By Jim Butler
According to the current Tennessee athletic director he got his man when he landed Butch Jones for the Volunteer's head coaching position. Seems like he also said that when he thought he had lured another prospect to the job. Got to be positive about it.
Some say that Butch Jones was the third choice for Athletic Director Dave Hart, but many others in the know think he was farther down the line than that. The good thing is that the Vols secured him rather cheaply considering what top-of-the-line coaches receive these days.
It has to be a good deal for the new mentor because there is no where to go but up. He just has to make the wins outnumber the losses, and by a large majority. If he could schedule more out of conference games that wouldn't be too very tough, but he's gonna have the Tide the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks, as well as Vanderbilt, to contend with annually, and there are other SEC teams that play pretty well, also.
The biggest surprise to me was when Tee Martin rejected a well-paying job with the Vols. That really has to hurt, especially with Lane Kiffin being involved. Of course, Mr. Kiffin must do some improving himself if he's going to keep his job.
I'm sure that Bobby Petrino feels fortunate to be the new Western Kentucky coach, though he will only be paid $850,000 per year. Hopefully he can get by on that for a while. I'm sure that he will work his way back up the ranks to a prominent position.
Apparently, Tommy Tuberville just didn't like his gig at Texas Tech. Accounts that I have read indicate that he literally walked out on some recruits and coaches during a meal to accept another coaching job. I don't think I would want someone like that leading my team.
Of course, I'm happy with the head coach at Vanderbilt and I hope that he will stay for awhile. They're paying him quite well, and I don't think he will be too very easily lured away. Tennessee fans that I talk with, including Coy Loveday, think that Franklin is arrogant. When a UT fan accuses someone from Vandy of being arrogant, that is something of the pot and kettle analogy, isn't it? Of course, winning eight games at Vandy in just one year could possibly make one a little cocky.
On the basketball side, neither the Commodores or Volunteers have done anything to brag about yet and I don't see it forthcoming for my side. When the Vols get healthy they might be tough to beat.
Come on Alabama! You must take Notre Dame out or they will be ranked number one for years to come. I still don't think that this one will be close, but strange things sometimes happen.
You all have another great week and continue to be good for Santa's sake. We're all gonna have a great Christmas and it's just around the corner. Then we can all watch Vanderbilt take on North Carolina State on New Year's Eve!
Go Panthers! Go Jets! Go USA!
(Jim Butler is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)