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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Who Didn't See This Coming?: Mike Hamilton Steps Down As University of Tennessee’s AD:

The news of Mike Hamilton stepping down as UT’s AD should really not come as a surprise to those who closely monitored the situation. His tenure as AD was the most tumultuous in Tennessee’s long and storied athletic department history. He oversaw three coaching changes in Tennessee’s usually stable football program including the firing of UT legend Phil Fulmer and the hiring of Lane Kiffin (Kiffin is a curse word around these parts). Kiffin replaced Fulmer and everyone knows how that one ended. Derek Dooley is still working to get the Kiffin’s stench out of Knoxville. Hamilton also hired and fired former men’s beloved basketball coach Bruce Pearl. Pearl was Hamilton’s best hire until Pearl’s scandal and allegations led to his eventual firing amid a media firestorm. Tennessee has been charged with 12 major violations since Hamilton has taken over in 2003. There were multiple player suspensions from the likes of fighting, robbery, drug charges, gun charges and many more. Now all of this wasn’t his fault, as it was the coaches’ job to control their players. But Hamilton DID hire those coaches who were take care of that side for him. He has always been accustomed to change as AD of Tennessee, because it was the one constant he has dealt with while serving.

Furthermore, Hamilton hasn’t had the support base of the Tennessee family for some time now. His handling of the Fulmer and Pearl situation left many doubters. He always seemed a step behind when it came to having the right amount of fortitude and leniency on his coaches. Kiffin was able to get away with many violations right under Hamilton’s nose and the same can be said about Pearl. Those two were direct hires of Hamilton’s. Just listen in to one the sports shows in town and when someone mentions Hamilton the conversation immediately takes a downward spiral. There are websites dedicated to Hamilton titled “” and some other ones I can’t even mention due to vulgar language. He will join the long list of coaches who were bought out by UT including Fulmer, Pearl, former baseball coach Todd Raleigh. The sum of those parts are costing the University $3.1 million dollars annually and when you throw in Hamilton’s projected buy out at $1.3 million, your looking at a staggering amount of money for guys who are not on the sidelines.

It will be interesting to see what Hamilton’s legacy is remembered for at UT. He did hire the most successful men’s basketball coach in the school’s history in Pearl. He did fire one of the most loved coaches in UT history as well in Phil Fulmer. The school was always in the media rather it is for the right or wrong things. He wasn’t the most well like man but he had the have support of the right people at UT and that has to be one of the reasons he kept his job as long as he did. Chancellor Jimmy Cheek had to know inevitably this day was coming soon. From what he said in the press conference lets you know as much as he stated he did not force Hamilton out BUT DID NOT TRY TO CONVINCE HIM TO STAY EITHER. Wow, that about sums it up best. No one in Tennessee wanted to force him out but now that he is gone most of the Tennessee faithful are breathing a sigh of relief.

1 comment:

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