“You know, Gary, people around Tennessee talk about you like the one that got away.”

Here’s a story ($$) that, back in the day, would have had the boys at Sports and Grits shaking their heads in disbelief.

Ten years ago, Tennessee decided Lane Kiffin was the right man to replace Phillip Fulmer and said thanks but no thanks to Patterson, who had won 41 games in the previous four seasons and led TCU to a pair of top-10 finishes…

“They thought I was too much of a football coach,” Patterson told The Athletic.

I thought about Jeremy Pruitt, the man who currently occupies Tennessee’s head football coach position. Later that day, I submitted Patterson’s quote to Dictionary.com to replace the current definition of irony.

“They didn’t think I could handle the spotlight,” Patterson said.

Junior sure could.

Every time I hear a Mike Hamilton story, I come away thinking he’s the Reggie Ball of SEC athletic directors.  He certainly did a number on Tennessee football, for which we should all be grateful.




Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

34 responses to ““You know, Gary, people around Tennessee talk about you like the one that got away.”

  1. Doug

    “They thought I was too much of a football coach”? Agent Hamilton did his work well.


  2. Go Dawgs!

    Vanderbilt has been a better football program than Tennessee for several years now. I think you can lay that at Mike Hamilton’s feet, and the debt we all owe him for that is immeasurable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • stoopnagle

      Yeah, because I’m not giving Jimmy Franklin any credit for any of that ever ever ever ever. A genuine #ftmf to him.


  3. Mayor

    What happened to UT football was Karma—the Vols finally falling to the level of Kentucky, their most abused rival. They had been doing it with mirrors for years in a low population state with bad HS football. Finally, a series of bad HC hires caught up to them. Justice in sports after all.


  4. stoopnagle

    LOL. Tennessee. LOL.


  5. Bright Idea

    I don’t think Fulmer will go down as a great AD but hiring an AD who never competed for anything gets you hires and thinking like Patterson’s.


  6. 3rdandGrantham

    I’ve mentioned this before but it bares repeating – UT football has a losing record in SEC play this century. That’s how bad UT has been and for how long. And if they finish 2 or more games under .500 in SEC play again this year, you will be able to say that, since winning the MNC back in ’98, UT has had a losing conference record since that time.

    While UT has been horrid for a good 8-9 years now, many forget that the latter years of the Fulmer regime also were very mediocre as well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Muttley

      This hurdle has been effectively removed for current and future coaching candidates, as UT football is no longer the “big stage”.

      There’s no spotlight issue up there, either.

      Problem solved, guys!

      Liked by 2 people

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Yep, just look at their actual attendance figures over the past 5-6 years, and they can’t come close to selling that place out anymore. Even for big SEC rival games, you’ll see swaths of empty seats in the upper deck, with hapless fans generally sitting around waiting for something bad to happen.

        FYI, for people who think UT was stupid to fire Fulmer, remember that in his final 4 seasons at UT, he lost 6, 4, 4, and 7 games respectively, so clearly the program had begun its slide by this point.

        Liked by 2 people

        • FYI, for people who think UT was stupid to fire Fulmer, remember that in his final 4 seasons at UT, he lost 6, 4, 4, and 7 games respectively, so clearly the program had begun its slide by this point.

          They weren’t stupid to fire him. They were stupid to give him a raise and an extension before they fired him.


        • Macallanlover

          LOL, that was actually one of their better decisions this century. Foolmer had become such a “players’ coach” the inmates were running the asylum. One bad seed after another, the disciplinary issues were really what dropped TN football and put it on a downward path. We all have problems like this periodically but they let it get too far. Fortunate for us, we were after some of those very same players, but we would have cut the cancer out before it became institutionalized and reached the level it had in Knoxville. Phil, and the TN fans turned away and let this happen; they are much like The Barn and FU at running from the most obvious of problems. Karma indeed!


  7. Too much of a football coach? Need a bigger than life person that can do football and PR? I’ll take institutional arrogance for 100 Alex…


  8. Greg

    but yet, UT won two in those last 8 years. As “horrid’ as UT is or has been, I find it hard for me to ever dismiss them as a threat. I can remember those 9 straight they reeled off against us like it was yesterday.

    I hate them worse than any team….except maybe ND. But they are always a threat imo. No gimme’s in this league, especially UT.


    • Ben

      Yep; Kiffin gets bagged on around here, but he’s 1-0 and against UGA as a head coach, and they stole one way from us at home a few years ago, too.


  9. Bulldog Joe

    Jon Gruden
    Chip Kelly
    Matt Campbell
    Greg Schiano
    Mike Gundy
    David Cutcliffe
    Jeff Brohm
    Dave Doeren
    Kevin Sumlin
    Mike Leach

    Much like the others who later ‘got away’. Turned Down For What?

    John Currie, Fulmer, and the Tennessee fanbase deserve some credit, too.


    • Spike

      Even Cutcliffe at Duke turned them down as did Charlie Strong when he was at Louisville! It’s bad when the Duke and Louisville coaches tell you to pound sand..


  10. Tony Barnfart

    If any 2 of 3 out of Clemson, Georgia and Auburn are humming, Tennessee has a tough uphill battle. Throw in Bama and it becomes a mountain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent point … throw in the fact that Orangeneck hasn’t done the best job of locking down the few prospects from Nashville eastward, and that job may be the toughest high profile job in the business.


  11. Mike Cooley

    Sports and Grits. I wonder where they are now. CC Rider specifically. They may not be popular here but It was funny if you understood them. The last year or so when CC was rarely posting, Chuck was doing most of the posting, and most importantly Richt was gone, it was a shell of its former self. CC Rider used to post here occasionally. I wish he would again.


  12. Russ

    Man, I really wanted to ask those Vowels on The Athletic article if this was the year they got over the Vandy hump, but I still like the comment section over there. So I controlled myself.

    Mike Hamilton, the gift that keeps on giving.


  13. Whiskeydawg

    I have a lot of Tennessee fans in my family. All through the 90s I had to listen to them and put up with their Dawg bashing & chest thumping. It’s been tempting to dish out the same but by remaining quiet they feed on each other’s anxiety, depression and delusions. I go out to my truck to laugh.


    • Doug

      I got no end of grief from my Tennessee-grad wife when the Vols punked us on that last-second Hail Mary in Sanford in 2016. Since then, she’s become my ex-wife and Georgia has beaten Tennessee by an aggregate score of 79–12, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.


  14. Hobnail_Boot

    Turn down for what, indeed.

    Opportunity is nowhere.


  15. Texas Dawg

    For many reasons I.m glad Patterson never went to UT. I live in the DFW area so I follow TCU pretty closely. Patterson seems to be able to get more out of less than many other “name brand” coaches. Had he been given the ability to recruit in the SEC, things would look a lot different today. It is much more enjoyable watching UT absolutely suck with fleeting hope of ever recapturing the glory days.


  16. jrod1229

    Man I had forgotten about the toxicity that Sports and Grits brought to the table. Woosh.


  17. ChiliDawg

    Gary Patterson would have been all kinds of trouble for us if Tennessee hadn’t been too stupid to hire him.


  18. That Hamilton was a cold blooded sausage maker…


  19. Macallanlover

    20 years and counting since their last SEC title. I remember them ridiculing us for our drought of 20 which ended in 2002. Now they look to be a sure thing for 25+? Hilarious, and they are very deserving.


  20. Salty Dawg

    I’m sorry I’m late to this fine vowel bashing, but I must say it felt like Christmas reading all the comments! Gifts! every. single. one! Keep up the good work, y’all!