Dave Hart: 'We've got to continue the series'

University of Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart introduces new head football coach Butch Jones during a press conference in the Peyton Manning Locker Room Complex at Neyland Stadium Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

University of Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart introduces new head football coach Butch Jones during a press conference in the Peyton Manning Locker Room Complex at Neyland Stadium Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Whether Memphis coach Josh Pastner likes it or not, those in charge are working to continue the rivalry between Tennessee and Memphis men's basketball.

In an interview before Friday's meeting between the Vols and Tigers at Thompson-Boling Arena, UT athletic director Dave Hart said that he and Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen spoke Thursday and "agreed that we should continue the series."

"In what form and what will happen next year, nobody is certain of, but at some point we've got to continue the series," Hart added.

Friday night's matchup between Tennessee and Memphis marks the final meeting in an eight-year, home-and-away contract dating back to 2005-06. The deal coincided with a five-game home-and-home football agreement with one remaining contest scheduled for 2017 in Knoxville.

Hart said Friday night that whether it's against the Tigers or not, the Vols will play inside the Memphis city limits in the future.

"Let's say at the end of the day, for whatever reason, they reverse field and don't want to play, well we'll play a neutral-site game there," Hart said. "We're going to have a presence in Memphis. I'd prefer to be against Memphis. I'd like to play Memphis. That makes the most sense."

Pastner began the week's buildup to the game by reaffirming a long-held desire to end the rivalry. On Monday he said, "We will not play Tennessee anymore as long as I'm the head coach and I'm doing my scheduling."

Hart said he "recently called Tom after reading some of the things Josh was saying" and the two have had "multiple conversations centered on men's basketball."

Bowen left Pastner on an island Thursday, making contrary comments that, "We are re-evaluating (continuing the series)" and tossing in that playing the Vols is "important for us."

Since those comments, Pastner has eased off his unbending desire to see the rivalry end. He responded to the Commercial Appeal on Friday saying, "We're just going to re-evaluate everything when the year is done on the scheduling to see what's best. We want to see what's going on with the Big East schedule and everything else."

The uncertainty surrounding Tennessee-Memphis consumed both programs as the week progressed to Friday's meeting. Questions of whether future games would be played grew more important than the game itself.

On Friday, former UT coach Bruce Pearl opined that he "would be disappointed if the series were to end" in a 1,086-word ESPN.com article questioning Pastner's motives in spiking the series.

Hart echoed Pearl's sentiment.

"Our position has been very constant," he said. "This series is important for the state of Tennessee and it's important to college basketball. As I said to Tom, 'Why would we not continue to meet.' He's been great and we're going to continue those conversations.

"(Bowen) wants to see what's going on with the Big East, which I understand, but he also wants this series to continue."

Regarding Tennessee and Memphis hammering out a deal for future football games in addition to 2017, Hart said, "We haven't gotten there yet because we've been totally focused on this series."

According to Hart, Bowen told him he'd like his Tigers to play UT in "a lot of sports."

"I said he can get to that, too, because that makes a lot of sense as well," Hart said.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 23

k.hardeman1#1413041 writes:

this post is about tonights game.(the first half) where is the 6'8 derek reese that shoots the ball so well .. you know the one that played in tennessee's last ball game??? memphis is playing alot of zone daring ut to shott. HELLO!!reese also can help rebound and he's smart. also vols guards cant handle their point guard so why doesnt coach try to switch it up at all on defense. tennessee is very good man to man but sometimes you have to switch it up atleast give the other team different looks. no press, halfcourt traps, anything to try and press the other team to turn the ball over. that would be a good change up when trying to get back into a ball game

k.hardeman1#1413041 writes:

and another thing... as much as coach martin talk's about getting the ball to the big guys down in the post. why cant anyone make an entry pass on time or at the right angle or even make one period.

VolGrad writes:

Only thing worse than how we are playing is these ESPN announcers.

VolGrad writes:

McRae and Richardson are playing their butts off. Lopez has caused a couple of Memphis turnovers also. But, yeah, where is Reese?

VolGrad writes:

These guys calling the game kill me. Earlier they were saying, "I think Cuonzo knows that his team is not built to come back from this kind of deficit."

Then, once Tennessee had it back to single digits, "you can never count this team out. We told you it wasn't over yet.... Never count a Cuonzo Martin team out - he's a cancer survivor."

