TENNESSEE TIME MACHINE
Donnie Tyndall became the 19th head coach in the history of Tennessee's basketball program when the Vols hired him late Monday night. Here's a look back at Tennessee's coaching history.
Tenure: 1911 (1 season)
Postseason resume: None
Tenure: 1912-16 (6 seasons)
Postseason resume: None, but Clevenger, who coached the Vols in both basketball and football, has the best win percentage (.781) in program history.
John R. Bender
Tenure: 1917, 1920-21 (3 seasons)
Postseason resume: None
Tenure: 1918-19 (2 seasons)
Postseason resume: None, and yes, Tennessee tied Maryville 20-20 in 1918, one of the program's two all-time draws.
Tenure: 1922-26 (5 seasons)
Postseason resume: None. The Vols tied the Knoxville YMCA -- no, seriously -- in 1922.
Tenure: 1927-35 (9 seasons)
Postseason resume: Britton was the coach when Tennessee moved from the Southern Conference to the Southeastern Conference in 1933.
Tenure: 1936-38 (3 seasons)
Postseason resume: The first full-time hoops coach in school history, Guillon led Tennessee to a win against Alabama to win the third-ever SEC tournament in 1936.
Tenure: 1939-47 (8 seasons, no team in 1944 due to World War II)
Postseason resume: Tennessee won the SEC title in 1942, shared the crown in 1945 and beat Kentucky to win the conference tournament in 1941 and 1943.
Tenure: 1948-59 (12 seasons)
Postseason resume: The college teammate of UCLA coaching legend John Wooden led Tennessee to its first 20-win season in 1948, but the Vols never finished higher than third in the SEC under Lowery.
Tenure: 1960-62 (3 seasons)
Postseason resume: An assistant under Lowery, Sines had his first season end in a win at Kentucky, but the Vols went 6-22 in the SEC his final two seasons.
Tenure: 1963-77 (15 seasons)
Postseason resume: The Vols won or shared SEC titles in 1967, 1972 and 1977 and went to three NCAA tournaments and two NITs under Mears, a showman who brought a flair to Tennessee, revitalized the program and recruited legendary players Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld. During Mears' absence for the 1977-78 season, assistant Cliff Wetting was the acting head coach as the Vols went 11-16.
Tenure: 1979-89 (11 seasons)
Postseason resume: DeVoe's first season ended in Tennessee's last SEC tournament title, and the Vols made their first trip to the NCAA tournament's round of 16 in 1981. Led by star Dale Ellis, Tennessee went to six NCAA tournaments, including five in DeVoe's first five seasons, and three NITs and shared the 1982 SEC title under the program's second-winningest coach.
Tenure: 1990-94 (5 seasons)
Postseason resume: Tennessee played in two NITs under Houston despite having his son, Allan, who set the program's career scoring mark during his father's tenure.
Tenure: 1995-97 (3 seasons)
Postseason resume: In O'Neill's second season, Tennessee went to the NIT. In his other two seasons, the Vols went 4-12 in the SEC.
Tenure: 1998-2001 (4 seasons)
Postseason resume: Tennessee made the NCAA tournament in all four of Green's seasons, and the Vols reached the Sweet 16 in 2000. Green led the Vols to SEC East Division crowns in 1999 and 2000. Tennessee shared the regular-season title with Florida and LSU.
Tenure: 2002-05 (4 seasons)
Postseason resume: Tennessee twice went one-and-done in the NIT and never finished better than fourth in the SEC East under Peterson.
Tenure: 2006-11 (6 seasons)
Postseason resume: Pearl took Tennessee basketball to a different level by leading the Vols to six straight NCAA tournaments, Sweet 16 appearances in 2007 and 2008 and the program's only Elite Eight trip in 2010. His successful run crashed and burned when he was fired amid NCAA trouble after lying to investigators about minor recruiting violations.
Tenure: 2012-14 (3 seasons)
Postseason resume: After two NIT appearances, Martin guided Tennessee through a disappointing regular season into the NCAA tournament, and the Vols made a run to the Sweet 16.
KNOXVILLE — Donnie Tyndall was in Texas earlier this month with his fiancee and two young daughters at the annual college basketball coaching convention that accompanies the Final Four when he got a phone call.
Tulsa was on the line, and the Golden Hurricane were interested in speaking with the Southern Mississippi coach about replacing Danny Manning, who took the Wake Forest job.
When asked by his inquisitive daughters Taylor, 14, and Gracie, 11, about how the meeting went, Tyndall said it didn't feel like the place for him and thought something down the road would be a better fit. At the time, there were rumblings Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin might be looking to leave the Volunteers.
A little more than a week later, when Martin bolted to take the California job, Gracie sent her father a text message.
"THE TENNESSEE JOB IS OPEN. HINT HINT."
There Tyndall was Tuesday, being introduced inside Pratt Pavilion, the Vols' shiny practice facility, as Tennessee's new hoops coach the day after agreeing to take the job after two seasons at Southern Miss and six at Morehead State.
"You never maybe hope that a guy leaves or monitor those situations," Tyndall said. "I had enough on my plate at Southern Miss. Certainly this is a job that was on my radar."
