John Adams: Dave Hart ahead of schedule with hires

John Adams
Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart, right, presents new football head coach Butch Jones at a press conference Dec. 7 in the Peyton Manning Locker Room Complex at Neyland Stadium. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

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

My first reaction to Tennessee’s hiring of athletic director Dave Hart: How can he distinguish himself?

By juggling the administrators beneath him? By putting an elevator in Lindsey Nelson Stadium?

By tweeting incessantly?

Hart’s options were limited when the former Florida State athletic director signed on with the Vols in September of 2011.

Athletic directors make their mark by the firing and hiring of coaches. And Hart had no apparent targets.

Football coach Derek Dooley was just entering his second season. Basketball coach Cuonzo Martin and baseball coach Dave Serrano had been hired only months before Hart.

But a seemingly settled landscape changed quickly.

First, tragedy struck Tennessee women’s basketball. Second, failure struck Tennessee football. Again.

And Hart had to make crucial changes.

You can’t judge the hiring of a coach based on one season, let alone half of an offseason. But you can say, “so far, so good.”

Last year, when illness forced legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt to retire, Hart replaced her with longtime assistant coach Holly Warlick. He also kept Summitt involved in the program as a head coach emeritus.

Warlick‘s first team exceeded preseason expectations. The Lady Vols won 27 games and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. She was named SEC coach of the year after leading her team to the regular-season conference championship.

She also signed one of the top recruiting classes in the country. Based on the high expectations for that class and three returning starters, the Lady Vols have been ranked third in one early top-25 poll for 2013-14.

No one expects coach Butch Jones’ first Tennessee football team to get anywhere near the top 25. Qualifying for a bowl would be a feat.

But Jones has excited UT fans with his energy, enthusiasm, accessibility and fast start in assembling the 2014 recruiting class.

Jones wasn’t Hart’s first or second choice. And a coach with a track record for success in the SEC or at a higher level nationally would have been preferable.

However, that doesn’t make Jones a bad choice. Moreover, his hiring at least indicates Hart has an understanding of the type of coach UT needs.

In a matter of months, Jones has connected better with fans than Dooley did in three years. Winning over fans isn’t a substitute for winning games, but it constitutes progress.

Hart has something else going for him besides the early returns on his most prominent coaching hires. Alabama conspiracy theorists no longer have a platform.

When Hart left a prominent administrative post at his alma mater for the UT job, it wasn’t so farfetched to think he might return when athletic director Mal Moore retired. But after Moore died in March, Alabama quickly replaced him with former UT football coach Bill Battle.

Now, it’s likely this will be Hart’s last stop as an athletic director. And he already has made two hires that could have an impact on UT sports after he has retired.

The evaluation of those hires could change drastically, of course. Warlick has to prove she can maintain a program at a high level. And Jones’ performance will be measured over years, not months.

But so far, so good.

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

Comments » 126

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say someone at KNS check Adams for fever! Witch Doctor say something positive? about Tennessee? Adams? Witch Doctor say hope you get to feeling better John!
Bones never lie.

trgclychip writes:

well now he needs to go find a Track and Field Director and clean that house up.

tovolny writes:

Way to go Witch Doctor...I wish I could say in ten lines what you say in three. Your posts always ring the bell. Ole John can still worm that negativity right between the lines though. One can never really drink to what he says.

laraccoon writes:

i think Adams is showing Jones alot of love cause Jones is so open with journalists/sportswriters in all facets of the program , i think Adams even mentioned that in the last article or two he has posted . people and recruits just seem to like Jones . i know the TROLLS do .

orangecountyvols writes:

lara,

When there is a topic with Hart's name featured,
it's surprising that 2 or 3 of the 'familiar faces on GVX' have not hopped all over the article. The name HART is a red flag for them.

Time will tell how it all plays out, so no need to roll out the nega-posts at this time although don't be surprised.

abnerPeabody writes:

Hart ,Jones, Martin and Warlick will have Tennessee on top in their respective sports.I'm glad to have all of them on board.Get er done Big Orange.

