UT leaders ask fans to be patient with athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- With the dust settling on Tennessee's third major coaching turnover in two and a half years, leaders at the university urged fans to be patient with the athletic department and director Mike Hamilton.

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek says he's pleased with Hamilton's hiring of football coach Derek Dooley and basketball coach (KAHN'-zoh) Cuonzo Martin.

Hamilton continues to hold support from Cheek, his boss, and others despite drawing the ire of many fans in the days leading up to basketball coach Bruce Pearl's March 21 firing. Droves of fans called for Hamilton to be fired in comments made on radio shows, Websites and in e-mails to university leadership.

Those leaders say the fans' opinions are important but can't be the basis for personnel decisions.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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