After a public overture aimed at Michael White over the weekend was rebuffed Monday by the Louisiana Tech coach, Tennessee moved quickly on Tyndall. Athletic director Dave Hart had him on his initial list of possible replacements for Martin, who left the Vols after a Sweet 16 run in his third season in Knoxville.
Hart, along with lieutenants John Gilbert and Mike Ward, met with Tyndall for five hours late into Monday night in New Orleans.
"The bottom-line question," Hart said, "is, 'Donnie, is this indeed a place that you'll want to coach the rest of your career?' We need stability. We're getting stability in many, many areas within our program. We need stability throughout our program.
"There was no question that his answer, which was very enthusiastic, is yes, clearly this is a destination job."
Pardon the third-year AD if he didn't feel a little bit of deja vu.
A little more than 15 months ago, Hart was introducing another Michigan man who may not have been his first choice as a head coach of one of his most important programs.
Indeed, Hart admitted he "saw a lot of similarities" between Tyndall, a coach who's won at two lower-level programs, and Butch Jones, who's inspired belief among Tennessee fans that he can get a once-proud football program out of the mire.
Aiming for a track record of winning, an energetic coach with a salesman side and a hard-working recruiter, Hart said he knew less than an hour into his meeting with Tyndall that he had his coach.
"I said to myself, 'Who fits the profile better than this guy? It looked like he wrote the profile,'" Hart said.
In some odd twist of coincidence, Tyndall grew up in Grand Rapids -- "about an hour," he called it, from Jones's hometown of Saugatuck.
Jones was successful at Central Michigan and Cincinnati before landing the Tennessee job after Louisville's Charlie Strong turned down the Vols, and Tyndall takes over the Vols after taking a Morehead State program that was 4-23 the year before his arrival to two NCAA tournaments and building off Larry Eustachy's success with the Golden Eagles.
"At the lower levels, as Dave said, you're a grinder," Tyndall said. "I'm not jumping on a private plane to go see a kid play at Morehead State. It was six hours one way, stay the night at a gas station for a three-hour nap and finish up so you can get back for the 6 a.m. morning workout. Those are the things we did religiously for six years.
"At Southern Miss, it was a little bit better, but the bottom line, the resources that you don't have at those places make you do without, and you have to be hungry, you have to be driven and I think it's prepared me, because I'll carry that same mentality, work ethic and attitude into this position as I had in my first two stops."
Tyndall said he employs an "aggressive, attacking style" of play predicated on pressing and a matchup zone. His teams like to push the tempo and feature a motion offense designed "to give [our guards] the freedom to create and make plays." Southern Miss averaged 72 points per game this season and twice finished in the top 30 nationally in steals under Tyndall.
He indicated his entire coaching staff at Southern Miss would join him at Tennessee, though roles and titles may change. Assistants Jareem Dowling, Adam Howard and Chris Shumate were all present inside Pratt on Tuesday. Tyndall added he "may visit with a couple other people" before finalizing a staff by the end of the week.
Tyndall sensed a "young, eager group" when he met with his new team Tuesday morning, and he planned one-on-one meetings with his new players after some other media obligations. He spoke with Tennessee's four signees and felt confident all of them would stick with the Vols through the transition.
While fan unrest played a part in Martin's decision to leave and the shadow of popular former coach Bruce Pearl still lingers in Knoxville, Tyndall gave a strong response to a question about reuniting Tennessee's divided fan base.
"It's got to start today," he said. "Look, I'm a big fan of Coach Pearl. I think he's fantastic. He's obviously a great coach and had great success. He's a dynamic personality. With all that being said, Coach Martin did an outstanding job, and he had his niche.
"But we've got to put that behind us, and it's got to start today. We all have to rally and get on the same bus, if you will. We all want our team and our young guys to do well, so let's start today. Let's pull this thing together, put all that stuff behind us and go to work.'
IN THE CONTRACT
Tennessee released its memorandum of understanding with new men's basketball coach Donnie Tyndall on Tuesday. Here are the key points:
• Six-year deal worth $1.6 million per year through the 2019-20 season.
• The buyout for both Tyndall and Tennessee is $3 million until March 15, 2017. The following year, the buyout drops to $1.75 million. For the final two years of the deal, the buyout is $1.5 million for both parties.
• Performance incentives: $50,000 for SEC regular-season title (solo or shared); $20,000 for SEC tournament title; $50,000 for NCAA tournament berth; $75,000 for a Sweet 16 appearance; $100,000 for an Elite Eight appearance; $150,000 for a Final Four appearance; $250,000 for winning the NCAA tournament; $50,000 for AP coach of the year; $25,000 for AP SEC coach of the year.
• Academic incentives: $25,000 for a single-year Academic Progress Rate score of 960 or greater; $50,000 for a single-year APR of 980 or better; $25,000 penalty for a single-year APR score lower than 930.
• Tennessee will pay the $500,000 Tyndall owes Southern Mississippi for terminating his contract before its expiration.
Contact Patrick Brown at email@example.com.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...