of the best effort this staff and team have to give. The whole situation with the program and staff is just plain blah.

maciste54 writes:

I hate it for CCM but I also hope Hart doesn't make us suffer through this for the rest of the season. Enough is enough.

ColPhorbin writes:

Yeah, I'm over this Cuonzo. Is this like a joke gone bad? This team is truly the worst I've ever seen. I seriously wonder if we can end with a 500 record

murrayvol writes:

in response to ColPhorbin:

Yeah, I'm over this Cuonzo. Is this like a joke gone bad? This team is truly the worst I've ever seen. I seriously wonder if we can end with a 500 record

"the worst I've ever seen" Surely not. The most boring......probably.

wilk58 writes:

in response to JSmith525:

I really thought that this season would be the one to get the Vols back. It is so hard to watch this team play. With the talent that this team has there are "ZERO" excussess for their bad play. When painfully watching the games, I wonder what the hell is CMM thinking. He shows "ZERO" emotion at courtside. Some one needs to light a fire under the teams butt and someone needs to light a bonfire under Martin's butt. His pitiful display gives the the impression that he want's his butt fired. I don't understand it one bit. That much talent and they play the most boring game I can remember. Geeze,, Martin wake up already and do your damn job..

This talent is missing one key element. Putting the ball thru the basket.

OrangePride writes:

After speaking with a lot of the people around me after last night's game, the most upsetting thing about this year's team and their games is the all too present lack of intensity and hustle for 40 minutes. It was there for the first 10 minutes of the second half and then again as we got towards the 6 minute mark. But that was about it. The atrocious shooting, inconsistent foul shooting, and hot/cold performances of almost every player is just puzzling. This IS the team that was supposed to really compete on both ends for the full game. I hate to say it, but I cannot say I have seen a positive growth in any of the last 3 years. In fact, I think this might be the worst performing team of the group....at least to this point. As for bringing Pearl back, it's just a bit early to talk about new coaches. It's almost impossible to conceive that BP will be back no matter how many fans would like that to happen. That would be too much crow for this administration and AD to have to eat. But not to worry; if by some chance we are in the market for a new coach somewhere this year, it looks like there should be quite a few to choose from who would perhaps be an improvement. We get beat by them with lesser talent every week.

BigDave64 writes:

I mentioned this a while back but I will mention it again since the Pearl talk is heating up. Back in the Fall I was playing golf at Gettysvue and Steven Pearl caught us and played through. We chatted with him for a minute and I asked him if his dad would ever come back to UT. He said he would love to come back but the Cheek issue would be a problem. I am not trying to act like I know everything and I have inside knowledge or anything, just a little tidbit for your reading enjoyment..

jakethevolguy writes:

in response to murrayvol:

"the worst I've ever seen" Surely not. The most boring......probably.

Maybe both! I can watch a bad team play if they are giving a lot of effort. But, a team with this much tallent and playing like a geriatric team......can't watch. I too changed channels after 10 minutes.

OrangePride writes:

in response to KENVOL:

I think it is a forgone conclusion that Martin is gone. I don`t see him saving his job. There is. no desire on this team. Good luck down the road CCM.

Perhaps not a "forgone conclusion," but his stock is certainly falling into the basement. And you're right about "no desire" being apparent with this team. Listless is another good description. But as far as CCM's continuing as the Tennessee coach, there is an even bigger issue than lackluster play silently creeping in..........attendance. TBA was nearly museum-like last night. By the end of the game, even the custodians had left. And the lack of crowd enthusiasm was evident nearly all night. This will get worse. An empty arena will get CCM the hook much faster than the poor play. So we will see. My hope is that it will turn around, but that doesn't look like a good bet right now.

philcable#1432406 writes:

There is more talent on this team than ever before in UT mens BB history, yet CM is unable to win meaningful games. BRING BACK BRUCE and the players will start competing with intensity the entire game!

ColPhorbin writes:

in response to murrayvol:

"the worst I've ever seen" Surely not. The most boring......probably.

