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The Media Hammer Falls On Hamilton

If there’s one man in America who’s catching more heat than Bruce Pearl or Lane Kiffin today it’s the guy who hired both of them at Tennessee.  Just check out a few of the national pundits who are calling for the head of UT athletic director Mike Hamilton…


CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel:
  “Why is Hamilton still there?  No idea.  None.  He may well be a good man, as readers have e-mailed me over the years.  But he’s a lousy AD.  Hires poorly.  Doesn’t make sure they act ethically.  Doesn’t do anything with teeth when they get busted acting unethically.”

SI.com’s Stewart Mandel:  “But what of Hamilton?  Under his watch, one of the nation’s proudest athletic programs has deteriorated into one of its most shameful.  Will Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek go along with the illusion that the football mess can be blamed entirely on that mercenary scoundrel Kiffin, and that reducing Pearl’s salary last fall was an adequate show of force?  Or, will he do the right thing: recognize that Hamilton was ultimately Pearl’s and Kiffin’s greatest enabler; that Hamilton’s department is a textbook example of the risks of allowing splashy head coaches the freedom to act as their own freewheeling autocrats; and that ultimately Hamilton and his whole department should be replaced and rebuilt?”

ESPN.com’s Pat Forde: 
“If I were the president at Tennessee, the man in charge of an athletic department that has hemorrhaged credibility at an alarming rate in recent years would need a Committee on Infractions miracle to keep his job.  Nothing short of an exoneration of both programs would be enough to spare Hamilton — and chances of that happening are even smaller than the chances that Tennessee plays in the next BCS championship game.”


Brutal, no?  But here’s the interesting thing: No one in the Knoxville media is actively calling for Hamilton’s ouster. 

In years past, some Knoxville columnists have flat-out called for coaches to be fired.  They have critiqued and criticized Hamilton himself.  But no one — as of today — has written a “Can him now!” piece like the ones cited above.

Perhaps the folks nearer to the situation have a better take on why Hamilton should remain employed than Misters Doyel, Mandel and Forde.  Or, perhaps a more distant view is necessary.

We just think it’s interesting that the national view is one of outrage while the local view is, well, kinda quiet.  That might be telling. 

As for why this site isn’t calling for Hamilton’s head on a stick, we rarely call for executions.  Unlike some writers, we don’t find that kind of thing to be much fun, even if it is very easy to do and it’s guaranteed to drum up pageviews. 

Hell, we were the one site on the web that tried to show a little compassion toward former Georgia AD Damon Evans following his DUI arrest last summer. 

Oh, we’ll write about wins and losses and we’ll certainly tell if you we think someone is doing a good job or not — so far UT’s Hamilton has a sub-par judge of character with a flair for raising funds — but we’ve never hollered for scalps and we don’t intend to start.

Besides, if the NCAA throws the book at UT (and Pearl) in the penalty phase, there’s a pretty good chance the Hamilton issue will settled by the powers-that-be at Tennessee anyway… and not by the sportswriters at SI, ESPN and CBS.

 


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