hankrules2011

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Posts Tagged ‘ut’

My Birthday

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 21, 2015

This past Saturday was my birthday. I turned 49. One more year til the big 5-0. I better enjoy it.

I had a pretty good day. I wanted a laid back day and that’s what I got. No parties, no friends, no family, other than my wife. Just my wife and my cats. It was sweet.

Gretchen started the day by making me some delicious low carb pancakes. Very nice. I read for a little bit and finished a really good book that I had tried to finish the night before. I’ll review it soon. It was excellent. Then we went to McKay Used Books, which is a huge used bookstore that also sells music, movies and games. I got seven new sci fi books for not very much at all, and Gretchen got a couple of books herself, so it was a successful outing. We also stopped at Walgreens to pick up four of my prescriptions. Fortunately, they didn’t cost too much, so that was a good thing.

We went home and hung out. I made myself my usual low carb lunch. I like to read during lunch, so I did. Lunch lasts a long time for me. Gretchen thinks it’s funny. Henry usually comes to visit me during lunch. Ace used to, but he doesn’t anymore. I’m not sure why.

Of course, Saturdays are now college football days and I’m elated. There were some good games that day, but most didn’t start til mid-afternoon, so I talked with Gretchen and read til then. I also talked with Mom on the phone, who sang Happy Birthday to me. Gretchen went to the gym, so I went down to the den to turn on some football. I watched a little of the LSU and Auburn game and also the Notre Dame and Georgia Tech game.

After awhile it was time to feed the cats and they were very happy about it. Then it was time for our dinner. Gretchen, at my request, made me a low carb pizza which is actually quite good. She had something else because it’s not her favorite. Later we had some allegedly low carb cake with some icing she had made. It was great! Gretchen also gave me a lovely card and a couple of cool presents. They were a Pittsburgh Pirates coffee mug, a great looking one, and a Pirates t-shirt, which fits great. Just what I wanted. She took a picture of me holding them. I think I’ll post it here.

After dinner, it was pretty much time for the Tennessee/Western Carolina game, so we turned that on. If you’re a Vols fan, like we are, it was an awesome game. We completely dominated and won 55-10. The whole team played well. Which was good because next week we play Florida and we have to be prepared for that. We haven’t beaten Florida in forever, but this year I think they’re going down and it’ll be pretty sweet if that happens.

We went to bed fairly early, in part because I had been up since 12:30 AM and was tired. I have severe insomnia and am often up between midnight and 1:30 for the rest of the day. It’s tiring. As for the diet, since mid-February I’ve been on an extremely low carb diet with Gretchen (I average 6 carbs per meal.) and I’ve lost about 56 pounds. I look and feel better, but I still have to lose a whole lot more. I have a long way to go, but I think I’ll be able to keep losing for awhile before I level off. At least I hope so. Anyway, all in all, it was a pretty good birthday. Thanks for letting me tell you about it.

Me with my birthday presents

Me with my birthday presents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Sports Update

Posted by Scott Holstad on December 10, 2014

Here’s another sports update.

Well, the regular college football season is over. Tennessee finished strong to finish with a 6-6 record, good enough to make a bowl. This is big, because we haven’t been to a bowl in four years. This year we’re going to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl, formerly the Gator Bowl, against Iowa, a tough opponent. I can remember playing them in previous bowls and going 1-1 against them, I think. We’ve been bad for too long. We used to be great. We used to have 10 win seasons consistently and in 1998, we won the national championship against Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl. I was there for that game. It was awesome. Those were our glory days. We’ve won six national championships and have had some other great seasons, but for some reason we’ve fallen on hard times. However, we have a new second year coach — Butch Jones — who seems good, has gotten some excellent recruits, and seems on the right path. We’ve played 23 freshmen this year, more than any other team, so we’ll have experience in coming years. Next year, I expect us to win 8-9 games and challenge for the SEC East.

UT is now also in the middle of the men’s and women’s basketball seasons. The men’s team lost most of its players from last year and has only one decent player and a bunch of new ones. So far, we’re 3-3. The Lady Vols have been decent, but not great, and are ranked 11th in the country so far.

