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Posted: Wednesday, December 6th, 2017, 10:27 AM • Permalink
Welcome to the new beginning. You've made it this far. Don't lose heart. The finish line is in sight. And yes, Tennessee can be great again. I'll talk more about this in my final thought today, but I'm pretty sunny on this cold Wednesday East Tennessee day.

Here's what I've learned about the three apparent finalists.

Kevin Steele: An absolute stud of a recruiter. Has tremendous energy beyond his age. Projects a youthful vitality. A former Vol. Steele showed his readiness for the job when he reached out to Tee Martin last week in kingmaker style to offer Tee more than a seat at the table. If you're Tennessee, how do you sell a 9-36 record at Baylor? That seems like a tough sell.

Mel Tucker: Tremendous recruiter. Thought to really connect with his players. Regarded as a great teacher of the game. Tucker's star is shining brightly after the season Georgia has had. I was told Tucker was really impressive in both interviews with Fulmer. Read below for more.

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Jeremy Pruitt: Regarded as an absolute alpha dog assistant coach on Nick Saban's coaching staff. When he was at Georgia he vociferously called for the upgrading of facilities from his perch as an assistant. Pruitt is due $1.4 million as the highest paid assistant coach in the country. This guy would be a really intriguing hire here. Phillip Fulmer had several calls yesterday in support of hiring Pruitt from various members of the Tennessee booster base. In fact he got so much pressure that he's giving Pruitt a really long look here.

Would Pruitt bring Auburn's OC Chip Lindsey with him to Tennessee as has been rumored? Lindsey has been linked to the South Alabama Head Coaching job.

If you're going by booster involvement, both Pruitt and Steele have the most smoke of the three. I'd say Fulmer is probably surprised by the amount of pressure he's received on Pruitt. Great job by that guy working people behind the scenes.

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Developments Of Tuesday: Phillip Fulmer had a busy day as he interviewed several guys and kicked the tires on a few others.

Fulmer had a second interview with Mel Tucker in the early morning. I was told by a source that Fulmer is really impressed with Tucker.

Tennessee also interviewed Kevin Steele once again on Tuesday. Steele is picking up a bunch of steam in the VFL community who see him as a potential conduit in getting Tee Martin home plus other VFL's. Will this happen?

Fulmer also had a conversation with Tee Martin where they discussed among other things Fulmer's appreciation for the coaching career Tee has had plus the huge plans Fulmer has for Tee at Tennessee on whichever coaching staff is assembled here. Things get complicated when you try to nail down a few issues with Martin.

Has Tee Martin been offered a 'coach in waiting' package at UT? I don't think so. At least not yesterday. Now, they may try to groom him for that job and perhaps this was conveyed to Tee verbally yesterday but I wouldn't look for 'coach in waiting' language to appear in Martin's Tennessee's contract if the sides can agree on something.

The truth about Tee Martin is that no one is offering him a head coaching job right now. Then again, NO ONE is offering any of the guys that look today like Tennessee's finalists a head coaching job outside of Tennessee. Needless to say, all things Tee Martin and Tennessee remain slightly complicated I've been told by a few sources close to this.

My stance on Tee Martin has always been that John Currie-Hamilton should have interviewed him and rather early in the process. Respect doesn't cost any extra. Tennessee could've earned a tremendous amount of capital from the VFL community if they would've afforded Tee respect weeks ago. Credit Phillip Fulmer with at least taking a step in the right direction yesterday by clearly demonstrating an appreciation for Tee's professional accomplishments yesterday.

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Night fell in Mid-Town Manhattan with Phillip Fulmer apparently resolved and determined to interview Jeremy Pruitt once more.

Also, there could be one other mystery candidate in this thing. Any ideas/theories from readers would be greatly appreciated.

I was told by a source close to Fulmer that he's really impressed with the methodical approach Fulmer is taking to this hire.

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With this in mind, I'm guessing we hear something in the next 36 hours with the new coach to be introduced Thursday afternoon or Friday at the latest.

Tony Who's Your Pick? Hate to be lame here, and I am being lame here, but I don't have a choice. None of these guys really ring the bell for me. At the same time, I don't HATE any of these three potential hires. The guys I'm really against aren't really in it. Dave Doeren and Greg SchiaNO aren't coming. This is a win as far as I'm concerned. And yes, this is about perspective.

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Ambien Week: After last week's drama it feels like I'm living in an Ambien induced state of bliss awaiting the hire. There's just so little drama left. Think about it, we almost LOST Tennessee's program last week. And no, that isn't an understatement.

Give Fulmer Credit: At least he's not flying around on a stooopid jet in the middle of the night getting turned down by everybody in creation. At least he's gotten the optics right even if the results aren't Earth shattering.

At Tennessee We Always Have Sidebars: Will the new hire be better than Mike Leach of Washington State would've been? We'll never know how well Leach could've done at Tennessee because truly guys like Leach don't get jobs like Tennessee. I wasn't in favor of Leach here but who's to say that he wouldn't of been better than the guy that eventually gets the Tennessee job.

Congratulations Peyton Manning: A well deserved member of the College Football Hall of Fame. He'll be on his way to Canton soon. Can you say enough about Peyton Manning?

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Final Thought:

nessee had an all time circus? Florida State landed Willie Taggart just like that. Jimbo Fisher went easily to A&M. Chip Kelly went right to UCLA. Florida landed Dan Mullen almost immediately after their season ending Florida State game. Scott Frost went back home to Nebraska. Arkansas swung and missed on Malzahn but has SMU's Morris seemingly on the hook almost immediately. And the drama at Tennessee has been nothing short of disgraceful.