As for Baseball,not much has changed yet.

laraccoon writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

there will always be people this dumb who post comments such as this , they just cant help themselves ,they just couldnt cut it on the field in their prime and they think if they run their pie hole enough it will make up for their cowardness on the field . they will never get the fact in football you see and feel your opponent , on the internet you just see and feel yourself . right toddy ?

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

So true about Jones being accessible to the media. A coach that builds walls against the press better darn well win and win big..The scrutiny the media can surround a program with if they fall out of favor can be devastating. Case and point, Dooley trying to mimic Saban and exclude the media on a need to know basis was a disaster.

tvol71 writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Hart ,Jones, Martin and Warlick will have Tennessee on top in their respective sports.I'm glad to have all of them on board.Get er done Big Orange.

As for Baseball,not much has changed yet.

Not ready to give up on baseball yet, they are very young, but they have to get some pitching. If they are not in the top half of the SEC (one of the top baseball conferences) in two years, then you have a right to complain.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I guess if the trolls are going to lump UT fans with Hart (the Hart Foundation) would be more applicable..As for anti-Hart cronies & trolls (the Hart Attackers) seems more fitting..JAT.

WaltGoVoIs writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

lara,

When there is a topic with Hart's name featured,
it's surprising that 2 or 3 of the 'familiar faces on GVX' have not hopped all over the article. The name HART is a red flag for them.

Time will tell how it all plays out, so no need to roll out the nega-posts at this time although don't be surprised.

Dave "Your Cheating" Hart has made a hash of everything he's touched. That hasn't changed.

Walt

UT '81

WetumpkaThumpa writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A twelve year old kid that mommy and daddy let have too much computer time?

underthehill writes:

in response to WaltGoVoIs:

Dave "Your Cheating" Hart has made a hash of everything he's touched. That hasn't changed.

Walt

UT '81

Sal Sunseri..nuff said..

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to My_God_A_Freshman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Same post, different day. Must be nice to have so much time to waste posting the same ridiculous diatribe every day.

Thanks troll!

thevoice writes:

"And a coach with a track record for success in the SEC or at a higher level nationally would have been preferable."

And exactly who the hell would that be? Assuming the NFL is the "higher level" what successful coach would have left? For ANY college program? And show me a successful coach in the SEC who would leave for ANY other SEC program.

Folk will soon realize Jones was and is the best choice. Period. Go Vols. Go back home Adams.

Snapshot writes:

in response to My_God_A_Freshman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really KNS staff, you are going to allow this clown to use name of the Almighty in his/her screen name? I don't like it and I'm sure many others don't either.

Snapshot writes:

in response to My_God_A_Freshman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Apparently UT's President, the Chancellor and Athletics Board are all O.K. with Hart, so it REALLY doesn't matter what you think, does it, benchwarmer?

WaltGoVoIs writes:

in response to Snapshot:

Apparently UT's President, the Chancellor and Athletics Board are all O.K. with Hart, so it REALLY doesn't matter what you think, does it, benchwarmer?

Bad or incompetent people often have power. That doesn't make it right.

Walt

UT '81

dragon18 writes:

What a sad group this page brings out. I can't understand why there are 3 or 4 on here that seem to have so much BS to spew about the athletic department and especially about Dave Hart and have little to no foundation for all of that BS. BTW- Speculation and hearsay from your mother's boyfriend's sister/girlfriend does not qualify as foundation. I just get fed up with all of the "insider" insinuations that get made and passed off as the "truth squad". What is that anyway? some kind of pre-pubescent super hero club you guys schemed up in your Mommas lingerie closet? do you have to have a secret decoder ring to be a member?

You guys really need to get a life. There is so much more out there once you get past your compulsive hand wringing over the state of UT athletics.

AlpharettaVol writes:

in response to My_God_A_Freshman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There should be a word limit on posts. Next time he will be posting a copy of War and Peace.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to Snapshot:

Really KNS staff, you are going to allow this clown to use name of the Almighty in his/her screen name? I don't like it and I'm sure many others don't either.

