Open Letter to Kirk Herbstreit, Vol Nation, and Coach Greg Schiano: My Thoughts Following One of the Craziest Weekends in Recent College Football History

After I was called a “clown” by college football analyst, Kirk Herbstreit, I felt compelled to write down my thoughts regarding the situation at UT, Greg Schiano, plus a small blurb on Kirk. Hopefully this provides a logical perspective during a time of chaos. Thank you for reading and God Bless.

Open Letter to Kirk Herbstreit, Vol Nation, and Coach Greg Schiano: My Thoughts Following One of the Craziest Weekends in Recent College Football History

After what can only be described as one of the craziest weekends in recent college football history and following slight public humiliation led by one of my former role models, I decided to write my thoughts on recent occurrences involving one of my favorite college athletic programs (University of Tennessee), the near-hire of Coach Greg Schiano by UT, and college football analyst, Kirk Herbstreit.

First, the Tennessee football coaching situation. While the backlash to Athletic Director John Currie has been overwhelming, heated, and arguably warranted, it appears that all of the major media outlets and social media platforms are getting away from what started this whole debacle. It can really be boiled down to this: Tennessee fans no longer want to be subjected to a mediocre football program or led by decision makers making mediocre (at best) decisions. With the past decade of Tennessee football being what can only be described as a wild and miserable roller coaster ride that is seemingly endless, UT fans and Tennessee taxpayers feel they deserve a coach with proven excellence in terms of numbers—no, a 68-67 record is not proven excellence, no matter how many credible coaches (i.e., Bill Belichick, Urban Meyer) defend Coach Schiano. And why shouldn’t the UT faithful feel that they deserve better? They pay for tickets, watch the games (live or on television) year-in and year-out, and pay for millions of dollars-worth of Tennessee athletics merchandise. Heck, UT is one of the highest grossing programs in the country and you mean to tell me that the best UT’s athletic director can do is give UT a risky hire who shows some promise? If any other fan base with a historic track record like Tennessee’s went through years and years of mediocrity, they would feel the same frustrations. For AD Currie to believe that UT supporters would feel happy or encouraged by the hiring of Greg Schiano would be blind ignorance—especially considering the fact that Schiano has a mediocre college football head coaching record, complaints by his former players about his coaching style, and other red flag issues that would concern any fan base. Does that list of issues not sound all too familiar to the UT fan base? *cough* Butch Jones *cough*. So, bottom line, UT fans are not, nor should they be, pleased with the hiring of someone with Coach Greg Schiano’s coaching history.

Second, I’d like to address Coach Schiano, the Penn State allegations, and his character/reputation. I try my best to be well-informed, reasonable, and logical with things as serious as the allegations against Greg Schiano. My honest thoughts on that situation and the UT fan base utilizing that history as reasoning why he should not be our head coach are simply that it happened to appear on a google search when someone was doing their research. I know I will probably upset some fellow UT fans when I say this, but while this subject appears to be of great importance, I strongly believe that this had little to do with the anger that was brought out on social media this past Sunday (it had more to do with a botched job by the AD and a lackluster—or dare I say negligent—vetting process). The allegations with Penn State just so happened to be the best possible way to justify the public outrage that fans were feeling when they felt inevitable football doom brought on them by a mediocre hire on the part of UT athletics administration. While the allegations are very troubling, I don’t have a factually supported and real reason to believe Schiano is a terrible person. According to other coaches—those who know him best—he is a man of high character, and I can’t really argue with that considering I’ve never met the guy. Did he cover up something that should not have been? Possibly. But the simple fact of the matter is that we do not know. My guess is that he was placed in an extremely difficult situation given his status with the Penn State football program and did not know how to handle it at the time the scandal was taking place. Either way, I digress because I do not know all the facts—plus, fortunately (or unfortunately in some people’s opinion), I have had the opportunity to understand the rules of evidence and hearsay as a current law student and know that none of the allegations added up enough to place Coach Schiano in a prison cell (obviously this logic and reasoning does not take an expert in the law to understand—cue the American legal doctrine of “innocent until proven guilty”). The allegations are simply a red flag that UT does not need anywhere near it at this very moment given the current state of the program.

Finally, to one of my former role models, college football analyst, Kirk Herbstreit. After being called a “clown” by someone I viewed as role model-worthy, it is difficult for me to understand what warranted his response, much less understand how his response was professional in any way, shape, or form. First, in all honesty, I called the man biased—which apparently crossed the line. While I wasn’t referring to his analysis of college football in general (I really think he is an unbiased analyst with educated opinions), I was responding to his bias and tweet concerning UT fans and the Schiano hire. And honestly, Kirk was wrong in this case. After all, Kirk and Schiano share the same agent, have ties to Ohio State, and, lastly, Kirk truly believes Schiano is a great hire. Nothing wrong with admitting your bias in particular instances—just own it and try not to berate those who look up to you and value your opinion.

Takeaways: UT fans should not be happy with this hire, and Schiano is not a “GREAT” hire for the University of Tennessee. The Penn State allegations, while concerning, served as the “Lusitania” for the unhappiness of UT’s fan base. Don’t share your opinions on social media or you’ll end up as a “clown” writing about his (or her) opinion in length on a situation that will be cleared up in a few days.

 

Thank you for reading and God Bless

–Dale Hutcherson

2 thoughts on “Open Letter to Kirk Herbstreit, Vol Nation, and Coach Greg Schiano: My Thoughts Following One of the Craziest Weekends in Recent College Football History

  1. I literally read this in your voice the entire way through. You keep doing what you’re doing. Being called out just means you and your opinion is worthy of being noticed at all, and THAT is a big step for where we are going in our career. Keep doing it in the right direction, channeling it to your forum that is for good. Love the personality and knowledge in this read. Thank you for being MY inspiration and one of my role models. The cycle is an ongoing on my friend.

    Lots of love.

    Chels

    Like

  2. Congratulations on a well-written open letter. I am an Australian lawyer and have been closely following the Schiano/Currie controversy.

    It highlights the greatest problem in the professional world – the belief that making friends with the “right people” is better for your career than doing your job properly. There is a football coaching fraternity and John Currie was trying to ingratiate himself into that fraternity when he attempted to hire Greg Schiano. Currie being on good terms with the football coaching fraternity would give him a greater chance of hiring higher-profile coaches in the future, wherever he is Athletic Director. That’s why other coaches were so quick to show their support for Schiano. These people are more concerned with befriending the “right people” in order to further their career, instead of performing their actual job correctly. Currie’s poor vetting is clear evidence of this problem. Legitimate success in career comes from hard-work and people looking to get ahead instead by befriending the “right people” will eventually be exposed as frauds.

    I commend you for not assuming Schiano’s guilt regarding the possibility he covered up Jerry Sandusky’s conduct at Penn state. I agree that the reality is Schiano is just not a good coach or leader. No college, pop-warner or professional team in their right mind should have him as a coach (in any capacity). Luckily for him his fraternity brothers like Urban Meyer are so willing give to him further opportunities. Though if this causes harm to Meyer’s career I imagine he would be quick to sever professional ties with Schiano.

    Thank you for informing me that Kirk Herbstreit and Schiano have the same agent. Herbstreit’s commentary regarding this situation has been a cause for deep concern and I hope his superiors at ESPN are conscious of his poor performance. I think for a guy who never played a game professionally his opinion is given too much weight and recent comments regarding Gaulden/Mayfield are grossly hypocritical. I question his ability to correctly report sport and work for a reputable organisation such as ESPN. #FireHerbstreit

    Like

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