"Surely not?" Can you come up with worse shooting team in the last 30 years? I seriously wonder which UT edition shot a lower percentage from the floor than this one. We actually lead the nation in offensive rebounds, you'd think that might mean more points

SewaneeVolFan writes:

I want Coach Martin to succeed. I think he's a good man and he does good things for his team -- makes his players grow up to be responsible men who will succeed as fathers, husbands, and good people to have in the work force.

Having said that, it kills me to watch this team. I shut off the game a few minutes into the second half, knowing what was going to happen. The Vols would play better defense and shoot a bit better (they had nowhere to go but up), but still lose the game without it really looking like they had a chance to win it. From the news accounts, that seems to have happened.

Bruce Pearl's teams' offense often looked like a strange Harlem Globetrotters weave where nothing was happening except the guards passing the ball back and forth and the forwards running back and forth on the baseline. Except that at the end of the game, UT would have scored LOTS of points, played tough defense on the other team's stars, and won the games they SHOULD win, and stolen a number of games they weren't favored to win.

Coach Martin's teams play good defense, some of the time, and that's all I see them do. Their offense is embarrassing, and their lack of offensive talent is glaringly obvious. McRae's development is impressive, but no one else seems to have grown on offense, and Maymon and Stokes seem to have regressed.

I don't know that we can hire Pearl back, even when the show cause is over, but regardless, I'm afraid that without gigantic improvement, this team won't make the NCAA, and consequently Coach Martin is not going to last another year.

bUTch__please writes:

Hey Coach Zo...that tingling sensation you're feeling...it's the fork.
Good luck and thanks.

wigmeister writes:

It is time for a coaching change, but that will not happen till after the season. No decent coach would leave his team in the middle of a campaign. Take a look at some of the coaches that have beaten us. Coaching an SEC team(even in bball) will give them much more exposure. Hope we have enough sense in the people upstairs to hire a talented and successful coach.

9wb writes:

Good night, the party's over.

Plasticman85 writes:

in response to BigDave64:

I mentioned this a while back but I will mention it again since the Pearl talk is heating up. Back in the Fall I was playing golf at Gettysvue and Steven Pearl caught us and played through. We chatted with him for a minute and I asked him if his dad would ever come back to UT. He said he would love to come back but the Cheek issue would be a problem. I am not trying to act like I know everything and I have inside knowledge or anything, just a little tidbit for your reading enjoyment..

The only chance for Bruce Pearl returning is to get rid of Jimmy Cheek first. I'm not sure who can make that happen, but our men's athletics program has been pathetic since Cheek arrived on campus ( from Florida). What will it take to get him out of Knoxville?

VibrantVol writes:

There is absolutely no question that Bruce wants his old job back. That has been expressed privately to many people.

Jim Haslam, as always, is the key. Bill Sansom, Bruce's present employer, would love to see him come back, too.

Jimmy Cheek is trying to run athletics but has no clue how to do so. If he will step aside & let Hart rehire Pearl, we will have an overnight upgrade in our team.

Pearl made a minor mistake & paid a huge price for it. He was treated far more harshly than anyone else ever has been for such infractions.

Bruce has always been a championship coach. He won the national championship at Southern Indiana. He won conference championships at Wisconsin-Milwaukee & got them into the NCAA Sweet 16. He got UT its first-ever #1 national ranking, its highest ever seed in the NCAA tourney, its only appearance ever in the Elite 8, went to the NCAA every year he was here, won SEC championships overall & divisional championships regularly, beat our archrivals Kentucky, Vanderbilt, & Florida regularly.

Martin was never qualified for this job to begin with. He had never achieved anything before he got here as a head coach & hasn't achieved anything since he's been here. He has never made the NCAA tournament as a head coach & never will. If you can't be one of the 68 best teams in the country, you don't belong as Tennessee's basketball coach.

It makes no sense to try to hire anyone else besides Pearl. He's already here. He wants the job back. There is no NCAA issue now with rehiring him. The fanbase is hungry for him. He will fill the arena again. Anyone else will be an unknown as to what they can do here. We hired too many losers since Mears before we found a gem in him.

