Tag Archives: Southeastern Conference

Of Old Boxers and Old Movies

12 Dec

My friends and I have some weird text conversations. We talk about all sorts of things, but we mostly try to stump each other on trivia. We consider ourselves experts in all knowledge that will only lead to fortune on a game show. The other night we had one such conversation. Hopefully, you can tell that the conversations can go in any direction.

It went, with slight edits, as follows. to help guide you through this high level conversation, my friend’s comments are in bold.

85 years ago the old Southern Conference became the SEC. There were 13 original members. Did you know Sewanee was one of them?

I knew that.

So was Tulane.

Georgia Tech also. I believe they dropped out in 64… when did Sewanee get out?


John Lennon was killed 37 years ago today.

That was yesterday.

Although, Archie Moore died on this day in 1998.

Correct. My bad. The Ole Mongoose was cornerman for Foreman when Ali stopped him in Zaire. Moore’s last fight was against a young Cassius Clay in 62.

He also played Jedediah in The Carpetbaggers, one of the all time great movies.

Yes, and was in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Sugar Ray Robinson was in a couple of Sinatra movies. Archie Moore also worked with James “Quick” Tillis, a Tulsa heavyweight who was a great boxer but not much heart. Tillis played in The Color Purple with Oprah. I flew in 81 to Chicago on a junket to see Tillis fight Mike “Hercules” Weaver for the WBA title. Tillis was named Sprint Tillis after the fight. He ran all night long. I saw better fights in the halls of high school.

Which boxer was in the Tony Rome movies?

Tillis’ daughter was an outstanding basketball player at Duke. Iciss Tillis.

I remember her.

Cassius Clay in 62 was in Requiem for a Heavyweight with Jackie Gleason and Anthony Quinn.

I didn’t know that.

Rocky Graziano was in Tony Rome.

I thought somebody else was in those movies.

Sugar Ray Robinson was in The Detective with Sinatra. LaMotta had a bit part in Graziano’s bio played by Paul Newman…

Sinatra got Joe Louis a job as a greeter at Caesar’s Palace.

Max Schmeling paid for his funeral.




Blind Sided

27 Feb

The Blind Side is a movie based on the real story of Michael Oher, a young African-American who is adopted into a wealthy Memphis family. Through their support, he blossoms into a great football player who goes on to success in college and the National Football League. It is a movie about the goodness of people and about what can happen when someone gets a little help along the way. It is a movie that makes the audience feel good about the world. It is a movie that everyone in my family likes.blind-side

Except me.

That situation has led to arguments. It has led people to think that I am cold-hearted. It has led to statements like “How can you not like The Blind Side?”

Well, let me explain how.

I was initially turned off by the main character played by Sandra Bullock, who hates the University of Tennessee. Why would I want to watch a movie where they talk smack about the team that I like? That makes no sense to me.

For a long time, that was my reason for not liking The Blind Side. However, people did not accept that, and my argument had to be strengthened. That is when I started looking into the story a little more carefully.

Before I get into that, there is something else that I need to explain. I am not a fan of any movie that takes real people and turns their story into a simple fairy tale. There are a ton of these movies out there, and they all make the same mistakes. Humans are complicated, and they have complicated stories. Turning those complicated stories into simple “feel good” narratives is not fair to the people being portrayed, and it is not fair to the audience. I am all for “feel good” movies. However, they are better told in the fictional world.

This does not even take into account the criticism this movie faced for being part of the “white savior” narrative. Those are the movies where white characters find out something about themselves by helping people of color who, according to the narrative, cannot help themselves. Some other movies that fit this are Cool Runnings, Dances With Wolves, Glory Road, Lawrence of Arabia and McFarland USA,

Now, here is the complicated tale of Michael Oher and the Tuohys, his adopted family.

The movie portrays Michael as a big poor kid who did not know how to do anything. Then, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy took him off the streets. That is when his football talent emerged.

In reality, he was an all-state football player and one of the top linemen in the nation who lived with several foster families. The Tuohys were one of those families, and they adopted him.

This is where my cynicism shows through, but first I will say this. I am sure that the Tuohys cared for Michael. After all, they are real people with real feelings. However, it did not hurt that he was a great football player. Why did that not hurt? Because the Tuohys were huge boosters of the University of Mississippi. Mr. Tuohy played basketball for Ole Miss and worked as an announcer on basketball radio broadcasts. Mrs. Tuohy was a cheerleader at the school.