Snapshot, this clown changes user names every time the wind blows. Some folks on this forum think he may be Richmond Flowers younger brother Jeff. At any rate he is an obvious pot stirring troll and absolutely not a Vol fan. His user name is a play on one of Georgia's most famous broadcast calls by Larry Munson during the 1980 UT-Georgia game. In other words this person is a Vol hating troll. No true Vol fan would use a Georgia reference as his user name

AlpharettaVol writes:

CBJ, CCM and CHW were in Atlanta with the Big Orange Caravan last night. There was a great turnout in spite of the fact that the location was hard to get to and parking was really terrible. As you can imagine, he wowed the crowd when asked when we could think about beating Alabama again. His reply: "Why not start now?" Probably won't happen for a couple of years but everyone really appreciates his positive attitude.

Someone asked about Tiny Richardson going to the NFL after this season. Coach Jones shot back that he still had a lot to accomplish at Tennessee.

All in all it was an outstanding evening and everyone agreed that he has put new life back into the program. Now let's see the fruits of his labors on the field this fall.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I don't know about Dave Hart? But the Blackburn guy is doing fine for UTC!! Watch out for little sister in the years to come. Well don't worry too much about the football team...But ladies bball AND men's bball? The Moc's have won 2 now! TWO I said! This year's ladies bball and a few years back men's. LOOKOUT UT! hmmm Did we play UT in baseball? Softball? I really don't know. But I would not be surprised to see Blackburn back eventually. Nothing against Hart but he IS ready for retirement some have said.

laraccoon writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

would that be the prime of ignorance ? its pretty easy to see you came up with a new screen name and replied to yourself , dont you think that is kind of silly ?

usafvol writes:

in response to dragon18:

What a sad group this page brings out. I can't understand why there are 3 or 4 on here that seem to have so much BS to spew about the athletic department and especially about Dave Hart and have little to no foundation for all of that BS. BTW- Speculation and hearsay from your mother's boyfriend's sister/girlfriend does not qualify as foundation. I just get fed up with all of the "insider" insinuations that get made and passed off as the "truth squad". What is that anyway? some kind of pre-pubescent super hero club you guys schemed up in your Mommas lingerie closet? do you have to have a secret decoder ring to be a member?

You guys really need to get a life. There is so much more out there once you get past your compulsive hand wringing over the state of UT athletics.

Great post dragon! It's like being in high school again and hearing all the drama queens with their daily gossip. To all the queens out there; WE GET IT, YOU DON'T LIKE DAVE HART AND YOU MISS FULMER. Please stop already..

EastTnVols962 writes:

I really wish The Tennessean posted more UT articles. The only reason I get on this site is because it offers so much. And then of course I like to see what fellow UT fans have to say. It starts out good, and then about five or six posts in, the arses step in. And I'm not just referring to the "truth squad". It's both sides. Yes I have had my tangles with one or two of them, but I try to stay out of it. Why can't everybody quit their bellyaching and have a meaningful conversation. The fact is, both sides are wrong. Hart is not out to destroy UT athletics. That's simply ludacris. And on the other side, yeah Butch has done good SO FAR, and I like what he says, but stop pumping your heads full of thoughts of rainbows, wins, and championships. Most UT fans know where we are. Why make it worse on ourselves by acting like 10 year olds arguing about which group gets to be the cops and which is the robbers? It's silly, and it ruins the site. I was gonna pay for 247, but at this point, it's not worth my time.

orangecountyvols writes:

USAF,

We have a number of Vol fans who are on the same team. We have simply 2, maybe 3 trolls here who as most have said, are present with an agenda to stir things up, run down the AD and coaches, and in short..........just be nuisances to everyone else who wants to attempt to enjoy the site.

Stay tuned. IMO, once again, with these ignorant screen names.........they may very well be history. We'll see.

Go USAF, and Go Vols

kyvol98 writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

USAF,

We have a number of Vol fans who are on the same team. We have simply 2, maybe 3 trolls here who as most have said, are present with an agenda to stir things up, run down the AD and coaches, and in short..........just be nuisances to everyone else who wants to attempt to enjoy the site.

Stay tuned. IMO, once again, with these ignorant screen names.........they may very well be history. We'll see.

