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Got $2.9 Million? Buy Ex-UT Coach Dooley’s Domicile In Knoxville

Derek Dooley won’t be coaching at Tennessee next season.  But don’t feel too sorry for him.  He’ll be coaching wide receivers for old pal Jason Garrett with the Dallas Cowboys.  And the Volunteers will be paying him $5 million over the next few years not to coach in Knoxville.

Having that kind of money rolling in allows Dooley and family to list their 8,818 square foot mansion for $2.9 million.  There’s little chance the the ex-UT coach will get what he’s asking for, but Tennessee’s monthly payments to him — more than $100,000 through 2016 — should cover his mortgage costs until someone does decide to make him an offer.

Must be nice.

 

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“Roll Tide!” Gets Alabama Alumni Group Booted From Tennessee Building

roll_tideFalsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater can get you in trouble. So too can a “Roll Tide!” cheer on Tennessee property, apparently.  For decades, Alabama grads have rented out a room at the UT Visitor Center in Knoxville for monthly luncheons.  But Tennessee changed its mind last year after a parent of a prospective UT student overheard the cheer and reported it to university officials.

“We’re sure the fine folks at Alabama would not want us singing ‘Rocky Top’ in their admissions office,” UT spokeswoman Karen Simsen tells the Knoxville News Sentinel. “We want our visitor’s center to be all about UT, campus traditions and what it feels like to be a student here. So we had to talk to the (alumni group) about how we have a new use for the building.”

The Alabama alumni chapter fought the decision, even sending a letter to UT associate vice president Jeff Maples in January, asking the university to reconsider.  But on Thursday, Maples told the group the decision was final.  Alabama alums had been meeting in the building since the early 1970′s.

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Signing Day 2013: Where The SEC’s Talent Came From

mrsec stat analysis newAlready today we’ve shown you the level of overall talent production from each of the 11 states in the SEC’s geographic footprint.  From 3-star prospects to 5-star recruits to the percentage of tip-top talent in each state that decided to stay close to home, you already know which SEC states had the most big fish to catch in 2013.

But where, specifically, did all of the SEC’s new talent come from?  Inside and outside the SEC footprint?  All degrees of prospects?  High schoolers and jucos?

The chart below shows you where each school went for its talent.  And over the next day we’ll break this information down further and provide analysis for all 14 SEC schools.  But first, here’s an overall snapshot of where SEC recruiters went shopping for their groceries this year (in alphabetical order):

 

  State   ALA   ARK   AUB   UF   UGA   UK   LSU   MSU   MU   UM   USC   UT   A&M   VU   Total
  AL   7   0   6   0   0   1   0   3   1   3   1   0   0   2   24
  AZ   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   2
  AR   1   7   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   8
  CA   1   3   1   0   0   0   2   0   1   0   0   1   2   3   14
  CO   0   1   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   3
  FL   2   4   4   18   5   9   2   1   1   1   4   3   0   4   58
  GA   3   1   3   6   18   0   2   1   1   5   7   3   0   7   57
  HI   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   2
  IL   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   1   1   0   0   0   2   5
  IN   0   0   1   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   2
  KS   0   2   5   0   0   1   0   0   1   0   0   1   1   0   11
  KY   0   0   0   0   0   3   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   4
  LA   2   0   0   0   0   0   12   2   0   1   0   0   3   0   20
  MD   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   0   1   1   0   0   3
  MI   0   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1
  MS   0   0   1   2   4   1   2   8   0   10   0   0   0   0   28
  MO   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   11   0   0   0   0   0   11
  NE   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1
  NJ   1   1   0   0   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   4
  NY   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1
  NC   0   0   0   0   1   0   2   0   0   0   4   2   0   0   9
  OH   0   0   0   0   0   3   0   0   0   0   0   2   0   0   5
  OK   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1
  PA   1   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   0   0   3
  SC   0   0   0   0   1   1   0   0   0   0   3   2   0   0   7
  TN   1   0   0   1   0   1   1   1   0   4   0   6   0   4   19
  TX   2   3   0   0   0   1   0   2   3   3   0   0   22   0   36
  UT   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1
  VA   2   0   0   1   2   0   1   2   0   0   0   0   1   1   10
  Total   25   23   23   30
  32   22   27   21   20   28   21   21   31   26   348

 

Observations

*  The 14 SEC schools snagged prospects from 29 different states in 2013.