This is where the arguments ensue. Others say that his football ability had nothing to do with the adoption. I say that I have seen a lot of crazy stuff in Southeastern Conference football recruiting. Adopting a great football player is a good way to pass benefits to the player in a legal way, and some people will go to any length to do that. Heck, Memphis is one of the most notorious cities when it comes to questionable recruiting tactics.

Anyway, huge Ole Miss boosters adopt one of the nation’s top high school football players, and he ends up going to Ole Miss. It caught the attention of the NCAA.

Members of my family read this blog, and this post may lead to more heated discussions about The Blind Side. So, why am I bringing it up? Here is why.

This week, the NCAA announced that Ole Miss lacked institutional control when it came to football recruiting. There are violations after violations. People are wondering what punishment they will receive. People are also wondering what will happen to Hugh Freeze, the head football coach who oversaw some of this activity.

Do you know where Hugh Freeze used to be the football coach?

Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis.

Do you know who was one of his best players?

Michael Oher.

Do you know how he got into college coaching?

He was hired at Ole Miss 20 days after Michael Oher signed the papers to play at the school.

I am sure that The Blind Side is a good movie about good people. Heck, Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal. I am also sure that Michael Oher would not be where he is today without the influence of the Tuohys. However, there is more to the story than this simplified version, and I wish that was the movie that had been made.

Emersed in the Subculture that is NASCAR

23 Oct

This past weekend, I went to the NASCAR race at the Talladega Superspeedway with my brother, my nephew and some friends. We had a lot of fun hanging out and, in general, acting like a bunch of guys. We traveled on a luxury bus. You know, the kind that famous people rent to take on tour. Our bus had recently been used by John Cena, the WWE star. Considering that the NASCAR fans surrounding us are probably WWE fans, I thought it was a fitting coincidence.John Cena 2

Wait, did I just stereotype NASCAR fans? I didn’t mean to do that. In my mind, NASCAR fans represent a subculture within the larger framework of society. Numerous subcultures exist in our country, and each one of them can be stereotyped by those who do not understand it or do not want to understand it. Heck, we are all part of one. I am a fan of a Southeastern Conference university. That’s a subculture. I am a blogger. That’s a subculture, too. My dad used to be in the cattle business, and I can promise you that cow people are a subculture.

As I said, NASCAR is one of many subcultures, and all subcultures lead themselves to be stereotyped and parodied. I started thinking about this somewhere around the halfway point of the race. The beginning of the race is always cool, and the end is always exciting. However, the middle gets to be somewhat tedious. After all, it is just a bunch of cars going around in a circle.

Anyway, I began to analyze my surroundings and came up with some thoughts.

1. NASCAR fans embrace the stereotypes and parodies. They have to because they cheered for the Wonder Bread car, which was the car driven by Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Surely, they realized that this car represented a movie that made fun of them and their sport.Ricky Bobby

They must also embrace the stereotypes and parodies in what they wear to the race. Surely, someone who wears a white t-shirt with a hole cut in the front so their beer belly can hang out is doing it for laughs. Surely, they realize that this is what non-NASCAR fans assume they wear and, in turn, are making a statement by embracing this unrealistic view.

2. NASCAR has abandoned its fan base, and ticket sales have suffered because of it. At one time, Talladega was packed. Now, a good seat can be bought on the day of the race. I believe it is because NASCAR has become too corporate, and the drivers have become too slick.

Drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison and many more could fit in with the fans. Now, drivers marry supermodels and live in New York City. Fans can’t relate to that. They also can’t relate to the fact that races have been ripped from historic tracks and placed in Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Wine Country. Wine and moonshine don’t mix.

3. Most of the crowd cheers for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. because he is a link to the past. He’s not just a link to his dad, the last of the great southern drivers, but also a link to all of the other great southern drivers. Ironically, Dale, Jr. is one of the few drivers who grew up wealthy. He may look and act like the fans, but, in reality, he has less in common with them than the other drivers who came up through the ranks.

4. Barack Obama didn’t get many votes from NASCAR fans. On Saturday night, we went to a karaoke gathering where beer and moonshine were flowing. Songs were sung badly, but something more interesting happened. When people had the microphone, they took the opportunity to bash the president. They told jokes about him. They cussed him. The First Amendment was alive and well.