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I feel badly for whoever the hire is because, truthfully, how do you make this stand up? How do you live up the consternation this fanbase was put through to get this deal done? Short of winning multiple SEC Titles in the next 10 years it's going to be very difficult on this next coach to be really worth it. Though they may try, no one outside of the Volunteer family can sell our resolve and passion short. We can't even be chased away from this place by a hiring process that deserves about 40,000 people at the first home game in 2018. I feel terribly for everybody involved but understand that we're ready to put this behind us and get back to the business of making Tennessee football great again. Whoever the next coach is, he is going to need a great deal of patience and grace.

Go Vols


A New Direction At Here at we’re creating a series of programming with little to mostly zero commercial sponsorship. In other words, you will be digesting the following programs in coming days with almost no interruption. This is unprecedented in the history of my business. Nobody has ever done this. Here are the offerings coming your way.

Our Family Of Offerings:

‘X-Cast: A Recruiting Podcast’: Featuring Tony Basilio & ‘X’ where we discuss the latest moves, behind the scenes machinations and all the intrigue from the world of recruiting. This will hopefully be offered twice monthly with lengths varying. If this takes off perhaps we can even do some live offerings of this show. THIS IS BEING OFFERED COMMERCIAL FREE!!!

Posted: Thu, Dec 14th, 2:12 PM
by Beano
The Solution
Posted: Mon, Dec 11th, 9:08 PM
by Alison
The Revolution That Saved Tennessee Football
Posted: Thu, Dec 7th, 7:58 PM
by Josh
Fifth Quarter Fan Reaction: Back for season 4. Sponsored by Marcos Garza. This year with NO OTHER SPONSORS. This will be pure content for you. I’m taking a chance here but I know you will reward me for not bombarding you with messages Vol Network style. This program will run for at least 3 hours following Tennessee Football Games. We will have new visual presentation of this feature as well that we’re investing in. Thanks to Jayson Swain for helping me with the technical side of our visual presentation.

Southeastern Sunday Night: 7p to 9p on Sunday Nights airing on Periscope/Facebook Live and other platforms including your Tony Basilio Show App. This will be a regional program that aims to keep it real. We will tell the truth on us, them and all with you. This could be a lot of fun if you help me spread the word across the region. This hopefully will turn into a free for all that is free for all. ZERO SPONSORS. COMMERCIAL FREE OFFERING.

Vol-Scars: A podcast featuring Vol Historian Tom Mattingly and Eric S where we go back in time and commemorate the painful losses in UT football history that left a mark. These shows are extremely time intensive to put together. I’ve worked all summer on these offerings and am really proud of what we’ve compiled thus far. I think you’ll really enjoy this. COMMERCIAL FREE.

Gate Twenty Won: A podcast Featuring Vol Historian Tom Mattingly where we celebrate the greatest wins in UT history in time capsule form. These are a breath of fresh air and the type of programming I’m aiming to bring to you . COMMERCIAL FREE

Chill Cast: Tell Me A Story: A podcast where I grab folks from the sports world and our community and allow them to share their stories with us. This will be done in the spirit of the recent re-launch programs that I did. We’ll aim to go deeper here. Stay tuned. COMMERCIAL FREE.

Tennessee Basketball Overtime: Back for year 5! Immediately following Tennessee Basketball Games. A Tennessee Basketball Call-In show featuring ONLY ONE SPONSOR…GARZA LAW FIRM. Therefore we keep the conversation going without bombarding you Vol Network style. What a concept!!!!

Garza On The Law: A Podcast dealing with the legal issues that invade the sports world featuring the great Marcos Garza. We will go deeper here. I promise that you will find this interesting. Presented by Garza Law Firm.

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FAQ's Asked Of Tony Per Our Relaunch Announcement:

Q: Tony, you didn't say anything about your daily show yesterday. Will you continue to do this?

A: Absolutely. I'm looking forward to year #24 with you.

Q: Tony, you used the word 'subscribe'. What Am I subscribing too?

A: Great question. 'Subscribe' is a misnomer. What you actually are doing if you choose to help us monthly (and we need this for budgeting reasons) is actually acting as a patron. The goal is to keep the content (ALL CONTENT, from postgame offerings to various podcasts) free for all.

Posted: Thu, Dec 14th, 2:12 PM
by Beano
The Solution
Posted: Mon, Dec 11th, 9:08 PM
by Alison
The Revolution That Saved Tennessee Football
Posted: Thu, Dec 7th, 7:58 PM
by Josh
Q: So, if I'm not subscribing and I'm already reading this, why give?

A: Because you value the content and our contribution to the market and you want to help us keep this stuff free for everybody.

Q: Are you going to beat us up for money all the time here?

A: Absolutely not. I will bring this up a few times heading into the football season as we attempt to meet our financial goals and create new programming. I'll also mention it in the post-game format as well as the regional programming. I will not however wear you out with this. Either you feel the need to help us or you don't. This is why I'm taking today to field some question I received after day one.

Q: What happens if this doesn't generate the revenue you're seeking?

A: We will scale back our online offerings accordingly. The blog itself could even disappear. I really don't want this to happen but will be forced to spend my time in the most profitable way necessary. That's why we're having the conversation. All my cards are on the table here.

Q: Where can I find these new podcasts, like that X-Cast?

A: Click on "Podcast" wherever you see it on the site, and it will take you to our Podcast page.

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