Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mike Hamilton Continues to Amaze, Dumbfound Me

(Yes, I know that I haven't been writing at all - I've been quite busy. I'll get back to it one day - 'til then, only items that bring immediate, illucid, and violent reaction from me. Which brings me to...)

Mike Hamilton wants to play you in chess.
I think you'll beat him.
Mike Hamilton is a fool.

Today, the University of Tennessee Athletic Director told a radio station that he wasn't totally sure that Bruce Pearl would be brought back as Tennessee's basketball coach and that the "jury was out" on his future.

"We've done a lot of soul searching about the direction of our program, and we'll continue to do that, and we'll decide after we're out of the NCAA tournament what direction it is that we're going to go next..."
This, the night before the NCAA tournament.

I'll tell you why this is asinine. Not because Bruce Pearl may or may not deserve to be the Vols' coach - that has been widely debated, and Bruce hasn't done himself any favors. If you've been living under a rock and don't know what I'm talking about, click here.

This is asinine because it sets the table for Mike Hamilton to be put in to a horrendous position that will make him look utterly foolish. That is - what if Tennessee goes on a deep run in the NCAA tournament?

Now, I'm not saying it's going to happen. They've got Michigan in the first (or second round - whatever it is now), and Duke and Texas are in their region. All odds would put it as a longshot. But what were the odds that Bruce Pearl would still be coaching Tennessee right now anyway? That's all you need to know that stranger things can happen.

Back to Hamilton. It's crazy for him to come out and say this - at this time - because of this longshot chance of Tennessee making a run. Because if they do make a run to the Elite Eight (or better?), does that mean Hamilton will re-hire Pearl/at least give him a contract back? Is this NCAA tournament the closing argument for Hamilton's jury?

That's crazy, right? Am I missing something?

Why say this now? This couldn't wait two, three weeks? It wasn't like everyone already didn't know that the job was up in the air - now Hamilton has made it seem like the tournament could be the final judgement.

Vols Lose - you're a cheat and a loser and you're out.
Vols Win - you might be a cheat, but you can win, and even though I've been saying that Tennessee is working to clean up its act, I'll hire you back anyway.

Bruce. Doing what he does.
And if Tennessee knocks off Duke - remember Pearl doesn't have a contract right now. Would Oklahoma be interested? (I know, not likely - nod to Kelvin Sampson) Or at least another school looking to make a semi-risk splash hire? Seems to me that the ball could potentially be in Pearl's court should he do well in the tournament and Tennessee show interest in re-signing him. What's to say that he doesn't appreciate Mike Hamilton's statement today enough to at least want to take a look around at some other options?

Now, I'm no saint by any means. And I know college athletics isn't either. Athletic Directors know who they're hiring and what kind of mess they get themselves into. But they also must make an attempt towards making an appearance that they are running a clean program, cornerstoned on integrity.

Mike Hamilton's statement today puts him at risk of displaying that he has none. So why say it?

Doesn't make sense to me.