They are the only things bouncing more than the ball out there tonight.

VolGrad writes:

Nice job bouncing back tonight, but way too many easy baskets for Memphis. Tough loss. Wished we had Maymon back, and still don't know why I never saw Reese out there. I'm sure someone will ask that question.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

Wow..maybe we SHOULDN'T continue the rivalry after tonight. Vol couldn't hit the broad side of Chris Christie in the first half. 29% from the field?

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really? We win AT LEAST 20 this year...This isn't football. SEC sucks.

AFTiger writes:

The reason Memphis wants to cut the Vols is so they have one less cupcake on their schedule.

lomas98 writes:

in response to k.hardeman1#1413041:

this post is about tonights game.(the first half) where is the 6'8 derek reese that shoots the ball so well .. you know the one that played in tennessee's last ball game??? memphis is playing alot of zone daring ut to shott. HELLO!!reese also can help rebound and he's smart. also vols guards cant handle their point guard so why doesnt coach try to switch it up at all on defense. tennessee is very good man to man but sometimes you have to switch it up atleast give the other team different looks. no press, halfcourt traps, anything to try and press the other team to turn the ball over. that would be a good change up when trying to get back into a ball game

Not sure why Reese didn't play tonight, but he was 2-8 from the field with zero rebounds in his last game. Not sure if that means he shoots the ball well or not. Since he hasn't posted a single rebound yet I would hold off with knowing he can help with rebounding.

k.hardeman1#1413041 writes:

reese hasnt played enough... but a 6'8 frame can help in rebounding. he took a charge in his first game on defense. i will say that the scout will get out on him and his shooting. he stayed around the 3 point line alot. when teams start closing on him he will need to pump fake and drive to the basket more and use his length in the paint.

mike#208050 writes:

The University of Memphis has some control over who plays in the FedEx Forum. Does Hart not know that? Well, nothing is stopping you from playing @ White Station High School. I am sure Dane Bradshaw could help making those arrangements.

Memphis AD, Tom Bowen is new to Memphis. I really doubt he is going to over rule a Coach who hold the school's highest winning percentage & has beat UT the last three times we met. At Memphis, basketball pays the bills.

Mr. Hart might have a problem with Mr. Fred Smith, Memphis's largest booster, renting the building with his Company's name on it.

Just pointing out the obvious.

stevefrommemphis writes:

14-11 in basketball. 20-1 or something like that in football. Drop them. Drop Memphis. East Tennessee has nothing to gain by maintaining a presence in the Detroit of the South.

frblalack writes:

The UT-Memphis series is a natural rivalry. It is a Win-Win for both Universities. I applaud Coach Hart & AD Tom Bowen for seeing the "bigger picture"!!! It just makes sense to continue the competition; anything else is just beyond stupid!

lail#204076 (staff) writes:

in response to k.hardeman1#1413041:

this post is about tonights game.(the first half) where is the 6'8 derek reese that shoots the ball so well .. you know the one that played in tennessee's last ball game??? memphis is playing alot of zone daring ut to shott. HELLO!!reese also can help rebound and he's smart. also vols guards cant handle their point guard so why doesnt coach try to switch it up at all on defense. tennessee is very good man to man but sometimes you have to switch it up atleast give the other team different looks. no press, halfcourt traps, anything to try and press the other team to turn the ball over. that would be a good change up when trying to get back into a ball game

Reese didn't play because he was hurt.

-- jack lail
Knoxville News Sentinel

johnlg00 writes:

in response to k.hardeman1#1413041:

this post is about tonights game.(the first half) where is the 6'8 derek reese that shoots the ball so well .. you know the one that played in tennessee's last ball game??? memphis is playing alot of zone daring ut to shott. HELLO!!reese also can help rebound and he's smart. also vols guards cant handle their point guard so why doesnt coach try to switch it up at all on defense. tennessee is very good man to man but sometimes you have to switch it up atleast give the other team different looks. no press, halfcourt traps, anything to try and press the other team to turn the ball over. that would be a good change up when trying to get back into a ball game

