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Internal Candidate Blackburn Should “Hang In There” At UT

Tennessee hasn’t had a lot of success with searches recently.  In late 2008, Mike Hamilton tabbed Lane Kiffin as the Vols’ football coach.  Since then, finding coaches hasn’t been easy.

To replace Kiffin, UT approached everyone from Will Muschamp to David Cutcliffe to Troy Calhoun.  They wound up hiring Derek Dooley from 4-8 Louisiana Tech. 

To replace Bruce Pearl this past spring, Tennessee phoned several “name” coaches only to be rebuffed.  The school hired Cuonzo Martin from Missoui State.

As they search for a new athletic director, Mike Strange of The Knoxville News Sentinel points out — for the benefit of internal candidate David Blackburn — that the last UT athletic director search was a mess, too:

“Hamilton wasn’t the people’s choice.  He got an interview early on, then watched the search committee flirt with once candidate than another…

‘My theory through the whole process,’ Hamilton said (the day he was hired), ‘has always been to be the last man standing.’

It was an effective strategy for a flawed process.

Who knows, it might yet work for Blackburn, too.”

Blackburn — one of a number of assistant ADs under Hamilton — is widely credited with helping slide NCAA accusations past UT and right into Kiffin’s lap.  If nothing else, that will make him a folk hero in the Smokies.

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