As the NCAA continues to investigate possible infractions at Southern Miss during Donnie Tyndall's time in Hattiesburg, many believe a possible first domino fell in Knoxville today. Vol assistant coach Adam Howard resigned on Monday; a quick press release from the university cited "personal reasons". Given the current climate many in the public aren't buying the rationale, and tweets like this fully support that notion:
Official word from #Vols: No comment on whether Adam Howard’s resignation is NCAA-related. The truth: It definitely is.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) November 24, 2014
But wait, there's more good news!
Tennessee won't provide details, but Adam Howard departure is significant. He was Tyndall's right hand. Drove him to initial interview w/ UT— Ben Frederickson (@Ben_Fred) November 24, 2014
AHoward's resignation is alarming. He was the Xs+Os guru on staff. Many in the biz believed he'd be a great HC someday. Huge hit for #Vols— Mark Pancratz (@MarkPancratz) November 24, 2014
So here's what you've got: a Tennessee team down a lead assistant heading to Orlando to play in a loaded field this week, a head coach who has appeared in all of two games on Tennessee's sideline who will now be under additional questioning and additional pressure, and a present and immediate future looking worse by the day. The Vols were already braced for their worst basketball season in a decade. This kind of immediate turnover could cause additional serious setback, and a program that has been to four Sweet Sixteens in the last eight years feels a long, long way from home.
As the NCAA investigates Southern Miss in regards to how non-scholarship players paid for tuition, etc, there's clearly uncertainty here, but now enough certainty for a high-level assistant to resign. It's been true many times in his tenure, but I would love to be a fly on Dave Hart's wall especially now. What is he thinking? What's the best long-term option for Tennessee? How long will we have to wait to see if Tyndall receives a notice, how much of this could have been discovered in the search process, how much do we know now that caused an assistant to go down?
It's a fragile time around here. The Vols need to beat Vanderbilt Saturday in a bad way.