If Cheek or Hart hire anyone other than Pearl, it will cause a fan revolt. It will split the fan base apart. The vast majority want him back. If UT wants to be smart, instead of all of the dumb decisions this administration has made, they need to make a popular choice to get fans feeling good about donating again, as the jury is still out on Jones as to whether, despite his great recruiting, he & his staff can coach up the talent to championship level in the SEC again in football.

jone8191#247590 writes:

in response to VibrantVol:

There is absolutely no question that Bruce wants his old job back. That has been expressed privately to many people.

Jim Haslam, as always, is the key. Bill Sansom, Bruce's present employer, would love to see him come back, too.

Jimmy Cheek is trying to run athletics but has no clue how to do so. If he will step aside & let Hart rehire Pearl, we will have an overnight upgrade in our team.

Pearl made a minor mistake & paid a huge price for it. He was treated far more harshly than anyone else ever has been for such infractions.

Bruce has always been a championship coach. He won the national championship at Southern Indiana. He won conference championships at Wisconsin-Milwaukee & got them into the NCAA Sweet 16. He got UT its first-ever #1 national ranking, its highest ever seed in the NCAA tourney, its only appearance ever in the Elite 8, went to the NCAA every year he was here, won SEC championships overall & divisional championships regularly, beat our archrivals Kentucky, Vanderbilt, & Florida regularly.

Martin was never qualified for this job to begin with. He had never achieved anything before he got here as a head coach & hasn't achieved anything since he's been here. He has never made the NCAA tournament as a head coach & never will. If you can't be one of the 68 best teams in the country, you don't belong as Tennessee's basketball coach.

It makes no sense to try to hire anyone else besides Pearl. He's already here. He wants the job back. There is no NCAA issue now with rehiring him. The fanbase is hungry for him. He will fill the arena again. Anyone else will be an unknown as to what they can do here. We hired too many losers since Mears before we found a gem in him.

If Cheek or Hart hire anyone other than Pearl, it will cause a fan revolt. It will split the fan base apart. The vast majority want him back. If UT wants to be smart, instead of all of the dumb decisions this administration has made, they need to make a popular choice to get fans feeling good about donating again, as the jury is still out on Jones as to whether, despite his great recruiting, he & his staff can coach up the talent to championship level in the SEC again in football.

Great post and I agree with every word. There are a few holier-than-thou members of Big Orange Country that don't want Pearl but the vast, vast majority do. He hosted a barbecue and told a lie. What other SEC coaches have done that? (Answer: Many). Calipari burned two programs to the ground and had colleges clamoring for him. Pearl had the Vols ranked number one in the country, ESPN ran a continuous ticker for the Memphis game and Tennessee was within two free throws of playing in Final Four. AND NOW WE HAVE THIS TO WATCH? Bring back Bruce!!!!!

willphill#241787 writes:

in response to VibrantVol:

There is absolutely no question that Bruce wants his old job back. That has been expressed privately to many people.

Jim Haslam, as always, is the key. Bill Sansom, Bruce's present employer, would love to see him come back, too.

Jimmy Cheek is trying to run athletics but has no clue how to do so. If he will step aside & let Hart rehire Pearl, we will have an overnight upgrade in our team.

Pearl made a minor mistake & paid a huge price for it. He was treated far more harshly than anyone else ever has been for such infractions.

Bruce has always been a championship coach. He won the national championship at Southern Indiana. He won conference championships at Wisconsin-Milwaukee & got them into the NCAA Sweet 16. He got UT its first-ever #1 national ranking, its highest ever seed in the NCAA tourney, its only appearance ever in the Elite 8, went to the NCAA every year he was here, won SEC championships overall & divisional championships regularly, beat our archrivals Kentucky, Vanderbilt, & Florida regularly.

Martin was never qualified for this job to begin with. He had never achieved anything before he got here as a head coach & hasn't achieved anything since he's been here. He has never made the NCAA tournament as a head coach & never will. If you can't be one of the 68 best teams in the country, you don't belong as Tennessee's basketball coach.

It makes no sense to try to hire anyone else besides Pearl. He's already here. He wants the job back. There is no NCAA issue now with rehiring him. The fanbase is hungry for him. He will fill the arena again. Anyone else will be an unknown as to what they can do here. We hired too many losers since Mears before we found a gem in him.