Meanwhile, my Steelers have had a schizophrenic year. They’re 8-5 and in the middle of the wild card race for the playoffs. They just had a great win against division leading Cincy. The problem is, we play great against the best teams and have gotten beat by some of the worst teams in the league, teams we should easily pound, like Tampa Bay. It’s been really frustrating. Still, some of our players are having outstanding years. Career years. Ben Roethlisberger has passed for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns. He became the second player in league history to have two 500 yard passing games in the same season. Second year running back Le’Veon Bell has rushed for over 1,200 yards and five touchdowns and with his receiving totals, has nearly 2,000 yards, which is outstanding. Last week, he became the second player in league history, joining Walter Payton, to have three consecutive 200 yard games. And wide receiver Antonio Brown has 105 catches for 1,375 yards and 11 touchdowns, all of which lead the league. In fact, Brown is the leading receiver, Bell is the second leading rusher and Big Ben is the fourth ranked quarterback. All of this is really exciting and I hope they all make the Pro Bowl, because they really deserve it.

Additionally, my Pittsburgh Penguins are having an excellent year. They’re 18-6-3 and leading their division. Sidney Crosby is second in the league in scoring, after leading the league last year. Evgeni Malkin is fourth in the league in scoring. And goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is fourth in the league in wins and is having perhaps his best season with a great goals against average of about 2.07. That’s  awesome for him because he’s taken a lot of criticism over the past few years for fading in the playoffs, even after helping the team win the Stanley Cup a few years ago. Even though we make the playoffs every year, we haven’t been to the Stanley Cup in five years, so I’m hoping this year we can do it. One of the problems, however, is we have tons of injuries. We’ve lost so many players to injuries that it seems these three great players are playing with all minor league players surrounding them. It’s amazing we can win any games at all. Hopefully we’ll get some players back soon because this has been ridiculous.

I guess that’s about it. I’m happy UT has made a bowl and hope we win. I’m hoping the Steelers make the playoffs and then anything can happen. A Super Bowl would be awesome. And the Penguins will go all the way to the Stanley Cup again, barring continuing injury problems. A good fall. Here’s to a good winter.

 

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Lady Vols Game

Posted by Scott Holstad on November 27, 2014

I’ve been a fan of the Tennessee Lady Vols for over 30 years now, am a UT alum, have been to many of the men’s games, but I’ve never actually been to a Lady Vols game. Until last night. UT came to Chattanooga to play UT Chattanooga, a 3-2 Southern Conference team (small conference). The Lady Vols were undefeated and ranked #4 in the country. Easy win, right? Well, UTC got off to a great start and UT was playing TERRIBLE defense, and normally they’re one of the best defensive teams in women’s basketball. They were scoring layups on us, out rebounding us (normally we’re a dominant rebounding team), out hustling us, and we really looked flat. Our offense was terrible too. UTC jumped out to a big lead and led throughout the first half. I kept waiting for UT to catch up, but they never did. At the half, the Lady Mocs (UTC) led the Lady Vols 37-21. I couldn’t believe it! It was crazy. We’ve been beating teams by 49 points a game this season. And we were totally dominated — by a team that had only one starter over six feet tall. Normally the Lady Vols have a very tall team and we were definitely taller than they were last night. There’s no way we should have been trailing so badly.