I don’t like the president, either. I don’t like his politics or his policies. However, I believe that it went deeper than that with the people on stage. They don’t like him because they believe he is a Muslim who was born in another country. Oh yeah, they also don’t like him because he is black.

5. Many fans of University of Alabama football are ridiculous. This guy behind us yelled “Roll Tide” every time the cars went around the track. I looked for a car that was driven by Nick Saban but couldn’t find it. My only conclusion was that he wanted everyone to know that he cheers for a great football team on Saturday. This was on Sunday. I am sure he does it on every other day of the week, as well.

He, and many others, wear the school colors all of the time and brag about national championships that they didn’t actually win. Admittedly, I cheer for a rival school, but I am glad that my greatest accomplishment in life is not watching a group of other people accomplish something. Last time I checked, the guy yelling “Roll Tide” at the NASCAR race did not win a damn thing.

6. We met a guy called Big Little, and he was a top-notch grill man. According to him, women surround him just to get a taste of his Brisket and Boston Butt. I have to admit that it is funny to hear a big guy from Mississippi say Boston Butt. The fact that he was wearing overalls made it even more funny. I know he embraced the NASCAR stereotype.

That’s all I thought about. The rest of the time, I was keeping an eye on Danica Patrick’s car. First, because its color scheme makes it stand out. Second, the other fans were booing her. If the “Roll Tide” guy was against her, then I needed to be for her.


30 Jul

We just finished walking around the neighborhood. As we did, I noticed a man through a window. He was working at his desk, and I began to wonder what he was working on. Was he writing the next great novel? Was he writing a letter? Was he blogging? At the moment, I am sitting by a window, and people are probably looking in and wondering what I am doing.

I like to think that people like what they read here. It’s a hodgepodge of stuff, but it comes right out of my head. Sometimes, It’s travel. Sometimes, it’s music. Sometimes, its stories from the past. All the time, it’s something that is stuck in my mind and needs to get out.

I am not sure what needs to get out tonight, so I will just go down the list of categories on this blog and type this first thing that fits.Scattergories

Academics – School starts back soon. That means inservice.

Agriculture – The other day, I got gas at the Farmer’s Co-Op.

Art – There is a guy named Art who works at Beauty Boutique, Necole’s store.

Biography – The last one I read wasn’t very good, It was about Ward Bond, John Ford and John Wayne. It should have been good.

Books – I just finished The Eye of God by James Rollins. It is the further adventures of Grayson Pierce.

Childhood Memories – Tonight, I mentioned that my parents had a Weeping Willow in their front yard, and I used to play under it.

Comedy – Nothing is funny, at the moment.

Community – I was named to the local Planning Commission. This afternoon was my first meeting.

Crime – Tonight, I found out that a guy I once knew tried to kidnap his wife and lock her in a closet. Hopefully, he will get what’s coming to him.

Did You Know? – I forgot about this category. It needs to be revisited.

Dining – Tonight, we had a home cooked meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and green peas.

Dreams – Lately, my dreams have been less than memorable.

Government – Necole went to the DMV this morning. There is no reason they should be that slow.

History – I am getting my lecture voice warmed up.

Movies – We watched Batman Begins, and I realized that the guy who plays Joffrey on Game of Thrones was in it.

Music – We have a couple of concerts coming up – Don Williams and The Eagles.

Nature – There’s a great article about sugar in the latest National Geographic. Everyone should read it.

Photography – In a few days, we are getting more wedding photos made.

Rambling Ruminations – I think that is what this post is all about.

Relationships – I’m married.

Religion – I would like to write about it more, but a few things are better left unsaid.

Sports – College football is about to start, and my team, the University of Tennessee, is in the Southeastern Conference. However, you’ll never hear me chant S-E-C. I cheer for one team and hope the other ones lose every week.

Stupid Stuff – It’s an accurate description of this post.

Television – I’m waiting for Justified to crank back up.

Therapy – I used to go. I don’t anymore.

Travel – We just returned from California and will be heading to Arizona soon.

Writing – Am I the only person who doesn’t mess with those writing prompts?

What Is This Post About?

17 Mar

There’s not much going on in my head tonight. No words of wisdom. No original blogging ideas. Heck, I’m not even sure why I turned on the computer and logged into WordPress. It could be that I got tired of watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on BBC America. The episode that just ended saw Geordi turn into an alien. The next episode has Barkley turning into a superhuman. It seems that everyone is always turning into something on that show.

