Randy Smith: Apologies To Joe Thompson

Friday, January 26, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
I have mentioned famous "Vandy Hater" Joe Thompson several times in the past. When I first thought about writing today's column, I decided I should apologize to Joe first. I have a confession to make. There was a time in my life when I was much younger that I actually liked Vanderbilt basketball. I liked the Commodores even better than I liked the Volunteers. There.....I admitted it. It feels good to get that off my chest. I was a young teenager, about 13 years old, and thankfully I came to my senses before I graduated high school. 

I was a huge Vandy fan in the early- to mid-1960s. I loved Clyde Lee, Bob Grace and Tommy Hagan. I loved watching the great Perry Wallace, Thorpe Weber and Terry Compton.
Roy Skinner was my favorite coach and my dad, always a true"Big Orange" fan, never understood my infatuation with Vanderbilt. When Vandy would play Tennessee, I would listen to the Commodores' broadcast on WSM radio in my room, while my father would listen to John Ward and the Vols on WSIX in the living room. Now don't get me wrong, I liked Coach Ray Mears and a few of the Vols. Players like Bill Justus who would go on to become my broadcast partner on Vols basketball telecasts was one of my true favorites. So were Jimmy England, Mike Snow A.W. Davis and Tom Boerwinkle. But I always pulled for Vandy, mainly because most of my classmates at Madison High School were also Commodore fans.

I grew out of that when the Vandy program took a downturn in the early 1970s. I went to school at MTSU and became a Blue Raider fan while working on their radio network. I still love and follow Middle Tennessee to this day and, of course, I love Tennessee basketball as well. Now don't get me wrong, even when I loved Vandy hoops I still loved Tennessee football. But my admission of following Vanderbilt basketball may come as a surprise to some people.

I've always thought it appropriate for a person to like more than just one team or one school. Today I am also a big UTC fan as well.  So there I admitted it. I have apologized to the great Joe Thompson and I now have a clear conscience. 

Why did I find it necessary to apologize to Joe Thompson you may ask? Well Joe played football at Tennessee with Phillip Fulmer, Bobby Scott and Tim Priest. He has always been known as the world's greatest Vandy hater. He would rather beat Vandy than any team on the Vols' schedule. Once Joe had a blind date with a young lady in Nashville. The two hit it off and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a fancy Nashville eating establishment. After dinner, as they were enjoying dessert, she asked Joe where he went to college. He replied that he graduated from Tennessee. He then asked her the same question. She replied that she had gone to Vanderbilt. Joe then got up from his chair, never said another word to her and walked out of the restaurant   leaving her with the tab. Now you know.
* * *
Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

Dalton State Roadrunners Slide By Brewton-Parker

Dalton State got a huge game from All-American Carnilious Simmons and used a late run to slide past Brewton-Parker, 90-78, in Mount Vernon, Ga. on Thursday night. The Roadrunners got off to a good start, jumping out to a quick eight point lead, 17-9, with 14:54 left in the half. The Barons would fight back, in large part due to the play of Michael Volley, and take a two point ... (click for more)

Hamilton Heights Teams Romp In NACA National Tourney

Hamilton Heights’ boys’ and girls’ teams posted opening-round, late-night victories in the NACA Division I national tournament at Fort Bluff in Dayton, Tennessee, on Wednesday. The Hawks (23-7) defeated Mountain Mission of Grundy, Virginia, 60-36, and the Lady Hawks blasted New Hope from Landover, Maryland, 69-34. Coach Zach Ferrell’s Hawks built a 20-15 lead, but took ... (click for more)

City Officials Believe Fish Kill In Small Creek In Hixson Is Related To Weather Changes

City officials said they believe a fish kill in a Hixson Creek is related to weather changes. Officials said, "The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is presently investigating the cause of the large numbers of dead fish seen in a wet weather conveyance that runs into the Tennessee River. At this point, officials believe that the cause is related to weather   occurrences earlier ... (click for more)

East Ridge Council Approves Funding For $2.3 Million Camp Jordan Upgrade; Christopher Harris Chosen As Administrative Hearing Officer

The city of East Ridge is continuing to make improvements and upgrades in the city’s appearance and facilities. At the Jan. 11 city council meeting, approval was given for moving forward to make improvements at Camp Jordan Park. This overhaul for the 40-year-old park includes upgrades to restrooms, concessions, fencing, bleachers, grading baseball and softball fields, turfing the ... (click for more)

Reflections On Billy Graham

Sandra and I are saddened this morning after learning of the death of Billy Graham. We rejoice today, because Mr. Graham once said "It will be reported that Billy Graham has died, but that won't be the truth. He said the truth is that he had only moved to a new location".  I remember when we named 15th Street as Billy Graham Avenue, his daughter Gigi came for the dedication ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We’re The Angriest State

WalletHub, a financial-health website that has found it can draw a lot of attention by ranking the states on which is “fattest,” smartest, and so forth, has just announced its “sinful” rating and Tennessee churches should be ashamed of the job they are doing in making the Volunteer State a haven for puritans. Then again, our tourism may soon explode … remember Sodom & Gomorrah. ... (click for more)