Our coach must have said some pretty serious stuff at halftime, because we came out with a much better defensive effort. We played full court defense and got turnovers and some good shots. And even though our offense stilled looked off, we started catching up. Their one time 17 point lead was trimmed to 10 with about 10 minutes left in the game. We kept up the pressure and made some better shots. Finally, with about three or four minutes left, we evened it up at 57. Now I knew we were going to win. Just like we should. Except … our coach called off the full court press and UTC started making layups again. And making good shots. And we just went back to looking bad. With about a minute left, UTC was up 64-63. I thought we’d get the ball on possibly two more possessions and would pull it out. We came down the floor, put up a bad shot, fouled the Lady Mocs player, who promptly made one of two free throws to put them up 65-63. We still had about 18 seconds left, though, to tie or win on a three. Then the unreal happened. We got it down in the post to one of our best players who went in for a layup to tie it and it got blocked. She got the rebound, went up again, and it got blocked AGAIN!!! UTC got the ball back with 2.7 seconds and we fouled. They sunk both free throws to ice the game and won 67-63. It was unreal and I think it was only the second time we’ve ever lost to them. The crowd of mostly Lady Vol fans (we travel well) was stunned. The Lady Mocs fans were going nuts. All I could say was, great effort UTC, lousy effort UT. We shot 37% for the game and I think UTC shot over 50%. We only made a couple of threes; they made six. We just flat out got beat. Chattanooga was the better team last night and now we’ll fall from #4 and we’ll have to regroup because we play #6 Texas next, so we better put on a good showing for them.

The game environment was a little weird. UTC has a nice little arena. We had decent seats and they weren’t overly expensive. But, the guy to our right was a huge neanderthal who slammed into my wife as he walked past her and left a dent in her nose. Nice. I should have pushed him over the seats. Asshole. The women to our left were butch as hell and one had hairier arms than I do and they were pretty histrionic all game long, waving to all of their friends all over the arena. Annoying. The guy behind us screamed all game long. Nearly deafened us. And the disgusting young fat woman in front of me was wearing jeans without a belt and had the worst plumber’s crack I’ve ever seen in my life. To top it off, someone kept farting all throughout the game and the place stunk. Really weird vibes. Can we say redneck? Even though we live in Chattanooga now, and it’s a pretty nice little city, there are still a ton of rednecks around here and they were out in full force last night. Yikes! I’ve lived all over the country and I’ve never encountered anyone quite like the southeastern Tennessee/ north Georgia redneck. And the accents! Sheesh.

Still, even though my team lost, we had a good time and my wife was so impressed with the Lady Mocs that she wants to go back to the arena to see THEM play some more games. Maybe I’ll join her. Heh.

 

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Sports Update

Posted by Scott Holstad on August 2, 2014

I grew up a huge baseball fan. Specifically a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as I lived there during the 1970s. I enjoyed seeing the team win two World Series during that decade. I followed the team religiously until the early 1990s, when they broke up a great team led by MVP Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, and Andy Van Slyke. They stopped winning circa 1992 and went into a 20 year losing streak unseen in any sport. They gave away all of their best players every year and didn’t even try to win. It was disgusting and it really turned me off to the team and the sport. However, last year, the Pirates fielded a competitive team and had their first winning season in over 20 years and made the playoffs — and I suddenly discovered my enjoyment of watching baseball. And I’ve been watching a lot of baseball this year. Currently the Pirates are 57-51 and three and a half games out of first, behind Milwaukee. However, I also enjoy watching the Orioles play, mainly because that’s my wife’s team. When we were in Baltimore in April, we went to a home game there and it was very enjoyable. The stadium’s nice and the fans are great. So I’ve now been to baseball games in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta, St Louis, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. And I’ve been to minor league games in Knoxville and Chattanooga. Baseball, for me, is still kind of boring, especially compared to hockey and football, but it’s still nice to be getting back to liking it.

Meanwhile, football season is coming up and I’m excited! I’m actually probably more excited about the NFL season than I am college football, which never happens to me. But I’m a Steelers fan and we’ve made a lot of personnel moves during the offseason and had a good draft, so I’m hoping we can improve on last year’s 8-8 record and I think we will. I think we’ll make the playoffs again, which is where the Steelers belong. My college team is the Tennessee Volunteers, as I’m a UT alum. We’ve been down the past few years, which has been tough, especially after seeing a spectacular 1990s decade with Peyton Manning and a national championship. However, second year coach Butch Jones had a good recruiting class and I’m hoping we will be better. Actually, I think we’ll be better, but we won’t have a better record because our schedule’s so brutal. We have to go to #3 Oklahoma for the second game and we’ll get creamed. We have to play Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, etc., etc., and we’ll be lucky to win one or two of those games. So even though we should be better, I think we’ll still have a pretty rough record…. It doesn’t help that we don’t have any decent quarterbacks.

