The Football Coach Tennessee Should NOT Hire!

Consider me a loyal Tennessee follower, fan, supporter…et. al.  I have been one since I saw my first game 62 seasons ago.

I love Tennessee orange. There are many other colors of orange in college football…Syracuse, Clemson, Florida (YUCK!!), Auburn, Oklahoma State, Princeton (do they still play football there?) etc. …but none can match the orange in BIG ORANGE.

I have taken all my sons and grandsons to Tennessee football games so they can appreciate the heritage of “The Hill,” that means so much to me.

I know the words to “Down The Field,” I tap my foot when I hear “Fight Vols Fight,” I get misty eyed when singing the “Tennessee Alama Mater,” and I have 3 versions of “Rocky Top” on my iPod.

GET THE PICTURE? I LIKE TENNESSEE A LOT! But, there is a limit to my commitment!

Tennessee is searching for a head football coach…again…the fourth time in six years.  I lauded the administration when they hired Derek Dooley.  I thought that we had hired a class man who could restore some dignity and pride to the football program.  And he does have class.  But, at the end of the day, a coach has to win football games to coach at Neyland Stadium.  He couldn’t and he is gone…and should be.

Phil Fulmer had lost control of the team late in his coaching tenure. His successor, the self-serving super narcissist Lane Kiffin, had succeeded in further tarnishing the U.T. program while adding to his already sullied personal reputation.  Remember his tirade while coaching the Oakland Raiders and his railing about his boss, on national T.V.

Now Tennessee is shuffling the profiles of the available coaches while pigskin pundits continue to deal additional names into this high stakes poker game.  Who should they chose?  I haven’t a clue.  But I do know who they SHOULD NOT CHOOSE.  The name of Bobby Petrino has, for some absolutely unbelievable reason, been surfaced as a possible choice. I may not know a lot but I do know that HE AIN’T THE ONE WE NEED.

For those who don’t remember, Petrino is the phony who wrecked his Harley while taking his young female paramour for a ride…so to speak.  Only a few years earlier he reneged on a contractual head coaching agreement with the owner of the Atlanta Falcons. This dastardly act of deception occurred only hours after he assured his boss, Arthur Blank, and his football team, that he was with them “all the way.”  I remember watching him on T.V. “call the hogs,” an Arkansas’ act of support for their razorback team, the day after his departure from Atlanta.  I said to myself, “they will rue the day they hired this lying bum.”  And they soon did!

That brings us to now, and Tennessee’s consideration of Petrino to coach at Tennessee.  I can think of no one who has ever played, coached, seen, read about or heard a football game that would be a worse choice than Bobby Petrino to be the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.  Can you imagine how he would sell honesty, loyalty, integrity, teamwork and commitment to his players and coaches.  And what crafty yarn about “taking care of their little boy and making sure he becomes an upstanding citizen” would he spin to the parents of a recruit? And what message would Tennessee be sending to graduates, students and the world by hiring such a unrepentant reprobate? And how could this ever be explained to Coach Robert Neyland?

It’s hard for me, a longtime Volunteer to say this, but…If Tennessee were to hire Bobby Petrino, I would never watch on TV, listen to on the radio or attend a Tennessee event as long as he was there…and maybe ever.  Further, contributing to an alumni fund would be entirely out of the question. I bet a dollar to a donut that I’m not alone in feeling this way.




  1. Dan Horne on November 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I haven’t coached on the level referred to in this article but what I do know from coaching is that you don’t have the privilege of quitting during a season. It is a cousin to a commander leaving his troops during a battle. I thought that America was smart enough not to reelect Obama so what Tennessee does wouldn’t surprise me but let’s hope they respect the game of college football enough to leave this jerk unemployed. I have never seen a guy quit on a team like he did the Falcons. Many good men have fallen off the wagon with younger women and a case might be made that if he repents then he deserves another chance at coaching. But to leave a team in mid-season is so central to a coach’s professional character that to overlook how he treated the Falcons would be foolish on the part of the Volunteer nation.

    • Carole Conklin on November 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Since when is breaking a coaching contract and jumping ship to another coaching job worse than adultery? Sure it was wrong for Petrino to lie to Mr. Blank and the Falcons team. I know that some married men mess around with women young enough to be their daughters, too. As a woman, I’m more offended by adultery than lying to the boss. “Though shalt not commit adultery” is the 8th commandment.

      • jspiker on April 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

        That said, I hope you’re not, then, one of those who idolizes the General as a saint.

  2. TRK on November 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Dadgum good article. Petrino would be terrible….. But the brass hasn’t exactly made good decisions in the past (Pearl, Kiffin) so I actually expect them to hire Petrino and think its a good idea.

  3. Steve on November 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Well stated Ross, I’m with you 100% on Petrino….a classless coaching whore!

  4. SCOT on November 23, 2012 at 8:08 am


  5. Bryan on November 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I agree. I believe we hear good news by December 3rd.

  6. Louise Collins Armin on November 26, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Ross, I always enjoy your blogs and I appreciate all the time it requires of you. Thanks again.

