As many people know Donnie Tyndall left behind a mess at the University of Southern Mississippi. Sure, they won games and they brought in a lot of transfer talent from all over. The NCAA ruling on Tyndall is imminent as Tyndall had met with NCAA officials today. The cloud following Tyndall and the Tennessee Basketball program due to Tyndall’s alleged violations at Southern Mississippi, which include academic improprieties and how walk-ons were compensated for tuition and room & board. There is a punishment expected and some expect it to be a rather rough one. When the words “show-cause” are a possibility, you know it’s serious.
David Climer of The Tennessean, has called for Tyndall’s ouster should significant violations be found. Many Tennessee fans would probably want a fresh start too considering that they did not get their first, second, third, fourth or even fifth choice to come to Knoxville after petitioning and running former coach Cuonzo Martin out of town. The Tennessee job is now tarnished and the recruiting is proof of this. It will take several years to get Tennessee Basketball out of the hole that their donors, fans and administration have brought upon themselves. The pitchfork approach to removing head coaches can lead to negative consequences especially when the coach everyone wants out comes a controversial call away from reaching the Elite 8 and then bolts to take the California job in Berkeley.
The news doesn’t look good for Tyndall and it is likely that Tennessee could find a way to get out of his $3 million buyout. However, the program is tarnished and a lot of the coaches that said ‘no’ a year ago are not going to say ‘yes’ now. However, there are new coaching options should the program wish to go in that direction. All indications show that Athletic Director, Dave Hart, is committed to Tyndall. That’s nice to have that support, but Hart may not want to admit he made a huge error and got a tad desperate to fill the spot. Nobody wants to take on a coach with THAT MUCH BAGGAGE. The NCAA ruling on Tyndall may force Hart’s hand and he can possibly wash his hands of this and literally start Tennessee Basketball all over again.
If Tyndall goes, it opens doors for guys that have not been previously considered by the Vols such as Rick Stansbury and Andy Kennedy. Why Kennedy? Isn’t he happy at Ole Miss? In the State of Mississippi, the maximum duration that coaches may sign is 4 years and then the contract may be extended for another 4 years or re-drafted for another 4 years. Going on a constant cycle of 4 year contracts can make a coach grow wearisome even after a second NCAA Tournament in three years. Kennedy loses a lot of talent from this year including Jarvis Summers, Aaron Jones, M.J. Rhett, Ladarius “Snoop” White and Terence Smith. Kennedy currently earns a salary of roughly $1.8 Million per year and is signed through 2017-18, but if he goes to UT, he could earn over $2 million per year and get the peace of mind and safety of a 6 or 7 year contract. If UT offered Kennedy $14 to $15 million over 6 years, he would take it.
Rick Barnes and Travis Ford are two names that have been run through the mud and may be run out of town, but they may also have new life at a program like Tennessee or Alabama. There’s a lot to watch for here and the SEC coaching situation is very fluid and it will not just impact the coaches that Mark Fox and the Dawgs will face next season and beyond, but it will change the recruiting picture as well.