*  The only states not represented on the list were: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

*  Of the 348 players signing with SEC schools Wednesday (or Thursday in Alex Collins’ case), 270 came from within the geographic footprint of the Southeastern Conference.  The league’s 14 programs went outside SEC states for just 78 recruits.  That’s a whopping 77.5% of all incoming SEC players who were recruited and signed from within the league’s borders.

*  The non-SEC states most often raided for talent: California produced 14, Kansas 11 (counting junior college signees), Virginia 10, and North Carolina nine.

*  Every SEC school but Texas A&M signed at least one prospect from Florida.

*  Every SEC school but Texas A&M signed at least one prospect from Georgia.

*  Texas A&M had more in-state signees than any other SEC program, inking 22 players from the Lone Star State.

*  The table below shows which SEC states produced the most SEC signees — high school or juco, 2-stars, 3-stars, 4-stars, and 5-stars — this week.  Florida has added two players since signing day and both were in-state signees, pushing the Sunshine State past the Peach State for the first time in several years:

 

  SEC State   SEC Signees
  Florida   58
  Georgia   57
  Texas   36
  Mississippi   28
  Alabama   24
  Louisiana   20
  Tennessee   19
  Missouri   11
  Arkansas   8
  S. Carolina   7
  Kentucky   4

 

 

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QB Dobbs Flips From Sun Devils To Vols

mrsec-breaking-newsThree-star quarterback Joshua Dobbs of Alpharetta, Georgia has officially flipped from Arizona State to Tennessee.  While a three-star commit isn’t likely to wow Vol fans, Dobbs appears to fit the spread system of new coach Butch Jones.

Also, considering the mess Jones inherited on the recruiting trail, flipping anyone should be viewed as a positive for UT.

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Report: Vol Hoopster Hall Arrested For Driving On Suspended License

mrsec-breaking-newsVolQuest.com — the Rivals.com site covering Tennessee athletics — is reporting that Vol forward Kenny Hall was arrested at some point this week for driving with a suspended license.  No disciplinary response has been announced by UT, but Hall was suspended from Tennessee’s final 11 games last season due to an unspecified rules violation.

Has has started all 19 games for Cuonzo Martin’s side this season and is averaging 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.  He scored a season-high 14 points last weekend in Tennessee’s loss at Arkansas.

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An NCAA Show-Cause Penalty Would Likely Lead To Haith’s Ouster At Mizzou

Image: Miami Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith watches his team play the North Carolina Tar Heels during their NCAA men's basketball game at the 2011 ACC Tournament in GreensboroFor the past week, we’ve been in a bit of an online debate with a few Missouri fans who took offense to our suggestion on the 17th that Frank Haith’s lawyer appeared to be “prepping Mizzou fans for bad news.”  In their view, the NCAA can not punish the Tiger program for violations Haith may have committed while coaching at Miami.

Well, it’s true that the NCAA isn’t going to hit Missouri with charges over any Miami mistakes.  However — and this is what those few holdouts still fail to grasp — MU can still be punished indirectly if the NCAA decides to go after Haith.  A recent SEC example: Bruce Pearl and Tennessee.

The NCAA did not drop the hammer on the Vol basketball program in 2011, as many Big Orange fans had feared.  But once it became clear Pearl was to be hit with a show-cause penalty (three years in his case), the school was effectively forced to dismiss him.  The Vol program is still trying to recover despite the fact that technically the NCAA levied more punishments on UT’s ex-coach than on UT’s program.

Yesterday, CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman reported that a source “close to the situation” had revealed that Haith would soon receive notice from the NCAA that he would be charged with unethical conduct and a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.  You know who else was hit with both of those charges?  Yep, Pearl.