If Cheek or Hart hire anyone other than Pearl, it will cause a fan revolt. It will split the fan base apart. The vast majority want him back. If UT wants to be smart, instead of all of the dumb decisions this administration has made, they need to make a popular choice to get fans feeling good about donating again, as the jury is still out on Jones as to whether, despite his great recruiting, he & his staff can coach up the talent to championship level in the SEC again in football.

Very insightful commentary. Could not agree more. Bring back Coach Pearl and get a new Chancellor.

johnlg00 writes:

I saw my first UT basketball game in Alumni Gym in 1957. I've watched every one I could ever since. When I couldn't attend or watch on TV, I listened on the radio. I loved Mears, respected DeVoe, and endured Green, Houston, and O'Neill. I loved Pearl. I admired Martin and wanted the best for him.

I am afraid I will have to adjust to a new guy after this season. I would be thrilled to see the present trend reversed, even this season, but I am no longer counting on it. I don't know exactly what the problem is with this team, but at the end of the day it is up to Martin to diagnose it and fix it or it is all over for him when the season finally ends.

I will continue to watch all I can and hope things get better, because that is what a fan does, as I see it. What I am seeing now is like a tragedy in a family, in MY family. My emotional equilibrium is not as affected by Vol losses as it would be by a real tragedy in my real family, but there is no question that my life-long love for basketball, especially the UT variety, is taking on more nearly the feeling of a death watch than as a source of pride and pleasure for me.

I have no control over the future of the program, but I for one would welcome Pearl back. Failing in that, the next hire must be a true needle-mover, or UT's long sojourn in the game's lower reaches will not end in my lifetime. I join all the rest of you in my disappointment over the way the season is apparently going, but I will not join any display of contempt for the players or for Martin. Those of you who are turned that way are welcome to any joy it gives you.

vols1002 writes:

in response to willphill#241787:

Very insightful commentary. Could not agree more. Bring back Coach Pearl and get a new Chancellor.

Great Post UT. fans know What a Great coach Bruce Pearl is. Bruce has paid for his mistake now it time to give him a second chance he can turn this program around quickly. Bring Back Bruce

underthehill writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I saw my first UT basketball game in Alumni Gym in 1957. I've watched every one I could ever since. When I couldn't attend or watch on TV, I listened on the radio. I loved Mears, respected DeVoe, and endured Green, Houston, and O'Neill. I loved Pearl. I admired Martin and wanted the best for him.

I am afraid I will have to adjust to a new guy after this season. I would be thrilled to see the present trend reversed, even this season, but I am no longer counting on it. I don't know exactly what the problem is with this team, but at the end of the day it is up to Martin to diagnose it and fix it or it is all over for him when the season finally ends.

I will continue to watch all I can and hope things get better, because that is what a fan does, as I see it. What I am seeing now is like a tragedy in a family, in MY family. My emotional equilibrium is not as affected by Vol losses as it would be by a real tragedy in my real family, but there is no question that my life-long love for basketball, especially the UT variety, is taking on more nearly the feeling of a death watch than as a source of pride and pleasure for me.

I have no control over the future of the program, but I for one would welcome Pearl back. Failing in that, the next hire must be a true needle-mover, or UT's long sojourn in the game's lower reaches will not end in my lifetime. I join all the rest of you in my disappointment over the way the season is apparently going, but I will not join any display of contempt for the players or for Martin. Those of you who are turned that way are welcome to any joy it gives you.

I hate it but have to agree..bringing Pearl back may be the best option..and I still would like to see this team play up to what I think is their potential..but I differ greatly with Martin on several points..you cannot be predictable on defense as UT is..Stokes is a great rebounder but has no idea what to do on offense with his back to the basket..his primary role should be to screen and get his points on rebound put backs..I think Stokes can play in the NBA as a role player if he gets a mean streak in him like Dennis Rodman and Wes Unseld..to get guys beat up in practice to the point they cannot be at their best in the game is beyond stupid..I could go on about his lack of game coaching and the games it cost the Vols..such as the MTSU game on UT's home floor..but enough said..I still would like to see the Vols turn this around and win every game ..saw my first game at Alumni Gym before 1957..my high school coach played there and got his boys in free...