Go USAF, and Go Vols

Always complaints, never offers solutions. Typical of a sad, sad person with low self esteem.
If they do want to have a say, write the big check and I am sure they will be listened to.

underthehill writes:

in response to EastTnVols962:

I really wish The Tennessean posted more UT articles. The only reason I get on this site is because it offers so much. And then of course I like to see what fellow UT fans have to say. It starts out good, and then about five or six posts in, the arses step in. And I'm not just referring to the "truth squad". It's both sides. Yes I have had my tangles with one or two of them, but I try to stay out of it. Why can't everybody quit their bellyaching and have a meaningful conversation. The fact is, both sides are wrong. Hart is not out to destroy UT athletics. That's simply ludacris. And on the other side, yeah Butch has done good SO FAR, and I like what he says, but stop pumping your heads full of thoughts of rainbows, wins, and championships. Most UT fans know where we are. Why make it worse on ourselves by acting like 10 year olds arguing about which group gets to be the cops and which is the robbers? It's silly, and it ruins the site. I was gonna pay for 247, but at this point, it's not worth my time.

You make a very good point..it appears to me some prefer to engage in personal debate rather than discuss the topics presented by the writers..I agree it would be best to just respect the right of each to their own opinions..I'm sure I am guilty..as most are..of not complying with this simple principle..my opinion of Dave Hart is that he was hired by those who won a power struggle and with his resume' ..he brought a lot a baggage to UT..and has created a great deal more since he has been here..I respect the right of others to disagree...as for your comment..Most UT fans know where we are..I think you are 100% correct..most..not all..UT fans know where we are..and as I see it..it serves no good purpose to create unrealistic expectations based on nothing other than hoping Jones can work miracles..to look at what he has done so far ..to me..is reason for being optimistic about the future..with the schedule this year..could be some rough going before UT gets to that future..we'll see..

antonio14313 writes:

in response to My_God_A_Freshman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

how does it feel, knowing that you typed ALL OF THAT, and it's still nothing more than hot air? little of it true, but MOST of it lies and opinions. sorry to have to be the one to tell ya.

my god, a cleansing! stay miserable, who cares...

go vols!

t

antonio14313 writes:

in response to AlpharettaVol:

CBJ, CCM and CHW were in Atlanta with the Big Orange Caravan last night. There was a great turnout in spite of the fact that the location was hard to get to and parking was really terrible. As you can imagine, he wowed the crowd when asked when we could think about beating Alabama again. His reply: "Why not start now?" Probably won't happen for a couple of years but everyone really appreciates his positive attitude.

Someone asked about Tiny Richardson going to the NFL after this season. Coach Jones shot back that he still had a lot to accomplish at Tennessee.

All in all it was an outstanding evening and everyone agreed that he has put new life back into the program. Now let's see the fruits of his labors on the field this fall.

thanks for the post! go vols!!!

t

tennlions writes:

in response to EastTnVols962:

I really wish The Tennessean posted more UT articles. The only reason I get on this site is because it offers so much. And then of course I like to see what fellow UT fans have to say. It starts out good, and then about five or six posts in, the arses step in. And I'm not just referring to the "truth squad". It's both sides. Yes I have had my tangles with one or two of them, but I try to stay out of it. Why can't everybody quit their bellyaching and have a meaningful conversation. The fact is, both sides are wrong. Hart is not out to destroy UT athletics. That's simply ludacris. And on the other side, yeah Butch has done good SO FAR, and I like what he says, but stop pumping your heads full of thoughts of rainbows, wins, and championships. Most UT fans know where we are. Why make it worse on ourselves by acting like 10 year olds arguing about which group gets to be the cops and which is the robbers? It's silly, and it ruins the site. I was gonna pay for 247, but at this point, it's not worth my time.

