UT Needs A Persona Familiar With Vols Traditions & Culture
Tennessee athletic director, Tennessee football, Rocky Top
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Sports Blogger
UT is in need of someone who knows the university, an insider, not some outsider who will spend a year or so learning things about the school and may never quite get it or be accepted.
It also needs someone who understands the fans’ football frustrations (again) and someone they can trust to fix it. The fans (and by fans here I primarily mean influential alumni) need hand-holding for the short term and confidence for the future. They need to believe – really believe – that they can be great again.
And they can, with the proper leadership.
I have that leadership, and also the skills: I’m a journalist, have been working in Public Relations the past 20 years in the highly competitive Los Angeles media market, know how to connect with people on social media and have what I call “A.T.” That is “anticipatory thinking,” which is looking ahead to solve problems before they occur, always seeking to evolve by adapting to new trends, and improving the way I’m doing things at the moment.
Here are my qualifications specific to UT.
1.) I’m From Knoxville
I went to West High School, sold Cokes at Neyland Stadium and my family resides in Knox County (I’m currently in Southern California). I know the difference between the East Town Mall and the West Town Mall, where the Cracker Barrels are located off I-75, the meaning of “Malfunction Junction” and have driven Kingston Pike from Farragut to the UT Strip.
2.) I Know UT People And The School’s Culture
UT folks want to win. They want to beat Bama. Then they want to beat Florida. They want their basketball arena to be bigger than Kentucky’s (it is), they want Lady Vols basketball back top, their secondary sports to be good (swimming, track and field, baseball and softball) but what the want most of all is to have a chance to beat Bama in football each year.
Losing 34-7 to Kentucky doesn’t cut it. Neither does finishing 3-7 and getting the team put on probation. Not by a long shot.
3.) I Know UT Tradition – And Traditions
I know why Tennessee’s nickname is the Volunteers (it’s because Tennessee sent more volunteers to the Alamo than any other state), why its colors are orange and white (it’s the colors of the flowers that originally grew on “The Hill”) , the name of the band (The Pride Of The Southland) and what the “Salute To The Hill” and the “Splitting Of The ‘T'” all means.
I even know the words to “Rocky Top” and what the lines in it like East Tennesseans “get their corn from a jar” means. And the girls well, yes, they are indeed “as sweet as soda pop.”
4.) I Can – And Will – Fix The Football Program
Butch Jones was not a UT guy and Jeremy Pruitt was obviously in over his head. UT plays in a big-boys league and needs a big-boys coach. I’ll find that guy.
5.) I’ll Immediately Save The Athletic Department Half A Million Dollars
The UT athletic department is sideways financially– heck it’s still paying Jones – and I’ll do the job for a mere $250K. I’ll watch the budget and won’t give the new football coach a ridiculous buyout. And I certainly will not give him a contract extension if he goes 8-5 (as Phil Fulmer did with Pruitt)
So, UT, if’ you’re interested, contact me. Let’s set up an interview.