VibrantVol writes:

The problem with UT athletics traces back to the fact that Bredesen's appointees to the Board, who make up its vast majority, care very little about the school & many never went there as students. He never attended a Board meeting himself when he was Governor & his appointees are responsible for the pitiful hires of DiPietro & Cheek. Remember that DiPietro only got his job by one vote, an 11-10 vote of the Trustees, & only after Joe Johnson pushed for him late. The other guy that got the 10 votes is now President of ETSU, Brian Noland, where they are building a new performing arts center that puts Clarence Brown Theatre to shame & are reviving their football program with Phillip Fulmer as a consultant.

DiPietro will take a hands off approach to the men's basketball firing & hiring, just like he does on every other athletics issue on campus. Cheek will try to tell Hart what to do, but both of them have the Napoleonic "short man" syndrome & butt heads with each other. If Cheek had had his way, Charlie Strong would be our football coach now, instead of Butch Jones.

Haslam is still the key guy. He trumps everyone. Hopefully he isn't too preoccupied with the Pilot mess & the Cleveland Browns & his son's re-election as Governor to still care about getting the arena filled up again. He sits at courtside for every game & saw how empty it was last night. The announced 14,000 tickets that were sold were far more than what showed up. There were no more than 10,000 there. The men's basketball program has always turned a profit, but it won't this year. Hart has to get someone who will fire up the fan base again, & Pearl is the only logical guy to do that. Anyone else is too much of a risk. Hart can save his job & Cheek's by hiring Pearl. Otherwise, both Cheek & Hart will be out of a job soon, especially if Jones doesn't make it.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I saw my first UT basketball game in Alumni Gym in 1957. I've watched every one I could ever since. When I couldn't attend or watch on TV, I listened on the radio. I loved Mears, respected DeVoe, and endured Green, Houston, and O'Neill. I loved Pearl. I admired Martin and wanted the best for him.

I am afraid I will have to adjust to a new guy after this season. I would be thrilled to see the present trend reversed, even this season, but I am no longer counting on it. I don't know exactly what the problem is with this team, but at the end of the day it is up to Martin to diagnose it and fix it or it is all over for him when the season finally ends.

I will continue to watch all I can and hope things get better, because that is what a fan does, as I see it. What I am seeing now is like a tragedy in a family, in MY family. My emotional equilibrium is not as affected by Vol losses as it would be by a real tragedy in my real family, but there is no question that my life-long love for basketball, especially the UT variety, is taking on more nearly the feeling of a death watch than as a source of pride and pleasure for me.

I have no control over the future of the program, but I for one would welcome Pearl back. Failing in that, the next hire must be a true needle-mover, or UT's long sojourn in the game's lower reaches will not end in my lifetime. I join all the rest of you in my disappointment over the way the season is apparently going, but I will not join any display of contempt for the players or for Martin. Those of you who are turned that way are welcome to any joy it gives you.

Good post per as usual. Back in the day a guy posted here with the screen name "hope is not a course of action". We can all hope like hell, but it won't help. If we're not getting better at this point, it's not going to happen.

VibrantVol writes:

I never thought I'd see a coach that was poorer than Wade Houston, but Cuonzo may definitely be worse. He certainly can't coach offense.

We missed our first 11 three-pointers last night. We had 12 shots blocked inside against supposedly the biggest & toughest front line we've had in years. We barely scored 20 points in the first half.

Martin must go. Bruce must be brought back. Any other outcome will leave the arena dark & empty for years to come. Hart realizes the bottom line must change. He must persuade Cheek to eat crow.

Hart is the first UT athletics director to also hold the title Vice Chancellor for Athletics. He needs to exercise the full weight of that title & make the change as soon as this season is mercifully over. Unfortunately, we as fans will probably have to endure more excruciatingly bad basketball as the year unfolds. Even as bad as the rest of the SEC is, we will have more bad losses at home & many more on the road.

Dan Dakich, who was on Bobby Knight's staff at Indiana for a decade, knows good & bad basketball. He was the TV color commentator last night on ESPNU. He excoriated the "4 guys in suits" on the bench, meaning Martin's staff, for being clueless when NC State got on the bonus. Unbelievably, no one was keeping track of the opposing team's total fouls! We pay all of these guys 6 figure salaries & it's OUR money, since donors & season ticketholders truly do pay their salaries, & we as Tennessee taxpayers pay their benefits. Their ineptitude is inexcusable.

murrayvol writes:

in response to VibrantVol:

There is absolutely no question that Bruce wants his old job back. That has been expressed privately to many people.

