By Steve Williams
I’ve tried to get Dave Hart’s attention about this Lady Vol thing.
In my annual Dear Santa letter, I asked for Hart to be showered with Lady Vol gifts, with the hope that might make him a more passionate Lady Vol fan and understand better all the fuss about eliminating the iconic Lady Vol nickname and logo from UT women’s teams except basketball.
Give him a Lady Vol T-shirt, sweatshirt, cap, jacket, pennant, car flag and license plate, I asked.
Could it be my letter got lost on the way to the North Pole? Or is Hart just being a Scrooge and refusing to be seen in public with any of the Lady Vol gifts that Santa brought for him?
Three months later and still seeing no change in the UT athletic director’s decision on the controversial matter, despite the relentless efforts of Lady Vol fans and former Lady Vol athletes, I felt it was time to take more drastic measures. So in my March 16 column, I called for UT Lady Vol fans to boycott the opening two rounds of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament that were to be held at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Getting into Hart’s pocket was probably the only way to get his attention.
But there was no boycott. And still no change.
Okay, I’ll try some reverse psychology on Lucky Dave. Yep, that’s what I called him in my April 13 column. He had just gotten lucky again, hiring Rick Barnes to fill the men’s basketball post four days after he had to fire Donnie Tyndall and admit he had made a mistake by bringing Tyndall on board in the first place the year before.
It was the second time Lady Luck had kissed Hart in a coaching hire since he had been at UT. Remember when he went after Charlie Strong to replace Derek Dooley? Strong turned down the offer and took the Texas job. Hart rebounded by hiring Butch Jones.
Four-leaf clovers were falling out of Lucky Dave’s pockets with every step he took in those AD shoes. With Barnes coming on board, Hart’s popularity with the Tennessee fan base was soaring.
Hart was hot, I wrote, and now would be a perfect time for him to parlay his good fortune into something even bigger. Announce you’re going to rescind your decision to take away the Lady Vol nickname and logo from the other women’s teams, I wrote.
Had Lucky Dave acted on my suggestion look where he would be now. The toast of the town. The king of Lady Volville. Set for life.
But he didn’t.
So what should I write now? How do I get through to this stubborn man?
I bring in Pat Summitt to offer one of her famous basketball quotes. What could be better than words from the lady that built the great Lady Vol pride and tradition!
“Admit to and make yourself accountable for mistakes. How can you improve if you’re never wrong?” – Pat Summitt.
I hope you’re listening Dave.