At the back end of a week when Cuonzo Martin chose to stay with the Vols over leaving for Marquette, we've already shared a number of words on fan behavior. I_S's points on campaigning for another coach, denying the resources to succeed, and never giving Cuonzo a chance are all symptoms of fans who jumped to a conclusion too quickly. The presence of Bruce Pearl certainly accelerated the leap, but I think now in hindsight with Martin on the verge of a contract extension after a Sweet 16 there are some things we can learn.
More than anything, there's this: you don't want to miss the chance to enjoy your team. Tennessee's schedule was strange this year with the only ranked opponents on the table an undefeated team and two Final Four participants. So there were no "big wins" in the moment, at least none that made you feel confident in this team's eventual Sweet 16 promise. But there were certainly games to enjoy, many of them blowouts over old SEC foes. But at times we can make up our minds so much as fans and prematurely decide this guy isn't the right guy, it can cause us to do something other than fully enjoy winning. And hey, after much of what we'll talk about in this post over the last decade - yes, the frustration and misery described in this post now stretch a full ten years - we want to be people who celebrate every chance we get.
Looking back at the conclusions we've jumped to as a fanbase, right and wrong, also shows us how basketball and football are different when evaluating your head coach. Consider the fates of the last three coaches on the hot seat in Knoxville, non-show-cause division:
- First real sign of trouble: 2005
- Majority of fanbase turned: 29-9 L vs #2 Alabama, October 25, 2008
- Administration last straw: 27-6 L at South Carolina, November 1, 2008
- First real sign of trouble: 10-7 L at Kentucky, November 26, 2011
- Majority of fanbase turned: 41-31 L at #19 Mississippi State, October 13, 2012
- Administration last straw: 51-48 4OT L vs Missouri, November 10, 2012
So there's at least one argument, as much as I hate to say it, where in extreme circumstances it could be better for your team to lose if it makes the difference between a bad coach staying or going, especially one where the majority of the fanbase has already turned.
- First sign of real trouble: 65-58 L vs NC State, December 18, 2013
- Majority of fanbase turned: 68-65 OT L at Texas A&M, February 22, 2014
- Administration last straw: Nope.