I’m sure many will be amused by Clay Travis’ latest anti-Kiffin screed. I was amused too, but what I suspect is for a different reason. After going through Travis’ lengthy (and I do mean lengthy) shopping list of Junior’s petty crimes and misdemeanors, with a few sprinkles of Coach O and Dad tossed in for good measure, all I could think was how could Mike Hamilton not see the train wreck coming almost from the get-go? That Kool-Aid must have been mighty tasty. Yet, Travis gives Hamilton a pass, of sorts.
15. Is this Mike Hamilton’s fault?
Probably not, but he shoulders the blame.
Well, that made me chuckle, anyway.
The thing is, those superb instincts that have served the University of Tennessee’s football program so well over the last two years are still in play. Hamilton has suddenly found religion about Kiffin’s and Orgeron’s recruiting tactics.
Specifically, athletic director Mike Hamilton is concerned with contact that former UT coaches might have had with the Vols’ committed and enrolled prospects, as well as contact those coaches, who are now at Southern California, may have had with personnel still employed by the athletic department.
“We are looking into it and if there is action to be taken, certainly we will,” Hamilton said via text message Monday. “At this point, anything else would be speculative.”
Current employees of the athletic department will be scrutinized. Hamilton said phone records and e-mail will be checked to see if any employees transferred recruiting material to USC, specifically to former UT recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron after he left Knoxville for Southern California.
Now he sees it. The thing is, what does he think the rest of the conference was bitching about (which Junior was vigorously defending) for the past fourteen months? That matters more than a little here. Hamilton’s not some starry-eyed fan who got sucked in; he’s the guy in charge, responsible for making sure the program doesn’t run afoul of the SEC and the NCAA, who got sucked in.
And he couldn’t handle the new coaching hire cleanly. Kippy Brown, by Hamilton’s own admission, was treated shabbily.
… Hamilton said he could understand if Brown felt shaken by the process.
“I’m sure he probably felt that way, but the guys that are on the inside know how hard we worked making sure we gave him an adequate chance to tell us what he would do if he were the coach,” Hamilton said. “It wasn’t the best of scenarios. I admit that freely.”
It wasn’t a racial thing, although it’s already being interpreted that way. It’s just plain old incompetence. You don’t conduct an interview with a man you’ve asked to come back to his school for the third time as an assistant coach, whom you then ask to act as the interim head coach when your star hire bails out on you by informing him that you’ve already decided on your first choice “… to get the job offer, but you need to have a fair chance to tell us what your program would look like.” At least you don’t if you know what you’re doing for a living. (Coach Garner, take note.)