The road is not always straight, and the path is not always clear. There is an old saying, “Where there is a will there is a way!” This has to be the mentality of the new head coach of the University of Tennessee, Donnie Tyndall.
Cuonzo Martin never stood a chance at Tennessee. I think most liked him as a person, but most did not even give him a chance as a coach. The past was all that Tennessee fans saw. They saw the success that Bruce Pearl brought to a mediocre program, at the time, and they wanted it to continue.
Pearl is energetic, yells, screams, and motivates his players to their fullest potential. Martin is hard nosed and not too dramatic. Fans loved Pearl’s style, and they wanted to see that in Martin, but they never did.
We are now three seasons past Bruce Pearl at Tennessee, and there is a new guy in town…Donnie “Knoxville” Tyndall.
Tyndall will have to exorcise the ghost of Pearl’s past. It will not be easy to do, as fans will always look at Pearl’s time at Tennessee as the measuring stick. Tyndall seems capable and has had success at his other coaching stops. He has made two NCAA Tournament appearances at Morehead State University, and he led Southern Miss to two NIT appearances in his time there.
Tyndall made a couple of statements at his press conference that show he has the confidence it is going to take to win at Tennessee. He said that he would recruit with the best. He said there would never be a player that he would not think he could get. He said that when other coaches see him walking into a gym, they will know that they will have to step up their recruiting game.
He also made this statement about Tennessee, “you can compete to go to the Final Four and compete to win a national championship.”
That has to be encouraging for fans to hear. It is not the same “building a program” speech. It is “here at Tennessee, we can go to Final Fours and have an opportunity to win National Championship.” Fans have to love the confidence.
The thing that will best help to put Bruce Pearl out of every Tennessee fan’s mind will be to win. Donnie Tyndall will be able to help himself and his team out a whole lot if they can win!
Winning is not everything, but it is sure does help!