I went to a couple of sessions of the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament this week. My team lost, and the other games weren’t very exciting, either. Probably, the most exciting part about the week was finding myself behind a Fisker Karma. Don’t worry. I also didn’t know what it was, but I looked up the price. Base: $94,000.

The Karma

The Karma

I hope the driver remembers that Karma is a bitch sometimes.

For some reason, Eric Cartman just entered my head.Eric CartmanI haven’t seen Southpark in a long time. Unlike Star Trek: The Next Generation, they don’t turn into different things on that show. They do a lot of funny crap, though.

Oh, there’s this other thing that popped into my head. The Moody Blues recorded an album called Days of Future Past that I have always been fascinated with.Moody Blues

It’s a concept album that takes the listener through the day from morning until night. Each song is about a certain time of day. The album includes Nights in White Satin and other songs, but it begins and ends with poetry. Those poems are what has fascinated me.

The Day Begins

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from our sight
Red is gray and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

Pinprick holes in a colourless sky
Let insipid figures of light pass by
The mighty light of ten thousand suns
Challenges infinity and is soon gone
Night time, to some a brief interlude
To others the fear of solitude

Brave Helios, wake up your steeds
Bring the warmth the countryside needs

Late Lament

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day’s useless energy spent

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from our sight
Red is grey and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion

So, what is this post about?

It’s about a car that is a bitch to pay for and could be a bitch to drive.

It’s about Eric Cartman, one of the great authority figures of our time.

It’s about the poetry of the Moody Blues.

It’s about needing to write something and just letting stuff pour onto the screen.

On Top of the Tornado

3 Mar

Storms swept across Tennessee today and left some destruction in their wake. Tornado warnings and watches were all over as the map turned green, orange and red. Thankfully, not much happened around my house, but it reminded me of a time that I found myself on top of the tornado. This tornado to be specific:

In 2008, my girlfriend of the time and I traveled to Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament. We hit the afternoon session to see my favorite team, the University of Tennessee, win a close game. As it ended, fans from all of the teams filed out of the Georgia Dome in anticipation of the night session and more excitement to come. However, we had other plans. Dinner reservations at the restaurant on top of our hotel, the kind that slowly turns so patrons can get a panoramic view of the city. After dinner and a few drinks, we would hit the lobby bar before turning in. As we got dressed and prepared for the evening, we could not anticipate what was really going to happen.

As we left the room, she asked if we should take our phones, and I said no because we weren’t even leaving the building. We took the special elevator to the top and exited into a crowded restaurant with people laughing and dishes clanking. With a little time to wait for a table, we found a seat, ordered some drinks and watched the sky light up in the distance. Lightning was everywhere, but it was miles away. At no point did anyone think that it would have an effect on us. Then, it happened. I noticed a strange haze outside and suddenly saw a large piece of something fly by. I immediately grabbed my girlfriend’s arm and said let’s go. Why?

I could only say one word. Tornado.

As we moved it hit the hotel. Diners screamed and began to panic. Chandeliers swayed, hitting the ceiling with each swing. The building was swaying as well. Not a good feeling when you are 73 stories high.

People immediately began running down the stairs thinking that they could beat the fall if the building collapsed. There was no way I was getting trampled in that stampede, so we stayed behind and rode the elevator down with the restaurant staff. By then, the tornado had passed and the electricity had not gone out. It was the slowest elevator ride ever because we really didn’t know if we would make it all the way down. Luckily, we did, and, when the doors opened, we found a lobby turned into a refugee camp. People who had been on the street came straggling in covered with water, dirt, debris and with haggard looks on their faces. It was a disaster movie come to life.

As people continued to pour in, we learned what happened after the tornado hit. It traveled down the street, wreaking havoc along the way, and hit the Georgia Dome where a basketball game was being played. Fans and players scrambled as the roof was ripped apart and pieces fell on top of them. I realized that my dad would have been watching the game and seen the carnage. I didn’t have a phone and was banned from going to the upper floors. Knowing that my parents were home worrying, I could kick myself for leaving my phone behind, but I got lucky again. Sitting on the floor across from me was a man from my hometown. I used his phone to call home, and my parents relayed what they were seeing on television. It was hell outside, and we were lucky to be alive.

After several hours, we were allowed to go to our room and got there at the same time as the people next to us. When they opened the door, they stood with shocked looks on their faces. Like moths to a flame, we followed them in and saw their entire window blown out. We were standing in an open room 40 stories in the air. Lucky once more, our room was untouched.

