May 12, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The next stop on the Coca-Cola Big Orange Caravan was Memphis. On Monday night, Butch Jones, Donnie Tyndall and Holly Warlick met with fans and talked UT sports before a sell-out crowd at the Great Hall in Germantown.
Both Jones and Tyndall made it clear that Memphis is very important to them when it comes to the fan base and recruiting.
JONES: This is Memphis, TENNESSEE.-- Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) May 13, 2014
TYNDALL: The City of Memphis has been recruited very hard for a number of years. We have built relationships in Memphis & hope to build on— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) May 12, 2014
TYNDALL EYEING MEMPHIS SERIES
Tyndall spoke openly about the want for a series against the Memphis Tigers, one which was dormant this past season. Tyndall said he and Memphis coach Josh Pastner are friends and thinks the game would continue spark interest in the state.
"Josh and I are friends, and I think at some point in time we'll talk about that" Tyndall told the media in Memphis. "I think it's good for the state, and I think it's good for Tennessee in regard to just branding the state in basketball and having that natural rivalry that's so important to high-school and junior-college and middle-school coaches across the state."
TYNDALL: I would love to continue the series w/Memphis. I am friends with Josh. Its great for the state of Tennessee. Its important to play.-- Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) May 12, 2014
He continued on the importance of playing the series.
"I know, from my standpoint, I'd like to play the game. I think it's good for our university, and it'd be good for Memphis. And I think probably Josh has just got to decide if he thinks it's in the best interest of his program moving forward. I don't see why it can't happen, but if it doesn't, we'll respect Josh's decision and go from there."
GRADUATION #1 FOR JONES
Butch Jones spoke for the first time publicly since UT held its graduation ceremonies last last week. He preached the importance of graduation and pointed to the Vols 2014 NFL Draft first-round selection Ja'Wuan James as the model for his team.
"Yes, we are excited for Ja'Wuan James," Jones told the sell-out crowd. "Yes, he's a first round pick, but most importantly, he's a Tennessee graduate."
This quote sums of Jones' mission first and foremost in leading the Vols:
JONES: Our #1 goal in our program is to graduate. Not only are we here to win championships, but we are here to mold mature individuals.-- Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) May 13, 2014
HUBBS RETURN EXCITES TYNDALL
Tyndall spoke about rising sophomore Robert Hubbs' decision to return to Tennessee after some debate whether he would leave the program.
"Robert is a cornerstone of what we're trying to build at Tennessee," said Tyndall. "He's a fantastic young man. His parents are phenomenal people. I think, at the core of who Robert is, he's a Tennessee guy, and he's very, very prideful to wear a UT uniform, and he expressed that in our meeting.
TYNDALL: Hubbs is a cornerstone of what we are trying to build at Tennessee. He's very prideful in wearing the Tennessee uniform.-- Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) May 12, 2014
"I think his parents understand myself and our staff a little bit better. And that's always tough, because he doesn't really know me. He doesn't really know if he can trust me. So it's just about getting to know each other, and I think that we went away from the meeting fully trusting each other as we move forward."
ALL PEYTON, ALL THE TIME
Jones always preaches the importance of former players being around the program, whether it be at practice, games, or just stopping by.
"It's all about our letterwinners and former players," Jones said. "They built Tennessee football with their sweat-equity."
Jones gave the crowd at the Great Hall some insight into some of his conversations, with one of the legends of the program:
JONES: I spoke with Peyton for an hour last week. We are Tennessee football.-- Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) May 13, 2014