In Haith’s case, the NCAA has reportedly been unable to prove that former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro gave $10,000 to Haith’s staff to pay for the services of former Hurricane DeQuan Jones.  That’s the claim made by Shapiro.  But the NCAA still intends to hit Missouri’s coach with an unethical conduct charge because it believes — and Shapiro’s mother has confirmed — that money allegedly given to Haith’s assistants for “camp money” actually went back to Shapiro as repayment for the cash he provided to ink Jones.  In addition, Haith and three aides will face punishment for providing impermissible airline travel for two Miami players and for allowing interaction between Shapiro and Hurricane recruits during their visits to Coral Gables.

Haith said last evening that he and Missouri officials are “in constant contact with the NCAA all the time about this case, (and)… it’s inappropriate for me to say anything other than just that.”

The university put out its own statement:

 

“The University of Missouri is aware of today’s story from CBS Sports.  The University has been in communication with the NCAA regarding their ongoing efforts related to the University of Miami investigation.  Coach Haith and the University of Missouri continue to cooperate fully.  However, we are not at liberty to comment further out of respect for the NCAA process.”

 

If Goodman’s source is corrrect and Haith is charged with unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, he’ll have 90 days to respond to the allegations.  A hearing would follow in the summer and then a decision would come sometime between the fall and the end of the year.

Haith’s attorney, Michael Buckner, wasn’t exactly thrilled with Goodman’s report:

 

“Until my client, Frank Haith, receives a notice of allegations from the NCAA, the CBSSports.com report is premature.  The NCAA’s investigation in the University of Miami enforcement case is ongoing…

It is unfortunate that CBSSports.com’s unnamed source believed violating the NCAA confidentiality rule was worthwhile.  The report did not advance anyone’s interests (except the source’s) and is making a mockery of what is supposed to be a fair process.”

 

Buckner went on to say that “any allegations asserted by Nevin Shapiro against my client cannot be supported.”

NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn has said the NCAA does “not have a comment at this time.”

Armed with all that background info, there are still two major questions in need of answering…

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Call Me Maybe? Jones Invites Parents To Ring Him (And That Could Become A Real Hassle)

butch-jones-tennesseeNew Tennessee football coach Butch Jones is making a hard push to become the anti-Derek Dooley around the Volunteer State.

Dooley and his crew didn’t have great relationships with many high school coaches throughout the state.  Jones has had his staff criss-crossing Tennessee from Bristol to Memphis in order to create ties.  Dooley kept most ex-Vol players at arm’s length.  Jones has opened his arms to those folks and embraced them.  Dooley — like all coaches — had some prickly relationships a few players’ families.  Jones is asking his players’ parents them to ring him whenever they like.

This isn’t to say Jones is wrong to do any of the above.  But that last action could lead to some real headaches for the new Tennessee coach.

According to The Knoxville News Sentinel, Jones last week sent a letter to the parents of UT’s football players.  In it he invited them to attend a Family Day barbecue in mid-March.  He also told the parents that they’re “welcome to call him at any time.”

Yikes.

Now some parents from pee-wee ball to the SEC will question their son’s coach — “Why isn’t Little Timmy starting?!?!?” — regardless of whether said coach has invited them to do so or not.  But for Jones to tell parents to call him any time?  One expression comes to mind: “If you give ‘em an inch they’ll take a mile.”

Perhaps Jones is ready to be peppered with calls and texts and drop-ins from ex-lettermen to mamas and papas.  But there’s a reason most coaches these days are a bit more closed off — at some point a coach needs to coach.

Jones has had success everywhere he’s been and if this has worked for him in the past, then there’s no reason to believe his open-door policy won’t work now.  And he certainly knows how to market his new program to those folks closest to it.  But when the phone’s ringing off the hook after a loss this fall, UT’s new coach may regret giving out his phone number and opening up his office door.

 

Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe

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D’oh! Memphis-UT Talking About New Hoops Contract

josh-pastner-yellsMemphis coach Josh Pastner has put himself front and center this week by repeatedly stating that he would kill off the Memphis-Tennessee basketball series after the two teams meet tonight in Knoxville.  No surprise.  He’s been saying for the past couple of years that he doesn’t want Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss or Tennessee coming into his city, playing basketball, and possibly wooing a recruit or two while there.

