Mike Hamilton hired Lane Kiffin to coach Tennessee football. Mike Hamilton hired Bruce Pearl to coach Tennessee basketball.
In a not-so-shocking development, Mike Hamilton announced today he is resigning as Tennessee’s athletic director.
Tennessee is about to appear before the NCAA committee on infractions, which is what happens when you hire Lane Kiffin to coach football and Bruce Pearl to coach basketball. (Tennessee baseball is also under scrutiny, too.)
Hamilton said today he wanted the Vols to be able to plead their case to the NCAA with a “clean slate,” which seemed an odd choice of words. But the football coach, the basketball coach, the baseball coach and the AD who presided over this mischief-making are all gone or going, which might mitigate things a bit. (And Tennessee always gets away with everything. Right, Bama fans?)
A couple of thoughts: Derek Dooley’s job, which was never going to be easy, gets even tougher. He was a surprising hire in the first place, coming from Louisiana Tech after three seasons (two of them losing) to the massive stadium on the banks of the Tennessee River, and now the man who chose him is out. The son of Vince needs to win big soon, and with the talent at hand and post-Kiffin probation apt to descend, he might not be able.
Also: Philip Fulmer, whom Hamilton pushed aside to make room for Kiffin, will get support as Hamilton’s replacement, but a local-to-Atlanta candidate might arise. Dan Radakovich is the Georgia Tech AD and seems happy here, but he has worked at SEC schools (LSU and South Carolina) and knows the league well. When his name was mentioned in connection with Miami’s opening earlier this year, the in-house belief was that D-Rad would leave Tech only for an SEC job.
Well, there’s an SEC job open, and it’s a big one. (That massive stadium by the river seats 102,000, as you know.) Given the mess left by Hamilton and his crew, it’s also a tough one. But D-Rad is a capable man who’s held in high regard in his difficult industry. Don’t be surprised if he gets a call.
By Mark Bradley