  7. Rich Ray on November 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Auburn is most likely next home for Petrino but definitely not UT — do not expect any announcement from UT until after SEC championship game — maybe as late as 12/10. My personal preferences: Jimbo Fisher – FSU; James Franklin – Vandy [ I know that is almost unthinkable but look at what he has accomplished; or Jim Mora – UCLA. Heard rumors the San Diego State coach has a good pedigree – don’t know his name. Remember Bowden Wyatt came from Wyoming which was very much a minor league football power in the 50’s and did a great job for three years before personal issues killed his career. Sad commentary that there are no UT grads with significant head coaching experience — it signifies a weakness in all coaches since Wyatt.

  8. John. Blanc on November 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I agree with all the above statements, we have made mistakes in the past, let us not be in such a hurry to hire the first person that comes alone. We need to fully check out the next coach in all aspects. So many of the coaches are doing it just for the money and will fly when offered more money, such as the phoney Kiffin and his kin. There has to be some one out there who can do the job, let us not be in such a hurry to hire the first one that comes looking!!!!

  9. Don Pinkston on November 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Do not forget the inside story on how Bill Battle and his family were treated by UT supporters. Real sad story full of envy, greed, meanness, etc. That curse is still here. What a success story Bill Battle has acheived…wow! It is natural that powerful and wealthy UT alumni have played major roles in the UT Sports decision making process and some never participated in any type of sport program. It is not just the Football program that has fallen from grace….look closer into those Trophy cases…The whole UT Sports program needs close scrutiny.( Maybe not all the women sports ) Policy Makers must first get back to those basic traditional roots and I believe one change must be the removal of the color BLACK/BLUE from the Campus as it applies to ALL the sport programs involving all athletics,staff,etc. Our school colors are ORANGE and WHITE…..NOT ORANGE with BLACK / BLUE / ETC. Even when we traveled to other SEC campuses to compete, the dress code was dark pants, white shirt, orange tie and orange dress jacket. We always competed in orange and white except for the footwear. Another change should be the return of the Athletic Dorm for all Sports. That builds a fraternity between all those involved in all the UT Sports programs and this ” bond of athletics ” unites most everyone to know, support and develop those relationships that is much like a large family. The Whole Sorts Program grows and bonds together…Just look close at the major USA University Sport programs…. Great experience…. 1962 – 1966 – UT Volunteer in Cross-Country and Track & Field / Thanks

  10. Bill Vaughn on November 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Stay in your lane when covering punts and kick-offs..NEVER let a runner get outside of you on not try to knock a runner down-TACKLE him..on offense you know the count number, DON’T MOVE….this is not brain surgery.. what do these coaches do at practice ? Wait..I know.. hire me.. I believe I could do a better job.

  11. JVM on November 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Well said, J.Ross. My sentiments exactly. JVM

  12. J.B.Walls on November 26, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I know very little about football and even less regarding coaches. What I *do* know, however, is the orange color that UT wears today is nothing like the authentic and original Big Orange. It might not have been the prettiest and/or most garrish shade of orange, but it was original, and most significantly, Tennessee Orange, which was never mistaken with any other school.

    My late father-in-law, Dr. Jimmy Walls, was well acquainted with General Neyland, and we know that he pronounced his name NAYland, not NEEland, as it’s mistakenly used today.

    Maybe Tennessee should play at NAYland Stadium in their original pale orange, in hopes of attracting a coach that respects the Tennessee Tradition and knows how to pronounce the name of the stadium.

    • JJE on November 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm

      Maybe Peyton Manning can pull off a superbowl win and call it quits as a player. He would make one heck of a coach. I’m just saying.

  13. jeanie gree on November 26, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Who ever they hire I hope they have a good buy out contract for it only takes UT about 2yrs to give up and move on. I feel sorry for anyone who attempts to come to UT

  14. RALPH BEAN on November 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    we can’t hire you bill because your last name has 6 lettter’s just like every coach they have had since doug dickey.

  15. BBI on November 26, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Agree! THanks for writing this.

  16. Ralph Lehman on November 27, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Well put. We have allowed the fiction of athletic departments being separate from their respective universities to develop from being an item of convenience to being a governing rule. This fiction enables those who drive the athletic engine to pursue goals totally ay odds with the rest of the university. The universities were established to shape and mold the minds of the youth to be future leaders. Over and against this we have athletic departments that will twist contort themselves in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Thus we have games at 8:00 that will run to midnight; we have grad students who cannot park within miles of the library on a game day because the school could sell the lots; and we have athletes who spend 4 or 5 years in a college who cannot read or write at a high-school level. And we find ourselves entertaining a thought of hiring a coach who has shown himself repeatedly to be self-serving and lacking any commitment and at least some morals because we might win some more games, fill more seats, and bring in more money by increasing the price the fans pay to park in those parking lots on game days.

  17. BH on November 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I agree completely. A lot of schools are looking for head coaches right now and it will be very difficult to find the right one. A Vince Dooley or Mark Richt or Urban Meyer is very hard to find. You want someone young like Derek Dooley but has been tutored under a winning coach. You are most likely to find them at the lower level. NC State is also looking for a head coach and they are looking at the Texas Tech coach and Chad Morris, the young Clemson offensive coordinator. Petrino has also been mentioned but not very seriously.

Leave a Comment