A few of Pastner’s quotes regarding the Tigers-Vols series:

 

1.  “The facts are, this will be the last year of the series unless we play them in the postseason.  Now obviously, if any of my bosses want to play them, that’s… Me, as the head coach, the series is over, the contract is over, let’s move on.”

2.  “We will not play Tennessee anymore as long as I’m the head coach and I’m doing my scheduling.”

3.  “The contract’s ending, we have a new athletic director and he and I are on the same page with it.”

 

Three strikes, you’re out.

Someone might need to get a spatula to help Pastner get the egg off of his face.  As it turns out, Memphis AD Tom Bowen said yesterday — one day after Pastner’s Quote #3 above — that he and UT athletic director Dave Hart are still discussing a continuation of the series.

Bowen told The Memphis Commercial Appeal, “We are re-evaluating everything.”  He added: “The Tennessee game is important.  They’d come to our place next.  So there’s an advantage there.”

D’oh!

Pastner’s response when The Commercial Appeal caught up with him about the apparent flip-flop: “I’d rather you call Tom Bowen on that.”

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Maisel: UT Administration Has Used Athletic Department “As An ATM”

ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel writes today that one reason Butch Jones was tabbed as Tennessee’s new football coach — in addition to Louisville’s Charlie Strong changing his mind at the last minute — was to help AD Dave Hart convince the academic side of UT to ease up on its practice of milking the athletic department dry.

Maisel writes:

 

“The university administration has used the athletic department as an ATM, saddling it with financial responsibilities that the Vols’ SEC competitors don’t have.  Hart wanted his new coach to be able — and willing — to explain how that financial burden translates onto the field.”

 

We’ve scoffed at the overblown notion emanating from Knoxville that Tennessee’s academics have become just too darn hard compared to its SEC neighbors.  One, the folks pushing that story are either fired ex-UT football coaches or friends of those coaches.  Two, even people who’ve pushed that stance like Phillip Fulmer and longtime defensive coordinator Keven Steele were willing to move back to the school if they could get enough booster support (in Fulmer’s case) or get a slick salary (in Steele’s case).  So things aren’t so bad that the folks moaning about academics wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to coach at the very school they say has become too tough.

Also, regardless of how true the academic issues are — and there’s a grain of truth there, not a silo full, but a grain — we haven’t heard James Franklin whine about academic issues hindering his recruitment of players to Vanderbilt.  In fact, he’s used Vandy’s academic standards as a plus, not a minus on the recruiting trail.

The same can be said for the coaches at Northwestern, Notre Dame and Stanford… all of which have just a tad tougher academic requirements than the Harvard of the Smokies, UT.

That said, Maisel is dead-on when it comes to his comments about Tennessee’s administration requiring the athletic department to give millions back to the school each year (as if being the advertising “front porch” for the university weren’t enough of a return).  There’s a reason UT’s athletic department currently has the smallest emergency cash fund in the Southeastern Conference and that’s the fact that the Vol athletic department returns an abnormally large portion of its revenue to the academic side of the school.

Jones has a reputation for running a sound ship academically.  That might make his words more impactful to a group of academicians who are dead set on “getting theirs.”

UT’s new coach might simply need to convince Tennessee’s top brass to pick up a copy of Aesop’s Fables.  “Killing The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs” might make for an interesting read.

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UT Chasing Martin, Jones On Verge Of Completing Staff

Butch Jones appears to be just one major grab away from completing his first coaching staff at Tennessee.  The new Vol head coach is making a sales pitch in Knoxville today to ex-Tennessee player and current Southern Cal receivers coach Tee Martin.

Martin quarterbacked the Vols to the 1998 BCS championship.  After serving under Joker Phillips at Kentucky as an assistant in 2010 and 2011, Martin packed his bags for LA to work with Lane Kiffin in 2012 (which had to curdle some milk in the Volunteer State).

If Jones can land Martin, he’ll prove to doubting UT fans that he can at least do two very important things:

 

1.  Recruit well enough to bring a favorite son home

2.  Hurt Kiffin’s staff

 

Both would please a UT fanbase that was less than happy when Jones was hired last Friday.  The Knoxville News Sentinel looks at the rest of Tennessee’s staff here.

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