I hope you enjoyed your post game victory cigar at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. I'm sure there are several boxes of 'Stogies" hidden deep in the confines of Neyland that haven't been used at all in the past twelve years; the last five attributed to your tenure as Tennessee's head coach. I guess the slogan, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." certainly fits. I also applaud the gesture that Alabama Coach Nick Saban gave when he hired you as a "special analyst" and handed you a salary of $30,000 a year. I hope that you will do the right thing and donate that $30,000 to the charity of your choice since you are still getting paid millions of dollars by the University of Tennessee to -not- be the head coach of the Volunteers.
That gloating smirk on your face with the stub of what was left of your cigar really told the story of how you feel about your time in the Volunteer state.
So, I think it's only fair to relay the feelings of thousands of Tennessee fans this morning about how they feel about your little celebration. Our program is in the worst shape it has ever been in thanks in large part to you. That 4-8 season in 2017 was the worst season in school history and I'm sure that 0-8 SEC record is a defining moment in your career. Now that you're a part of the Crimson Tide staff, you can look back with pride and say, "Look what I did my last year in Knoxville. I brought that once proud Tennessee program to its knees before I left with a multi-million dollar payout."
All the credit for the Vols' demise can't really be credited to you though Butch. Lane Kiffin had a hand in it and so did three years under Derek Dooley. But your fingerprints all all over the last five out of nine years of less than mediocre football in Knoxville. I do have to hand it to you though. You did bring in some really good recruiting classes, but something happened to those four and five star athletes you signed. Some never made the field while others never developed as outstanding college players after stellar high school careers. I guess player development just isn't one of your strong points.
You did leave us with some really clever cliches though. The "Champions of Life" declaration was perhaps the best, and I also liked the "Brick by Brick" slogan you came up with in your first year. And that "Five star Hearts" slogan was a classic. I wonder what you may have in store for Alabama now that your a valuable member of Saban's staff. I can't wait to find out.
Once again congratulations on that 58-20 win on Saturday. I'm sure your are so proud of your accomplishment. To be able to stand in that visiting locker room and smoke that victory cigar must be a career highlight for you. Remember one thing though. These winning streaks go in cycles. It wasn't long ago that Alabama was the laughing stock of the SEC when Mike DuBose and Mike Price were fired for their indiscretions and that other "Mike", Mike Shula couldn't get it done either. Nick Saban isn't going to coach forever and when he does finally retire you better hope Alabama can find the next great college coach or they may be looking up at Tennessee and Auburn again in the SEC. Maybe Coach Saban can then hire you as his personal assistant when he retires.
Randy Smith and thousands of other Tennessee fans.
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Randy Smith can be reached at email@example.com