Reader impressed with Tennessee president Randy Boyd, and it's good news for Smokey, too | Adams

John Adams
Knoxville News Sentinel

College administrators seldom receive much attention from the general populace unless something goes wrong.

For example, former UT president John Shumaker made headlines for his international travel and exorbitant purchases, like a $7,000 Persian rug, which he apparently thought would spruce up his presidential living quarters.

Among most reasonable UT followers, Shumaker’s extravagances qualified as “something going wrong.”

Other UT leaders have demonstrated incompetence without accumulating enough frequent-flyer miles to circle the globe.

But the current leadership team of president Randy Boyd and chancellor Donde Plowman is distinguishing itself with common sense and sound decision-making not often associated with their positions. And people are noticing.

However, if you bumped into either one of them in Athens, Greece, let me know.

Rick writes: Randy Boyd has integrity, brains, personality and is money savvy. Tennessee is lucky to have him.

He’s making a big difference at a school that has had a sleepy, bumbling history.

My response: Boyd is also an animal lover. With him as UT president, we shouldn’t have to worry about Smokey suffering a heat stroke on the sideline during an afternoon game in early September.

Terry writes: I was a bit surprised not to see a Hullco Super Bowl commercial this year.  Any thoughts, John?

My response: The Hullco brand has become so well known – thanks, in part, to having a high-profile spokesperson like Phillip Fulmer – that it doesn’t need to spend a fortune on a Super Bowl commercial. It’s doing just fine with Fulmer billboards.

Donna writes: I'm hoping you can clear up what the new hires on the football staff are to be doing. Of concern are the positions of "deputy AD for championship resources"  and "deputy AD for competitive excellence."

My response: I’m just guessing on this.

First guess: The deputy AD for championship resources is spying on Alabama.

Second guess: The deputy AD for competitive excellence is protecting the cover of the deputy AD for championship resources.

Edward writes: I think I have discovered what is wrong with UT basketball. It all involves "Hair."

Vescovi needs to quit bleaching his. Fulky needs to let his grow out so it can flop in his eyes and he can wear a head band. Barnes needs to quit scratching his and take the reins off, so that the boys can play freely.

My response: The LSU and Alabama games got a little hairy. But I will reserve my judgment on hairdos until March.

Larry writes: I’m loving Blake’s text group. He was a great hire.

My response: Everyone knows by now that Blake Toppmeyer was a great hire. He’s smart, talented and has a cult-like following with that text group (kind of unsettling, actually).

However, the next time you want to express your admiration for him, email Blake – not me.

Mike writes: I thought I had gotten over the fact that Tennessee made an unimpressive selection for head football coach, but I am getting upset all over again.

I am upset because I think Central Florida has actually made a much better hire than Tennessee did. In my opinion, Gus Malzahn is a far superior selection to Josh Heupel.

It's a sad day in Big Orange Country.

My response: You should be used to sad days by now.

Jerry writes:  As you have pointed out in recent columns, spending by UTAD has been more crazy than usual. But, since I am trying to be more forgiving in this new year, I will refrain from further criticism. Besides, there is a biblical basis for UT's behavior. Their new motto should be:

"It is better to give, than to receive."

My response: Thanks, Jerry. Very noble of you to be less critical. I try that occasionally but often slip back into my old ways.

Byron writes: In your column where you stated that you now have an agent who is currently working on a two-year contract extension with a 20 percent salary increase. 

Please don’t let him forget your buyout … you’ve been around a while so you deserve a few million for your years of service … it seems to be a thing these days!

My response: It seems to be a Tennessee thing. Getting fired as a coach or AD at UT is akin to winning a lottery.

Thanks for mentioning the “buyout.” But shouldn’t my agent have thought of that?

I fired him immediately after I read your email.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or Follow him at: