We've dealt with some pretty heavy stuff here in this space the past couple of days, and I believe I've displayed some courage by turning over some leaves in Rocky Top. I no doubt stepped on a few golden toes in coming forward with my belief that the University of Tennessee sports scene desperately needs new eyeballs and a new approach. What we're currently doing isn't working and those entrusted with power have quite simply dropped the ball. It's time here for something new. It's time for a new approach from our power folks.
Perhaps that's why I found this Tweet from Copper Cellar Corporation and owner Mike Chase
to be water to my Big Orange Soul.
The Copper Cellar Family endorses @DBlackburnUTC for @Vol_Sports AD. RT if you agree.
Before we go any further, it seems appropriate to clue you into a couple of things. Firstly, I love Mike Chase. He's a friend and a confidant. He's loyal. He's everyday people. He cares. He's heart and soul. He loves this place. He's opinionated. He's brilliant and he's his own man.
Secondly, I want to state for the record that, while I had nothing to do with the drafting of that tweet, I couldn't have possibly said it better myself.
As I've written, along with others covering this AD search (if you can even call it that), David Blackburn is the biggest slam dunk of all time. EVERYBODY concerned at UT is in his corner. The Lady Vols want him. Manning, Fulmer, Majors, you name them....But he's his own guy. He's going to be a man. He's going to do things his way in a town that values cowering to a select few.
Thank God Mike Chase refuses to kowtow. Yesterday he decided to stand up and be counted and I couldn't be more thrilled.
What follows is an exclusive interview I did with Mr. Chase conducted last night.
Me: Mike, thanks for joining us here....first of all, why did you do this? You've never been one to get publicly involved like this in UT sports decisions.
Mr. Chase: It's time for the people of Tennessee and Vol fans to speak out. Everybody that eats in my restaurants. I think it's time for a few people to step aside and let us have our university back....The way WE want it, not the way THEY want it. If you look at their past choices of AD's and many coaching hires...Total failures....Tennessee used to dominate.
Me: So you're just tired of it.
Mr. Chase: It's time for US as individuals to take control of OUR university...Not just a few rich cats... We've got too many people that NEVER attended UT calling the shots at what goes on at our school.
Me: Yeah. And these non-UT people are deep inside....
Mr. Chase: We're tired of outsiders and non-Tennesseans making decisions for us. We don't want any more Florida, Alabama of other outside influences in our athletics. We want a Tennessean. We want David Blackburn. He's us. It's time.
Me: What do you hope to accomplish with your stance?
Mr. Chase: I want people to get involved and not fear retribution. It's time at the University of Tennessee that all of us graduates are allowed to express our opinions and not just a few rich people making ALL of the decisions. If a vote could be taken in Big Orange Country, David Blackburn would grab in excess of 90% among the people that live in Tennessee and other Vol fans. Why won't they listen to us? Why do they continue to hoard control and won't allow us to have any say in these matters?
Me: What do you say to people to the rank and file fan that feels helpless in this deal?
Mr. Chase: Text. E-Mail. Call. Don't be afraid to have your voice heard. Don't be intimidated by people with a lot of money. Don't let them make all the decisions for you in life. And this is no different. Together we're bigger than them. We need to join forces. Strength in numbers..... We don't need any more Dave Harts. If we don't act now, that's what these folks are going to drop on us. We need to come together. We need to do it right now.
Me: Do you expect other business people to join you?
Mr. Chase: Absolutely. I can't believe the response. We put that Tweet out yesterday at 2(pm) Eastern and my phone and e-mail blew up. I've never seen anything like it. My office manager was at her wits end for the rest of the afternoon. She was wanting to leave. This is a movement. It's unbelievable. I'm so glad I went on the record. It's time we ALL go on the record. Don't be afraid. There's more of us than them.
Me: Have you gotten any blow back from the power brokers to this move by you?
Mr. Chase: No. I've heard nothing negative on taking a stand. And to be honest with you, I'm not really worried about it.
Me: Do you fear any reprisal to this?
Mr. Chase: Absolutely not. I want to welcome folks to our cause. Anybody across the state of Tennessee and across the world in Vol Nation, make your voice heard. I'll promise you this....I'm getting involved in this full time. It's time to get up and run with me. Make your voice heard. Don't sit on the sidelines. I want to encourage you to call, tweet, facebook, write letters, whatever. Just do it. The Vols belong to the people and the fans, not a select group of rich guys.
Me: Any final thoughts today?
Mr. Chase: Yeah. Go Vols and I can't wait until we have a Tennessee guy at the helm of UT Athletics. Let's bring the Lady Vols back into the fold, let's get Phillip Fulmer back involved and get back to being great again. I just know in my heart that David Blackburn can get us back to the top across the board.
Make Tennessee Great Again? I kinda like that!!!
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Vols have a big one tonight with South Carolina coming in. Frank Martin joined me yesterday on the show and seems to feel great about his team coming into tonight. Carolina is at full strength and seems to be a tough matchup for the Vols. Two things I'll be curious to see tonight. How will Tennessee match Thornwell's presence tonight and how will the Vols play the final five minutes of both halves? Tennessee has failed in the final five minutes of each half the past couple of times out. Also, will the Vols regain their defensive intensity after taking a day off at Florida?
We'll be live with your SmartWay/Garza Law Firm 5th Quarter Fan Reaction as soon as tonight goes final. Download the app if you haven't done so. Spread the word please for us. Tony Jones will join Mark Griffin, Keith Hatfield and myself for the festivities as soon as the game goes final.
I have a feeling the Vols are going to play well tonight and get the win. Look for Williams to bounce back after an off game at Florida.
Don’t know when Blackburn started @ UTC (too lazy to look it up), but this should perk up the academic minded folks. Oh, and my daughter is one of the 4.0 athletes.
Check this out Vol Nation!! Link
I’m 100% on board! We want Blackburn in Knoxville!
Chris!!! thanks for being there! Thanks for standing up... We need more folks like you to come forward and fight the power. Blackburn should've been hired months ago.
Doug Marrone is the right hire for Jacksonville. That franchise finally did something correctly. Break up the Jags!
Give these folks in major college sports a billion and they'll spend a billion and one. How do I know? Link
Final Thought: So, Tennessee has a search firm or don't they? The deal is this: whether they go the Turner route, or with Parker out of Atlanta or Gene D from Boston the answer is going to come back the same.... David Blackburn. I can save UT 80K and a whole lot of consternation. Just hire the guy already.
Final Thought II: I just want to remind you that we have so much to be proud of in Big Orange Country. It's going to be amazing to get to the top of that mountain again soon. We will Make Tennessee Great Again!!!
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