Martin and dooley will still be around for a while. They will be given a chance to prove themselves. Martin, in particular, had to know that Hamilton was on shaky ground (shakier than the next big quake.)
With Mike Hamilton’s resignation come a number of questions for Tennessee’s athletic department:
* Will Tennessee try to heal rifts in its fanbase by chasing a UT grad? Former coach Phillip Fulmer has told people in Knoxville that he would be interested in Hamilton’s job, but those closest to the man believe he only wants to be wanted and would not accept the post if offered. Ironically, chasing Fulmer might only split the fanbase — and athletic department — further as many in the UT community felt it was time for Fulmer to go in 2008.
* Hamilton landed the UT job in 2003 as an internal, fall-back candidate. At the time, the school was going through turmoil at the presidential level. With the likelihood of NCAA probation now hanging over the program — and another new president at the helm — will Tennessee be a better draw this time around?
* Might Tennessee make a run at UT graduate and senior vice president with IMG Mark Dyer? Dyer’s background as a businessman — success at Host Communications, NASCAR, and now IMG — in sports-related fields should make him an attractive candidate — if he is a candidate — to the powers-that-be in Knoxville.
* Would Tennessee try to make a run at Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart? (Some UK fans just cheered that notion.) Barnhart was recently given a raise and extension by outgoing UK president Lee Todd. Would he have any interest — or the contractual opportunity — to speak with Tennessee? Barnhart was UT’s senior associate athletic director in 1998 and had spent 12 years in Knoxville at the time of his departure.
* Derek Dooley and Cuonzo Martin likely knew when they came onboard at Tennessee that Hamilton’s job was in peril. Now they will have to work for a new boss. That’s never a comfortable spot for a coach to find himself in. What does an AD change mean for the futures of UT’s new coaches?