And of course I’m really excited about the upcoming hockey season. I love hockey. I think hockey players are the best athletes there are. They have to be strong, tough, fast, graceful, durable — they’re amazing. And they often play into their 40s. I don’t know how they do it. My team is the Pittsburgh Penguins, led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. We’ve been making the playoffs every year, but ever since we won our last Stanely Cup in 2009, we’ve had great regular seasons and have tanked in the playoffs, so the team fired the general manager and coach and hired new ones. Hopefully this will help. We also got rid of 11 players, including several very good ones I had hoped we would hold on to, and have imported a number of new players, although none that are great, like I had been hoping for. We need a top line goalie, as our goalie is good, but not great. However, we signed a backup goalie, which really ticks me off. We need someone better than that. You can only go as far as your goalie takes you and I’m not convinced with can win with Fleury in the playoffs anymore. Oh well. Still, I’m stoked about hockey season and can’t wait for it to start. Even my wife has gotten into watching it with me, which is very cool.

I guess that’s it for today’s post. Just thought I’d share my excitement with the world. Cheers!

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Tennessee ends Mercer’s NCAA run with romp

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 24, 2014

Mercer Bears vs. Tennessee Volunteers – NCAA Tournament Game – Recap – March 23, 2014 – ESPN.

UT put on a completely dominating performance to make it to the Sweet 16 for the first time in several years. Go Vols!

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Things

Posted by Scott Holstad on October 4, 2013

Just a few things. I’m sorry I haven’t updated in awhile. Not too much has been going on for me personally, and I’m in the middle of three very large books, so I haven’t been able to write a book review for awhile. However, I’m nearly done with one (finally!), so hopefully a book review will be coming.

This past Tuesday was the nine week anniversary of Dad’s death. I’m still in a state of shock, I guess. I just still can’t believe he is gone. He was fit. He was healthy. He was mowing my yard while I was at a meeting when he collapsed and died. I was there to witness it. I tried to save him, but failed. I feel sick about it. My therapist wants me to go to a grief support group. It started this week, so I’ve missed one meeting. I don’t know. I think I’m doing pretty well, considering, but I may give them a call today to find out more about it.

My wife has a bad knee, meanwhile. We think she hurt it playing racquetball with me about a month ago. It’s been increasingly bad and she can barely walk. We took her to the doctor a couple of days ago and he thinks it’s a tear in her tendon. She’s going to have to get x-rays. I don’t know what comes next. She actually doesn’t have insurance and is dying to get signed up for Obamacare, which seems promising to us, but she hasn’t been able to access the site at all, so that’s been frustrating.

I’m currently upgrading my iPhone to iOS7. I have mixed feelings about this because Gretchen did this on the first day of its release and it completely wiped her phone. She had to start from the factory settings and start all over, getting new apps and everything. It was a complete disaster. That said, she tried again a couple of days later and it worked and she seems happy with it, so I’m giving it a try — with misgivings. I can’t afford to have my phone wiped. My whole life is on there — my diaries, my many contacts, my medical records, all sorts of stuff. I’m also annoyed that I had to delete dozens of albums and hundreds of pictures to free up 3 GB of space for the download. That seems more like Microsoft bloatware to me…. Well, here’s hoping….

I’ve discovered I’m lactose intolerant. That really sucks! I’d been having gastric problems for over two months. They flared up almost immediately upon my finishing lunch and continued for the remainder of the day. I went on two antibiotics twice, but that didn’t really help very much. Finally, I caved and went to a gastro specialist. I had a theory that I posited to the doctor, and she recommended I do what I’m doing. I really think it was the yogurt I ate every day with lunch and the milk I was drinking and the tapioca pudding I’d have. I didn’t have problems until I consumed those, and then did afterwards. She told me to go off all dairy related products for a week and see what happens. I did, and everything went away and I cleared up in one day. I went a week and then had some ice cream one night, and they returned. So I’m lactose intolerant. How in the hell did that happen??? Now I’ve having to find lactose-alternative products. The yogurt is really high in carbs. The milk is pretty decent. You can find some good ice cream. The cheese really sucks. And on it goes. I guess this is a new lifestyle I’m going to have to get used to.

