It’s not you, it’s ze



        It’s not you, it’s me. It is perhaps the most cliché phrase in all of American culture. It has been the go to cop out for relationships since the days of sock-hops and soda parlors. After the University of Tennessee opted to hire Kansas State’s John Currie to replace outgoing athletics director Dave Hart, many Vol fans are looking for their own way out of their toxic relationship with the university.

Chancellor Beverly Davenport opted to go with Currie reportedly due to his experience as an athletics director at a Power 5 school, and his ties to the University of Tennessee. While Currie was part of the athletics department from 1997-2009, he has not been received as a “Tennessee guy”. In fact, overall fan reception has been overwhelmingly negative, judging by social media and talk radio reactions. This is likely do to the fact that Currie was selected over two of Tennessee’s favorite sons, Chattanooga AD David Blackburn, and national champion coach Phillip Fulmer.

Part of the problem with the public perception of Currie is that he was known during his time here as former athletics director Mike Hamilton’s right hand man. Hamilton is the man Vol fans hold responsible for the decade of instability they have experienced in all three major sports. Among his failures are the firing of Phillip Fulmer for Lane Kiffin, the hiring of Todd Raleigh, the hiring of Cuonzo Martin, and worst of all, the terrible tenure of Derek Dooley. Hamilton and Currie are both adept at fundraising, and facilities improvement. However, Tennessee is financially solvent, and has among the best facilities in the country. What Tennessee needs now is someone who can hire the right coaches to buoy our programs back to their preHamiltonian success levels. Blackburn has proven he has an eye for coaching talent at UTC, losing coaches yearly to bigger wealthier programs. Currie has demonstrated no such ability.

The outrage over the Currie hire goes deeper than sports. It is yet another sign to the Vol faithful that they have lost control over the state’s flagship university. Since the Jimmy Cheek era began on The Hill, the alumni and taxpayers have felt a continued disconnection with the direction of the university. It began with sex week, and all of its inflammatory programs. Sex week has been cleaned up in recent years, due to outrage from the people. It originally featured workshops on bondage, domination, sadomasochism, and various other taboo sexual techniques and fetishes that need not be mentioned here.

Then came the elimination of the Lady Vols. Apart from Dave Hart and the administration, one would be hard pressed to find ten people in East Tennessee who wanted to see the elite brand be tossed to the wayside. But, keeping with the trend, the administration ignored those who buy the tickets, pay the taxes, and give the donations in order to push forward with its agenda.

Finally, last year administration pushed the envelope too far. In the fall of 2015, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion released new guidelines for students and faculty regarding the proper way to address the sub 1% of UT students who identify as transgender. Ze, xe,hir, and xyr all became a part of the UT student’s vocabulary, but not for the reasons the ODI intended. Students, taxpayers, and vol fans were embarrassed and outraged that their beloved university was allotting tax dollars for, and making national news due to this ridiculous policy. It became clearer than ever then that the university had to begin to hire “Tennessee guys” in positions of leadership. A Tennessee guy would never embarrass and outrage them the way the  line of chancellors and athletics directors from Alabama and Florida had.

John Currie may prove everyone wrong. He could oversee the most prosperous period in Tennessee athletic history. Maybe he will even become an adopted son, and capture the love 0f the fan base. But one thing is certain, the court of public opinion is already prepared to convict him.


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