Following the Tennessee Volunteers’ tough loss to South Carolina, the student section was chanting “Fire Sanders.” SportsAnimal99 reported that fans were throwing objects at the players as they left the field.
On his radio show yesterday, Jimmy Hyams told listeners that, based on his observation of Sanders’ interaction with his wife and two daughters following the game, he believed that Sanders’ decision yesterday to resign was primarily due to the impact of all of this on Sanders’ family.
Sanders did, however, downplay the significance of public criticism, saying, “It’s not a response to any criticism. It’s a response to what I see. I’m trying to be accountable for how we have played.”
Here’s a quick roundup of news and bloggers’ posts:
Voluminous has several posts, including transcripts of portions of the audio linked to above and a picture of The Rock on the UT campus, which recently had the painted message, “Fire Randy Sanders, Please.”
UTSports.com has the official word.
GoVolsXtra.com (subscription required) cites an unnamed source as saying that “former UT offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe has been contacted to replace Sanders,” but also reports that “Cutcliffe said he has not been offered a job by UT and is more concerned with Sanders, who is a close friend.”
There’s also this, from the same article:
Sanders said he would have actually benefited monetarily had he been fired and not resigned.
“I’m not trying to beat him to the punch,” Sanders said, referring to Fulmer. “I’m not resigning to keep from getting fired.”
Some people will probably criticize Sanders even for this, saying he failed to recognize and capitalize on his financial incentive to be fired rather than resign. I say he’s a true Volunteer.
From radio hosts to sportswriters to TV guys, the consensus seems to be that there are bigger problems that must be corrected before UT can right the ship. Sanders wasn’t one of them, at least not according to the majority of folks who cover the team.
John Adams echoes that sentiment.
UT players — and their parents — are shocked:
“I’d heard two or three people say Coach (Randy) Sanders was resigning, and I was like, nahh, that’s wrong,” Sears said. “I didn’t believe it because Coach Sanders doesn’t deserve this. He didn’t fumble, he didn’t miss a block or drop a pass.”
The news was so shocking that receiver Bret Smith broke his three-year self-imposed media silence Monday night.
“I was surprised; I didn’t understand why he did it,” Smith said. “We were disappointed. There’s nothing we can do about it now … hopefully something good can come out of all this.”
Some have said that getting Cutcliffe on board would drastically improve Tennessee’s chances at getting coveted quarterback Jimmy Clausen, the younger brother of Casey and Rick, to Tennessee, but here’s what their father has to say about that:
“I’m sure they’ll come at us with (David) Cutcliffe, if they get him, and say he’s all the things Randy wasn’t,” Clausen said. “But you look at how some things have been handled. Really, what will be different for Jimmy?”
Big time college football is a tough business.