In sports, I’m not sure about my teams. The Steelers are the worst they’ve been in 45 years with an 0-4 record and they really, really suck. The Pirates, however, had a winning season and made the post-season for the first time in 21 years, which is really something to cheer about. However, last night St. Louis kicked their butts badly, so I don’t know how well we’ll do. My Penguins have goalie problems. Don’t know how we’ll do this year. My UT Vols are 3-2, with the two losses to ranked teams — Oregon and Florida. However, we have ranked Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama coming up, so it looks like we’ll be 3-5 by the end of the month. That blows. I really like the new coach and want him to succeed, but it looks like we’re going to have some growing pains.

Lately, I’ve been having to pay bills. That’s good and bad. It’s good to pay them, but it hurts to pay so much. I had to have $750 in car repairs too. I’m never buying a BMW again as long as I live.

I’m over this government shutdown. I attribute it ALL to the damn Republicans, who are holding the country hostage in their stupid attempt to repeal Obamacare — a LAW that was passed by Congress, signed by the president, upheld by the Supreme Court, and for whom Obama was elected for a second term while running against people who wanted to repeal it. Listen to the people, Congressmen! Damn Republicans. And they accuse the Dems. What gall! They’re truly despicable people. I will never vote for a Republican again as long as I live, and I was brought up a conservative Republican. That says a lot. They’re truly disgusting humans. What a waste. I hope they cave soon, so we can return to life as we know it.

Huh. It looks like my iPhone has updated while I’ve been writing this. It seems to have been successful. I’ve only opened a few apps, and things look like they’re still there. Oh, four of my apps are missing. *sigh* This new version looks very, very different from previous versions. It’s going to take me awhile to get used to. One thing — everything seems slower. The apps are taking longer to open. Oh well. I just checked out my space, though, and I’ve got more free space than when I started. I guess I can re-load some of my music on here. That’s good.

I guess that’s all for now. Book reviews coming soon. Cheers!

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UT Lady Vols Lose WCWS To Oklahoma

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 5, 2013

Oklahoma Sooners win Women’s College World Series title – ESPN.

I’m deeply disappointed the UT Lady Vols lost to Oklahoma in the Women’s College World Series (in softball), but apparently Oklahoma was the heavy favorite and was so dominating, no one could beat them. Still, it’s a disappointment to make it to the finals and not win it all. This happened to us a few years ago when we had the best pitcher in college history, Monica Abbott, and we lost in the finals to, I think, Northwestern. It hurt. I thought we were the better team, but we couldn’t put it together. This year, we weren’t the better team and kudos to the Lady Vols for getting as far as they did. I think we’re losing some good players to graduation, so I don’t know when we’ll be back next. That’s why losing this one hurts so much. Still, way to go Lady Vols!!!

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A Review of Sum It Up

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 27, 2013

Sum It Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in PerspectiveSum It Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective by Pat Summitt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pat Summitt’s new biography is fascinating to read. I first started gaining respect and admiration for the former Lady Vol coach in 1985 when I first started attending the University of Tennessee. By then, she had already established a first class women’s basketball program, building it from virtually nothing. I was a happy student there when she won her first national championship and as most people know, she went on to win more basketball games than any other men’s or women’s coach ever — 1098, to go with 8 national championships, second only to UCLA’s John Wooden. She did this over a 38 year period during which time every one of the hundreds of young women who played for her graduated — a 100% graduation rate over 38 years. That might be the most impressive record of all.

