Fans say the surprise isn't why Hamilton resigned, but when

By: Sara Shookman Email
By: Sara Shookman Email
While he called himself a "lightning rod" for negative press for the last three months, some fans say it goes back a lot farther than that.

Chancellor Jimmy Cheek (right) and Athletics Director Mike Hamilton announce Hamilton's departure.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- UT fans have mixed feelings about seeing Athletic Director Mike Hamilton go. While he called himself a "lightning rod" for negative press for the last three months, some fans say it goes back a lot farther than that.

The focus is certainly Hamilton and not the how or why he resigned, but maybe the when.

Mike Hamilton wasn't always the fan favorite. But Tuesday both his supporters and critics are left a little disheartened as Tennessee's trouble continues.

"I figured it was a long time coming," said Zack Taylor, a UT fan. "Pretty much every athletic program we have is in a state of flux right now. It starts at the top."

Here at Ray's and around town, fans have been watching the news unfold. "I think a lot of true UT fans are really disappointed in some of the decision making that he's had," said Taylor. "And to be honest with you, it's his show and he failed miserably."

"All this radical change, football coaches, basketball coaches, baseball coaches, an athletic director can be a killer for a university for a while," said Mike McDaniel, another fan.

"People have questioned him since Fulmer," said Jesse Thomason, a manager at Hounddogs.

Hounddogs in Cedar Bluff lives and dies with UT Athletics.

Thomason says Hamilton had bad timing and made some bad decisions -- but he was great at one thing: "As far as raising money, what his job mainly consists of, I think he's done an amazing job. He's great at that, he always was good at that."

So what's next? "It's just going to a challenge of rebuilding maybe the sports teams and coaching structure," said McDaniel.

And the finding of a new leader that can move the program forward. "We really need somebody that's a real strong Volunteer. They stand behind the school, they stand behind the name," said Thomason.

"Bring in someone that has athletic knowledge, sports background. Don't just bring in a bean counter and think they can run an athletic program. It just doesn't work that way," said Taylor.

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  • by Maurice Location: Farragut on Jun 9, 2011 at 11:21 AM
    Hamilton is a good man. Just like all sports, professional and amateur, there is a time and place that programs and job come to a close. Let Pat Summitt and other UT professionals help to choose the right replacement. Maybe some one with a heart for sports, not making money.
  • by matt Location: Blount on Jun 8, 2011 at 03:47 PM
    hire Phil!
  • by Billy Location: Campbell County on Jun 7, 2011 at 11:32 PM
    Phillip Fulmer for A.D! Fulmer had apparently lost the fire in his belly as football coach and the last few teams he fielded didn't seem to have much discipline. But he seems to be a good man, who loves UT, and his loyalty to UT cannot be questioned. If chosen as A.D, Fulmer has a chance at vindication by bringing UT back to national prominence in all athletics after being thrown under the bus by Hamilton in favor of an outsider with no loyalty to or ties to UT athletics. Lane Kiffin was a disaster and disgrace to UT football and even Mike Hamilton must know this. So to Hamilton: goodbye and, um, have a nice life somewhere else. Even though Phillip Fulmer had some issues when he was fired, he did not deserve the treatment he received from Hamilton.
  • by Smitty Location: Knoxville on Jun 7, 2011 at 10:20 PM
    true, Hamilton could raise money, but he wasn't a proponent of "take care of the sports first and 'doing it right', and the money will take care of itself"..Bud Selig from MLB has been the same kind of 'bean counter' leader as Hamilton, and look at the sad state of baseball the last few years .. takes a 'sports person' to run 'sports programs' .. come on UT administration - you're supposed to be educated people ..get a clue !
  • by Chuck Location: Chattanooga on Jun 7, 2011 at 09:34 PM
    Hamilton priced UT out of the market, why buy season tickets when you can buy a ticket on the street for half price, the stadium is never full anymore. We couldn't give away tickets last year.


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