Definitely +1.
I understand true fans that get passionate about their school and its teams. I will always wear my orange and white here in the heart of Big 10..11..whatever, country. I also understand the frustrations of those "truth squad" members. It sucks to see greatness reduced to rubble. I believe that things are on their way back up, though. There is much work left to do and I think it can be done with the people who are there to do it.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

all you ever do is mimic your man crush jeffy's posts. You are probably the same person

EastTnVols962 writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't understand why you are arguing me. I simply said all the bickering on this sight is pointless. And I'm not saying Hart is the savior of UT athletics. I agree with several of those points. But that doesn't mean he was sent here as a spy to infiltrate an already dismal AD. That's what you all seem to think. And it's just silly. I hated Sunseri, and didn't have an account on here when he was hired, so I never pumped sunshine up anyone's arse. And I loved Pat, and was very upset with the way that was handled. But I simply do not agree that his whole agenda is to bring down UT athletics.

EastTnVols962 writes:

in response to underthehill:

You make a very good point..it appears to me some prefer to engage in personal debate rather than discuss the topics presented by the writers..I agree it would be best to just respect the right of each to their own opinions..I'm sure I am guilty..as most are..of not complying with this simple principle..my opinion of Dave Hart is that he was hired by those who won a power struggle and with his resume' ..he brought a lot a baggage to UT..and has created a great deal more since he has been here..I respect the right of others to disagree...as for your comment..Most UT fans know where we are..I think you are 100% correct..most..not all..UT fans know where we are..and as I see it..it serves no good purpose to create unrealistic expectations based on nothing other than hoping Jones can work miracles..to look at what he has done so far ..to me..is reason for being optimistic about the future..with the schedule this year..could be some rough going before UT gets to that future..we'll see..

Agreed, and honestly, I didn't know a lot about Hart when he was hired. At the time I was too caught up with trying to graduate and work to look into it. My opinion is, if our athletics start to improve, then I can't complain. But clearly the jury is still out on that. And our schedule is rediculously brutal this year. Not only is the Oregon game gonna be rough, but adding it at the point of the season we did will hurt. I didn't realize until I really started looking at it that we have ZERO OOC games after September. That's 7 SEC opponents in a row, including....heck all of em are tough haha.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to WaltGoVoIs:

Bad or incompetent people often have power. That doesn't make it right.

Walt

UT '81

Positions of power are often highly criticized because they have to make decisions that may be unpopular to a large number of people, and those people may not know all factors that went into those decisions. I’m quite certain if you were AD we’d all be sitting around discussing how bad an incompetent you are as well.

vol49 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

EastTnVols962 writes:

in response to tennlions:

Definitely +1.
I understand true fans that get passionate about their school and its teams. I will always wear my orange and white here in the heart of Big 10..11..whatever, country. I also understand the frustrations of those "truth squad" members. It sucks to see greatness reduced to rubble. I believe that things are on their way back up, though. There is much work left to do and I think it can be done with the people who are there to do it.

I agree. I like the coaches we have. I really, really, really hope Butch is not a flop. I don't think I could handle that. I'm not huge on Martin, but he can redeem himself this season.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to billythekid:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You’re right… I’m sure it’s one big conspiracy. I can only imagine how upset he currently is with Butch Jones, his top 5 recruiting class and efforts to re-energize the fan base. It might actually improve the talent level of the team and increase ticket sales. This will certainly throw a monkey wrench into his master plan of wrecking UT athletics. Sounds like it’s time he hands CBJ his pink slip for not adhering to the master plan.

Must be tough going through life with the IQ of a possum.

EastTnVols962 writes:

in response to vol49:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

V O L S GO VOLS GOOOOOO

madrigal writes:

Puff piece. Pure puffery.

Snapshot writes:

in response to FearTheVols1252:

You’re right… I’m sure it’s one big conspiracy. I can only imagine how upset he currently is with Butch Jones, his top 5 recruiting class and efforts to re-energize the fan base. It might actually improve the talent level of the team and increase ticket sales. This will certainly throw a monkey wrench into his master plan of wrecking UT athletics. Sounds like it’s time he hands CBJ his pink slip for not adhering to the master plan.

Must be tough going through life with the IQ of a possum.

I think you are giving billyboy WAY to much credit comparing him to a possum! LOL

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to Snapshot:

I think you are giving billyboy WAY to much credit comparing him to a possum! LOL

Looks like sillythekid and Jeffy are going to have to come up with different user names

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to thevoice:

"And a coach with a track record for success in the SEC or at a higher level nationally would have been preferable."