Pat Head Summitt was born and raised in a small Tennessee town on a farm, raised by a stern, strict father who told he her loved her just once in her entire lifetime — after she had won a national championship at age 43. She had three brothers and had to work her butt off on the farm, in school, and in basketball. She was an Olympic silver medalist in 1976 (the Russians had a 7’2″ center that 5’11” Pat had to guard and the Russians won). She coached the 1984 women’s team to the gold medal. Her book gives detailed accounts of her interactions with many players, some famous, others less so. It was fascinating to gain some locker room insights into the actions of these young women I’ve watched on the court over the past 25+ years. She also talks about other coaches, almost all of them in glowing terms. It’s interesting to see how she treats UConn’s “evil” coach, Geno A. She’s generally good to him, but she does address her breaking off the seasonal rivalry between UConn and UT in some detail (not enough though), but insists that their relationship has been repaired.

Naturally, nearly everyone knows she was diagnosed with early onset dementia, leading to Alzheimer’s, a couple of years ago. I remember exactly where I was when I heard that announcement. I was in my car waiting for my then-girlfriend, now-wife in downtown Chattanooga. When I heard, I just started bawling, as did probably everyone in the state of Tennessee. It’s a real tragedy to hit someone so young and so prominent and who has impacted so many people in so many wonderful ways. She doesn’t shy away from addressing this topic in her book; indeed, it’s central to the book’s theme. She insists that you can still live a somewhat productive life with dementia and is determined to do so for as long as possible. To help her, she has her son Tyler, a young man who I watched grow up over the years. Now’s he’s an assistant coach with Marquette’s women’s team. He’s been a real help to Pat and it’s obvious she’s grateful. While she can’t remember a lot of things anymore, like numbers and plays, it’s obvious she remembers her players and coaches — all of them — and how much of an impact they made on her and her life. It was touching to read of her relationships with many of them. Of course she was known for being stern (like her father), and for her infamous death stare, but she did love the girls in her own way and wanted them to be the best they could be. It’s also a testament to Pat’s success that 74 of her former players went into coaching. If that’s not success, I don’t know what is!

As sad as I am about Pat’s condition and her future, this book was a joy to read and it was actually pretty inspirational. I recommend it for any Tennessee fan, any women’s basketball fan, any sports fan, actually just about everybody. I think everyone can draw something from this book. I loved reading it and even though it’s over 400 pages, I tore through it in a day and a half. Strongly recommended.

View all my reviews

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Pat Summitt reflects on relationship with Geno Auriemma in book

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 26, 2013

Pat Summitt reflects on relationship with Geno Auriemma in book – ESPN.

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On UT’s New Football Coach

Posted by Scott Holstad on December 7, 2012

The University of Tennessee hired Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones to become UT’s new football coach today. A lot of people have a lot to say about that, including me.

First, I am a UT alumnus and a big football fan. I have been for decades. And if you follow college football at all, you’ll know I’ve been pretty depressed over the past few years with the state of Tennessee football. Coach Phil Fulmer won us a national championship in 1998 and he’ll forever be remembered fondly for that, but the program fell down a few levels at the end of his watch, resulting in two out of three losing seasons. After he was fired, the idiot AD hired the recently fired Oakland Raiders coach, Lane Kiffin, who had a losing record and who I immediately hated. All he did was come in, make enemies around college football, insult people, take us to a 7-6 record and leave after one season to go coach USC. Half the players left and the cupboard was bare. Three years ago, then, we hired Derrick Dooley, who I hated immediately. He came from Louisiana Tech, a WAC school, where he also had another losing record, 17-20. And here he was ready for the big time??? All he did was come in and lose. Three straight losing seasons. Humiliating losses. This year’s defense was the worst in the history of the school, dating back to the 1800s. He was a nice guy, but in way over his head. So Dooley got fired with one game left in the season.

So here we are. UT’s new AD looked around for a prominent winner and nobody wanted anything to do with us. Why has UT football fallen so low? How did this happen? We have one of the largest stadiums in the country, seating over 102,000, the best facilities, a rabid fan base, etc., et al, but no one wants to come coach us. WTF? First, we allegedly went after Jon Gruden, who won the Super Bowl, but didn’t seem likely to leave Monday Night Football to coach a college team. I thought that was wishful thinking. Then we talked about FSU’s Jimbo Fisher, but that was just talk. Meanwhile, other schools — including three SEC schools — were hiring coaches like crazy! Why were we taking so long? Make a freakin’ hire, and make a good one!

