All that talk Butch Jones has done about repairing the football program with lettermen hasn't just been lip service.
The new University of Tennessee head football coach has organized multiple meetings with former players. He's opened the athletic complex to them. He's offered many of the elite football players who are related to them. And he's even watching the BCS National Championship Game with some of them tonight in the Midstate.
But Jones went a step further on Monday when he pegged an alumnus to be on his staff -- former Tennessee great Terry Fair is coming on board as a defensive quality control coach.
Fair was a four-year starter at defensive back for Tennessee from 1994-97, making the freshman All-SEC team and two All-SEC teams in his career before playing for the Detroit Lions four seasons after being taken in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He also played with Carolina and St. Louis.
The legendary UT defensive back coached at Phoenix College, a junior college in Arizona, for three seasons and has been doing radio in Phoenix and Knoxville since.
Not only could this move help with some current recruiting targets such as Jalen Ramsey and Vonn Bell, it also should really go a long way in mending fences with some of the former players. Fair is very close to a lot of the UT legends from the glory days of the 1990s, and Leonard Little took to Twitter on Sunday night trumpeting Jones' move prior to it becoming official.
Bell is thought to be a big Alabama lean but is admittedly a life-long UT fan. Ramsey is close with former UT defensive back Buck Fitzgerald, so the connection with another Tennessee defensive back in that football fraternity can't hurt. Todd Kelly Jr. knows Fair as well, and TKJr. will be one of the state's -- if not nation's -- top prospects next year.
A move like this can do nothing but foster goodwill and mend relationships from the past as well as cultivate future relationships. In short, it's a phenomenal PR move by Jones -- and there's also that little sidenote that Fair was an elite player who knows his craft probably as well as anyone.