I wondered about the apparent absence of Reese as well. Of course, with my non-HD TV, it was hard to tell who was who much of the time with those all-orange uniforms. Although I have been as big a fan of Skylar McBee as anyone on here, he just is not getting it done these days, so maybe somebody else needs to get most of his minutes. Start McRae and bring in Reese to spell him. I also agree that while an aggressive attitude on defense is a must for any serious team, it doesn't require TOTAL reliance on a man-to-man every minute against every opponent in every situation. Aggressiveness is a MENTAL attitude, part of which includes the ability to create hesitation and doubt in your opponents' minds. Changing defenses can have that effect, even if your team is not equally good at playing every defense. To follow your thought further, the Vols have lots of quick, long-armed guys who could be dynamite in a trapping defense, whether half-court or full-court. CCM is the man in charge, the team's performance and record are all on him, and I love nearly everything about him, but he can seem a bit stubborn about some things, not all of which he needs to be so stubborn ABOUT, IMHO.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to lail#204076:

Reese didn't play because he was hurt.

-- jack lail
Knoxville News Sentinel

Thanks, I hadn't heard anything about that. Was it his bum shoulder or something else?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to lomas98:

Not sure why Reese didn't play tonight, but he was 2-8 from the field with zero rebounds in his last game. Not sure if that means he shoots the ball well or not. Since he hasn't posted a single rebound yet I would hold off with knowing he can help with rebounding.

Agree about Reese's percentage in that game, but it WAS his first one, he didn't play all that many minutes, and every shot he took was right on line, just a bit short on his misses. As for no rebounds, again, he didn't play that much and sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way if you're not around the basket all the time. I don't KNOW how much he can help the team this year, but they were talking in the preseason about what an impression he was making, so I hope we get more chances to see if he is indeed "all that".

johnlg00 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree with all. Memphis had not come CLOSE to shooting that well in any other game this season. The early fouls on Stokes hurt, as did Golden's continuing lethargic play. I don't mean to knock on the guy--I don't believe in dissing young players unless they show bad character in some way--but I have to believe he is sick or hurt. He just doesn't seem to have any bounce in his step. The team did show a lot of heart in coming back, though, and they should do well in the SEC. Not sure if they can do well ENOUGH to make the Big Dance, but no need to give up on this team yet.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to k.hardeman1#1413041:

reese hasnt played enough... but a 6'8 frame can help in rebounding. he took a charge in his first game on defense. i will say that the scout will get out on him and his shooting. he stayed around the 3 point line alot. when teams start closing on him he will need to pump fake and drive to the basket more and use his length in the paint.

I think when he gets healthy--thanks for the info, Mr. Lail--Reese will help a lot. Unlike Skylar, I don't think Reese is exclusively an outside shooter; at his size, he must have taken it inside some in HS. We may have to wait a bit yet before we know how much he can help the team. I just hope it doesn't take too long.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mike#208050:

The University of Memphis has some control over who plays in the FedEx Forum. Does Hart not know that? Well, nothing is stopping you from playing @ White Station High School. I am sure Dane Bradshaw could help making those arrangements.

Memphis AD, Tom Bowen is new to Memphis. I really doubt he is going to over rule a Coach who hold the school's highest winning percentage & has beat UT the last three times we met. At Memphis, basketball pays the bills.

Mr. Hart might have a problem with Mr. Fred Smith, Memphis's largest booster, renting the building with his Company's name on it.

Just pointing out the obvious.

I'm pretty sure the FedEx Forum is not the only big arena in a town the size of Memphis. Also, FedEx may have the name sponsorship on the building but they probably don't run it directly, and a building that size and cost needs stuff going on there all the time. Another way to look at the relationship between Pastner and Bowen is that Bowen didn't HIRE Pastner--hence has no particular stake in him personally--but Pastner works for him, and he DOES have overall responsibility for the welfare of the athletic department. I have to give the Tigers their due for last night, but I doubt the world has seen the last of the UT-Memphis rivalry, whatever Pastner thinks about it.

volsmith writes:

Save the series with Memphis, and get rid of Dave Hart and Jimmy Cheek!

WestOfKnox writes:

FedExForum is owned and operated by the Grizzlies. But the Tigers have a certain right of refusal for any college game there. It would be hard for UTK to get a game there. Besides, it would not sell out and UTK would go in the hole financially with the steep rent. There is an arena down in Southhaven, MS that would probably be more suitable. It would help West TN fans, but no recruits are going to confuse the Desoto Center with the Forum...I just think Hart needs to quit begging - it is unbecoming.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features