We left the next day and, for the first time, realized what we had found ourselves in. Debris was piled on all of the streets, and demolition workers had cleared a path on one street to get people to the interstate. It was like driving through an apocalyptic landscape, and we were scared. The shock and adrenaline had worn off, and reality set in. We came close to death and never realized it.

Lucky has been used a lot in this post, but that is an understatement. It’s been four years, and I still don’t have adequate words to describe it.

Tennessee Beats Vanderbilt – No, Really They Did

21 Nov

My favorite t-shirt has “12.21.2012” written across the front. For many, that date represents an important day in Mayan prophecy and the end of times as we know them. Many people in my part of the world felt that the true end of the world had come on 11.19.2011, the date that Vanderbilt was favored over Tennessee in a game played in Knoxville. In case you didn’t realize, that had never happened before. For those of us who see the world through orange-tinted glasses, this was true Armageddon.

Fortunately for us, the earth balanced correctly on its axis and there was not an instantaneous ice age (as in that stupid Dennis Quaid movie). Tennessee prevailed in a classic SEC battle of heavyweights. Vanderbilt displayed finesse with four turnovers and two missed field goals. Their two touchdown drives covered a total of 41 yards. Tennessee came through with some nifty plays of its own. Tyler Bray threw a 99-yard touchdown to the wrong team, and the kicker missed a field goal when he hit the long snapper in the ass.

I have sat through a lot of games, and these had to be the two worst teams I have ever seen go against each other. Bad playing. Bad coaching. Stupid penalties. As icing on the cake, there was bad officiating. It’s good for the conference that no one outside of Tennessee cared about this game. If the world was watching, then the pundits would be up in arms about the whistle-no whistle-fumble recovery-interception-nonreviewable review at the end of the game.

Sadly, Tennessee fans were cheering wildly at the end as the team stormed the field. This was a win against VANDERBILT, and people acted like it was the national championship. How far has the program fallen? Vanderbilt had four turnovers and two missed field goals, and Tennessee was still lucky to win. And, people were thrilled. It’s funny what we will get used to. The program is truly wallowing in mediocrity…scratch that – Hell.

Derek Dooley is not the man to turn it around. I can only hope that AD Dave Hart looked around at the empty seats and the empty orange pants on the sidelines and came to the conclusion that this needs to be over sooner rather than later.

Arkansas 49 Tennessee 7

13 Nov

The University of Tennessee football team hit another low tonight in their loss to Arkansas. The squad now stands at 4 wins and 6 losses and needs to win the next two games to become bowl eligible. In the past, the final two games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky have been sure victories, but this year is different. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vandy is favored this week. Actually, they should be because they are the better team. That’s how bad things have gotten. Vanderbilt is better at football than Tennessee. Sad.

There was one positive about the game tonight. I watched it with my dad. He took me to my first game when I was six years old, and from then on I went to every game that he did. I imagine that a lot of adults would rather go without kids, but he always included me. I can remember riding in the back seat as he and my grandfather talked in the front. Our season tickets never changed, so the people around us watched me grow up. I still sit in the same seats. However, he doesn’t go much anymore.

In July of 1991, my dad suffered a massive stroke that affected his speech and paralyzed his right side. He spent years learning how to walk again and write with his left hand. He has worked hard and bounced back from an attack that most doctors expected would kill him. However, as he gets older the effects weigh him down more and more. For years, I took him to a few games that he felt comfortable going to. He took me, so I was going to take him. But, his one game this year was very hard. I doubt that he ever goes again.

I can sense my dad getting more feeble and realize that at some point he will no longer be here. That’s why watching games with him is so special. It is something we have done together as long as I can remember. A lot of sons remember playing catch with their dads. I remember going to football games with him. As I watched the game tonight, I realized that it didn’t matter who won or by how much. What matters is that we got to watch it together.

Big Orange Apathy

7 Nov

I did not attend the University of Tennessee football game this week. That probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to “normal” people, but in my world it is huge. My dad started taking me to games when I was six. In the years since I have been to hundreds of games in thirteen different states. There have been heart-breaking losses and heart-pounding wins; disappointing seasons and surprisingly successful ones. Many games have been forgotten and a lot became lasting memories. Through it all, I was there. In short, I have been a die-hard fan. But, this weekend I didn’t go. After watching this squad disintegrate into the worst Tennessee team in my memory, I couldn’t sit through it anymore. When that happens to fans like me, my dad and my friends, then the University of Tennessee has a problem. Apathy, a killer for a football program, has set in.

