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Shuler-To-UT Story Keeps Growing And Growing

Earlier this week, Knoxville radio host Tony Basilio of WVLZ-AM reported that former Tennessee quarterback and current North Carolina congressman Heath Shuler was quietly making himself a candidate for UT’s open athletic director job.

Shuler’s spokesperson responded by saying that his boss is focused on his 2012 re-election campaign.  And Shuler is still out hot and heavy on the fund-raising trail, too.

But the blog by Basilio — first picked up by The Knoxville News Sentinel — is gaining steam as it ping-pongs across the internet:

The Knoxville News Sentinel“Heath Shuler ‘flattered’, but won’t officially address AD job”

The Tennessean“Heath Shuler is not what the Vols need for next athletics director”

The“Shuler not denying possible return to college sports”“Heath Shuler reportedly in talks to leave House for athletic director job.”

According to Politico, Shuler’s congressional re-election hopes could be impacted by a North Carolina redistricting plan:

“Shuler is well aware that without the Democratic stronghold (of Buncombe County) his re-election prospects would plummet, said one person familiar with his thinking, who added that the North Carolina Democrat would rather leave with his head held high than launch an all-but-unwinnable re-election bid.

‘I think it’s going to make a lot of sense for him to go,’ said Brad Crone, a longtime Raleigh-based Democratic consultant, arguing that Shuler’s seat is likely to become less friendly.”

Therefore, it might be wise for Shuler to be angling for UT’s AD job… if indeed he is.  If he’s not, then he would be wise to put the kibosh on these rumors ASAP.  If voters believe he’s looking for an exit while he’s still out passing the hat for campaign funds, it’s likely said hat will be rather empty when it gets back to him.  The UT rumors simply cannot be helping his campaign.  For that reason, it seems Basilio’s report that the ex-QB is trying to bootleg his way back to Knoxville might have some legs.

However, we continue to hear from University of Tennessee sources that the main goal of chancellor Jimmy Cheek is to find an established athletic director.

If, instead, Cheek hires Shuler, it should cause many Vol fans to worry.  Not only would Tennessee have an unproven head football coach (23-27 in four years) and an unproven basketball coach (61-41 in three years), but those men would then be working for an unproven athletic director.  A man who has never hired or fired or supported a coach in his life.

Like all fanbases, there would be a large chunk of the UT faithful who would cheer the hire of someone from “inside the family.”  But you can go ask Mike Shula how far that “inside the family” stuff will get you if you’re not successful.

For now, Shuler continues to dance around the topic of UT’s open job.  That’s bad news for his campaign.  Which means he must think he can get the gig.

We still believe he won’t… unless several other AD candidates turn the Vols down first.


Doc Johnson
Doc Johnson

He has no experience whatsoever. They're not real bright in knoxville, but I doubt they're that stupid.


Shuler is not going to be AD. Not even in the mix.

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