Jim Haslam, as always, is the key. Bill Sansom, Bruce's present employer, would love to see him come back, too.

Jimmy Cheek is trying to run athletics but has no clue how to do so. If he will step aside & let Hart rehire Pearl, we will have an overnight upgrade in our team.

Pearl made a minor mistake & paid a huge price for it. He was treated far more harshly than anyone else ever has been for such infractions.

Bruce has always been a championship coach. He won the national championship at Southern Indiana. He won conference championships at Wisconsin-Milwaukee & got them into the NCAA Sweet 16. He got UT its first-ever #1 national ranking, its highest ever seed in the NCAA tourney, its only appearance ever in the Elite 8, went to the NCAA every year he was here, won SEC championships overall & divisional championships regularly, beat our archrivals Kentucky, Vanderbilt, & Florida regularly.

Martin was never qualified for this job to begin with. He had never achieved anything before he got here as a head coach & hasn't achieved anything since he's been here. He has never made the NCAA tournament as a head coach & never will. If you can't be one of the 68 best teams in the country, you don't belong as Tennessee's basketball coach.

It makes no sense to try to hire anyone else besides Pearl. He's already here. He wants the job back. There is no NCAA issue now with rehiring him. The fanbase is hungry for him. He will fill the arena again. Anyone else will be an unknown as to what they can do here. We hired too many losers since Mears before we found a gem in him.

If Cheek or Hart hire anyone other than Pearl, it will cause a fan revolt. It will split the fan base apart. The vast majority want him back. If UT wants to be smart, instead of all of the dumb decisions this administration has made, they need to make a popular choice to get fans feeling good about donating again, as the jury is still out on Jones as to whether, despite his great recruiting, he & his staff can coach up the talent to championship level in the SEC again in football.

You've made some excellent points. I fear the biggest obstacle to Pearl's return is the SEC office in Birmingham. For some reason they've had it in for him from day one.

Just for comparison's sake look at Frank Haith's activities at Miami before taking the Missouri job. Lots of really bad stuff and what does he get? A 5 game (all meaningless) suspension. All while Pearl serves a 3 year "show cause". Does what Pearl did even compare to Haith's transgressions? No way!

fannotsheep writes:

What has Cheek done that has helped the athletic department? If he is, as I have also been told by a person close to Pearl, the obstacle to getting our coach back, then get him the hell out of there.

This is ridiculous. As much as I respect him as a person, Martin is apparently a great guy who can't coach. His team reflects his personality. I never see any emotion from him -- or from any of his UT teams. When Pearl was there you could see the sweat, and you knew he bled orange. The tears? Those were and are still being shed by fans who loved UT basketball.

The NCAA is more corrupt than any of the programs it oversees. What happened to Bruce Pearl was one of the worst cases of the punishment not fitting the crime that I've ever seen. If Pearl deserved his fate, the NCAA should have been permanently disbanded and the guilty parties put in prison for the University of Miami fiasco.

This Tennessee team has more talent than many of the teams Pearl took to the NCAA. On paper, maybe more than the team that was ranked #1 after beating Memphis. Did Pearl ever have a lineup with two 5-star and two 4-star recruits? Have you ever seen such a talented and experienced team that can't beat anybody?

If the Vols don't start playing with fire and purpose they won't even make the NIT. The only possible reason for it is lack of coaching. If Hubbs played this poorly for his high school coach he wouldn't have even been a three star.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to fannotsheep:

What has Cheek done that has helped the athletic department? If he is, as I have also been told by a person close to Pearl, the obstacle to getting our coach back, then get him the hell out of there.

This is ridiculous. As much as I respect him as a person, Martin is apparently a great guy who can't coach. His team reflects his personality. I never see any emotion from him -- or from any of his UT teams. When Pearl was there you could see the sweat, and you knew he bled orange. The tears? Those were and are still being shed by fans who loved UT basketball.