All fans have an opinion as to how we got to this point. You can read them on message boards and hear them on radio call-in shows. This is my opinion.

On January 4, 1999, the Volunteers won the national championship in a tough victory over Florida State. A successful coach, Phillip Fulmer, reached the pinnacle of his profession and brought glory to his alma mater. At that point his record was 66 wins and 11 losses. We all thought that a dynasty was in the making a more championships would come. We were wrong. The signs of problems were there, but everyone was too jubilant to see them.

1. Fulmer was 53-11 with Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning, both of which finished second in the Heisman race, as his quarterbacks. Those types of players make coaches look good and do not come around very often.

2. Coaching in the Southeastern Conference was at a low. Steve Spurrier of Florida was the only other coach of any prestige. Fulmer was 2-5 against Florida during this time.

In summary, Fulmer had superior talent against inferior coaching. When he was evenly matched the record dropped.

Still, the first year after Manning Fulmer led the Vols to a victory over Florida and a national championship. That can’t be taken away from him. It was an amazing achievement that brought joy and pride to Volunteer fans everywhere. However, the dynasty never came. In fact, the next year Fulmer took the same players and lost 3 games.

In 1999 and 2000, the years immediately following the national championship, Tennessee went 17-7 with blowout losses in two bowl games.

In 2001, the team rebounded with a record of 11-2, a great season that also brought great disappointment. Tennessee went into the SEC Championship game with an opportunity to return to the national championship game. A victory would bring more glory. Then, they lost to LSU, an underdog playing a backup quarterback. Many see this as the beginning of the slide, but I think it started sooner. The LSU game was simply a missed opportunity along the way. However, the 2001 season also marked the end to an invisible era. Peyton Manning’s UT career ended in 2007, but his impact ended in 2001. These were the last players recruited while Manning was on campus, and talent would slowly weaken as the era passed.

From 2002 to 2008 Fulmer won 57 and lost 32. His supporters will say that he went to two conference championship games and had three 10 win seasons. I say he backed into the championship games as a decided underdog and lost to Vanderbilt. Also, the years he won 10 games, Fulmer lost 3, 3, and 4. Then, there were the two losing seasons.

Many say that the second losing season should be blamed on Mike Hamilton, the Athletic Director, for firing Fulmer in mid-season. I agree that it was Hamilton’s fault but for a different reason. He should have fired Fulmer after he lost to Vandy in 2005. Then, we probably would not have had a losing season in 2008. Anyone who watched the games could tell that the program was in a slow decline. Fulmer had gained success and wealth and was caving in to human nature. Success brought laziness, and his record proves it. Great players made him a great coach. As the talent declined, Fulmer’s coaching ability was exposed.

Firing Phillip Fulmer was the right decision. Hiring Lane Kiffin was the right decision as well. He was a great recruiter and could coach. He took an Alabama team to the wire when his team had no business being that close. Most people disagree because he left after a year. But, I bought in to Kiffin and believe that he will be a success. Unfortunately, here is where the bad decisions began to manifest.

1. When Kiffin said he was leaving for USC, Hamilton did not make a counter offer. It may not have worked, but the attempt should have been made.

2. Hamilton panicked and followed a terrible plan. He should have named an interim coach and searched the nation with an attractive financial offer. Instead, he tried to attract candidates with a weak package and settled for Derek Dooley, head coach at Louisiana Tech.

Dooley found a program in turmoil. One coach had been fired and another left. On top of that, talent was down from years of poor assessment by Fulmer. As a result, Dooley’s record is 10-12 at this point. This includes blowout losses and no victories over rivals. The program has hit bottom under his regime.

So, what does all that mean? It means Fulmer was never a great coach but a benefactor of great recruiting. He topped out and figured his job was done. Fulmer cashed a check for a decade while living off a national championship season. As his supporters crowed about his success, that very success was slowly slipping away. When the athletic director finally got the guts to fire him the fan base was split. He made a good hire but did not try to stop it from backfiring. Then, the AD panicked and hired a coach without the ability to pull the program back.

What’s the solution? Dave Hart, the new AD, should cut his losses. Fire Dooley and put together a financial package that will attract a winning coach. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and an apathetic fan base demands it.