And exactly who the hell would that be? Assuming the NFL is the "higher level" what successful coach would have left? For ANY college program? And show me a successful coach in the SEC who would leave for ANY other SEC program.

Folk will soon realize Jones was and is the best choice. Period. Go Vols. Go back home Adams.

Don't think Adams was trying to gig anybody here. Jones has not been in the big spotlight until now. Central Michigan and Cincinnati in no way compare to Neyland Stadium and the SEC.

Probably JA meant Hart would have felt more comfortable with a guy who had proven himself on a bigger stage. But there was no one that fit the description who wanted the job by the time they fired Derek Dooley.

From what a recent former Vol told me, they had their chance to take Sumlin and instead Mike Hamilton chose Dooley. Now A&M is beating Bama and Vols are bringing another guy in to try to fix that mistake.

GOJO writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say someone at KNS check Adams for fever! Witch Doctor say something positive? about Tennessee? Adams? Witch Doctor say hope you get to feeling better John!
Bones never lie.

********

Doc, I value your insight, but is Adam really positive now about U.T. sports or just his buddy Hart?

antonio14313 writes:

in response to utvolfan1955:

Looks like sillythekid and Jeffy are going to have to come up with different user names

...probably with even more usernames than now. kinda like getting a gremlin wet after midnight...

t

The_Power_T writes:

http://youtu.be/lZ_K7wPJhp8 The fire is back in Rocky Top. We have coaches that will work hard, hold themselves and their players accountable, and give their all for the University of Tennessee. Go Vols!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Don't think Adams was trying to gig anybody here. Jones has not been in the big spotlight until now. Central Michigan and Cincinnati in no way compare to Neyland Stadium and the SEC.

Probably JA meant Hart would have felt more comfortable with a guy who had proven himself on a bigger stage. But there was no one that fit the description who wanted the job by the time they fired Derek Dooley.

From what a recent former Vol told me, they had their chance to take Sumlin and instead Mike Hamilton chose Dooley. Now A&M is beating Bama and Vols are bringing another guy in to try to fix that mistake.

At that point in time, both Sumlin and Dooley were gambles. What sets an AD apart in making hires is having the connections, the familiarity, the inside knowledge of the players (coaches). Dickey, being a former football coach was an insider for football, not so much for basketball. Hamilton was good raising money and expanding facilities, was not an insider and played the game like a stock market investor novice. He probably took Dooley because Saban didn't bad mouth him, and Sumlin was still an unknown. Hart has been at several institutions and may have the connections to make sound decisions. Didn't look that way early on before settling on Jones but we'll have to see if Jones is Hart's Bruce Pearl (obvious hot stock) or his Lane Kiffin (all marketing no product).

murrayvol writes:

in response to madrigal:

Puff piece. Pure puffery.

You probably feel the same way about Puff the Magic Dragon.

FanNotSheep writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

At that point in time, both Sumlin and Dooley were gambles. What sets an AD apart in making hires is having the connections, the familiarity, the inside knowledge of the players (coaches). Dickey, being a former football coach was an insider for football, not so much for basketball. Hamilton was good raising money and expanding facilities, was not an insider and played the game like a stock market investor novice. He probably took Dooley because Saban didn't bad mouth him, and Sumlin was still an unknown. Hart has been at several institutions and may have the connections to make sound decisions. Didn't look that way early on before settling on Jones but we'll have to see if Jones is Hart's Bruce Pearl (obvious hot stock) or his Lane Kiffin (all marketing no product).

I don't think UT has been able to attract a big time coach because of the way they ousted Fulmer. Fans close to the situation saw the steady decline and the obvious struggles whenever Cutcliffe was gone. But even fans who wanted a change would have preferred Fulmer be treated way better than he was.

Outsiders saw it as another example of a heartless institution throwing a great coach out like he was a bum too soon after he won an SEC title. The media played it that way and coaches unfamiliar with UT saw it that way too. Dooley over Sumlin was an example of Hamilton choosing a smooth talker over a football coach. Hart seems to have picked a football coach.

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