The NCAA is more corrupt than any of the programs it oversees. What happened to Bruce Pearl was one of the worst cases of the punishment not fitting the crime that I've ever seen. If Pearl deserved his fate, the NCAA should have been permanently disbanded and the guilty parties put in prison for the University of Miami fiasco.

This Tennessee team has more talent than many of the teams Pearl took to the NCAA. On paper, maybe more than the team that was ranked #1 after beating Memphis. Did Pearl ever have a lineup with two 5-star and two 4-star recruits? Have you ever seen such a talented and experienced team that can't beat anybody?

If the Vols don't start playing with fire and purpose they won't even make the NIT. The only possible reason for it is lack of coaching. If Hubbs played this poorly for his high school coach he wouldn't have even been a three star.

I can't argue with much of this, but Hubbs is clearly hurt. I know it is his non-shooting shoulder, but we have no idea how much pain he feels or what instinctive basketball motions he is hesitant to even try. This may be particularly harmful to his defense and general confidence in his toughness. We knew that the Vols needed one other outside shooter besides McRae to help unclog the middle, and Hubbs seemed like the most likely candidate. Richardson clearly has a better stroke this year, but he works harder than anybody else on defense and hasn't made the mental shift to become a "go-to" offensive player as well. All of these perimeter difficulties are compounded by Barton's injuries, which are clearly limiting him as well. I am disappointed that nobody else has stepped up from this supposedly deep team to take up the slack, but there it is.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Why not go after a Coach that can win a NC. Pearl couldn't while playing his worthless son as Maymon watched from the bench.
Pearl is a puffed up has been that lied.
Go get a winner from a traditional basketball powerhouse and pay him the big money since all you experts are ready to pony up at least $10,000 a year to make Tennessee BB legitimate. Oh wait, most of you don't donate to the Tennesse Fund or spend the real money to go to TBA!
Bruce ain't coming back but you can put the big cash in the can to buy a real winner.
Heck, Butch is making 3.9 Million and hasn't won anything.
As the erosion continues in this class when is he going to make football significant again. Haslam screwed with the football program and Coach Fulmer and look where we are. He can't run the Browns or bring Bruceee back!

ThirdCreek writes:

in response to ColPhorbin:

Yeah, I'm over this Cuonzo. Is this like a joke gone bad? This team is truly the worst I've ever seen. I seriously wonder if we can end with a 500 record

The Wade Houston or Kevin O'Neill coached teams were much worse than what Martin has produced so far. Let's keep things in perspective.

ThirdCreek writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I saw my first UT basketball game in Alumni Gym in 1957. I've watched every one I could ever since. When I couldn't attend or watch on TV, I listened on the radio. I loved Mears, respected DeVoe, and endured Green, Houston, and O'Neill. I loved Pearl. I admired Martin and wanted the best for him.

I am afraid I will have to adjust to a new guy after this season. I would be thrilled to see the present trend reversed, even this season, but I am no longer counting on it. I don't know exactly what the problem is with this team, but at the end of the day it is up to Martin to diagnose it and fix it or it is all over for him when the season finally ends.

I will continue to watch all I can and hope things get better, because that is what a fan does, as I see it. What I am seeing now is like a tragedy in a family, in MY family. My emotional equilibrium is not as affected by Vol losses as it would be by a real tragedy in my real family, but there is no question that my life-long love for basketball, especially the UT variety, is taking on more nearly the feeling of a death watch than as a source of pride and pleasure for me.

I have no control over the future of the program, but I for one would welcome Pearl back. Failing in that, the next hire must be a true needle-mover, or UT's long sojourn in the game's lower reaches will not end in my lifetime. I join all the rest of you in my disappointment over the way the season is apparently going, but I will not join any display of contempt for the players or for Martin. Those of you who are turned that way are welcome to any joy it gives you.

Why is it you had to "endure" Coach Green? He took the Vols to the NCAA consistently.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ThirdCreek:

Why is it you had to "endure" Coach Green? He took the Vols to the NCAA consistently.

His players were often out of control, on and off the court. He argued with fans and school officials. His teams rarely won big games. He had as much talent as any coach in UT history, year after year, and did comparatively less with it than any other UT coach. IMHO.

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