Apparently, we talked to a number of coaches and offered the job to Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, who turned us down, and more recently, to Louisville’s Charlie Strong, who also turned us down. WTF? Who turns down a major SEC school to stay at their schools, especially one in the Big East like Louisville? I thought TCU’s Gary Patterson might be an interesting hire, but no one talked to him. I also like the job the Boise State coach has done, but apparently he wasn’t considered either. So one day after Charlie Strong turned us down, the news is released that UT has hired Butch Jones away from Cincy. To say there’s a mixed reaction amongst the fan base is mild. It’s pretty hot on the Knoxville News-Sentinel sports boards right now. Here’s my take.

The pros:

  • He’s a winner. He has a 54-27 record as a head coach at the college level.
  • He wins championships. Out of his six years of coaching, he’s won his conference championship (or tied for the win) four times. That’s a pretty good track record.
  • He took Cincy to some good bowl games and won 19 games over the past two years, beating some solid Big East teams.
  • He’s young and following in the footsteps of Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, who coached before him at Central Michigan and then at Cincinnati, before leaving to coach the Irish. Maybe he can emulate his track record, who knows?
  • He was West Virginia’s offensive coordinator when they won 10 games two years in a row and threw up lots of points in a spread offense. Exciting.

The cons:

  • He was UT’s fifth choice, behind Gruden, Oklahoma State, Louisville & North Carolina’s head coaches. That’s worse than Dooley, who was our fourth choice several years ago.
  • The Big East is no longer a power conference, and is basically a joke as a conference now that most of the good schools have left it for the ACC or Big 12. The level of competition he’s faced won’t come close to what he’ll face in the SEC. Pitt & Syracuse? Please! Try Florida and Georgia back to back, mixed in with a little Alabama and LSU. We also have to play South Carolina and the rest. He’s not battle tested in a real power conference.
  • The word is he can maintain good levels of play, but can he rebuild? He’s never had to, following Kelly the whole time. Can he recruit at the SEC level? Can he rebuild a once proud school into the type of football team people are clamoring for? Only time will tell.
  • This is the one that really annoys me, and if you read what people are writing online, this gets a lot of UT fans: Dooley beat the hell out of him head to head in 2011. That was Dooley’s only victory over a ranked opponent and Cincy was embarrassed by middling SEC talent. That’s truly worrisome, since Dooley couldn’t beat anyone else worth a darn.

I guess when it comes down to it, I’m cautiously excited. I think it’s a much better hire than Kiffiin or Dooley were. He’s a proven winner. I think he has potential. He wins championships. But he hasn’t won against consistent top 25 talent like he’ll face in the SEC, so my enthusiasm is tempered by that a bit. It also worries me that he was UT’s fifth choice. He was actually going to leave for one win Colorado yesterday before UT came calling. He clearly wants to move up in the conferences and he’s capable. He was signed to a six year deal. Our three best offensive players are all juniors and word is they’re all leaving for the NFL draft this year. That’s horrible. If he can talk them into staying, UT could field a winning team next year, provided he hires a solid defensive coordinator. If they leave, we’ll have another losing year next year, but I’d expect about 7 wins in two years and 8 or 9 in three, followed by our formerly expected double digit win seasons at Year Four. Those are my expectations. I want to make it back to a bowl game in two years, and to a good one in three. A BCS-type bowl in no less than four. If he hasn’t been able to do that in four years, never mind his six year contract — it’ll be time to find someone else. Hell, Auburn just fired their coach who only won them a national championship two short years ago. It’s win now or else, and keep winning. That’s pressure. But that’s what the big bucks buy. My take for three years has been if Florida, Bama, LSU & South Carolina can all hire high profile, national championship winning coaches, why can’t UT??? Maybe this guy can do it for us. I sure hope so. As always, Go Vols!!!

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