JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: April 20, 2014

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Steve Balboni.

  • Expect Tennessee AD Dave Hart to keep his coaching search to replace Cuonzo Martin on the down low. Hart has taken full responsibility for hiring the Vols new coach. His lips are sealed as he goes about his business.

    I predict Hart will hire an up-and-coming mid-major coach, just as former AD Mike Hamilton did in hiring Bruce Pearl (there’s that name again).

    Minnesota’s Richard Pitino would be at the top of my list, but he spent only one year at Florida International and just completed his first season with the Gophers, where they won the NIT over SMU.

     For that reason, I would think Pitino would turn down an offer to change jobs for a third straight season. He is a rising star, having been an assistant for two years under Florida’s Billy Donovan and a year under his father at Louisville.

    I think fans can cross Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin off their list.

    I believe the new coach will come from this list of coaches. Southern Miss and former Morehead State Coach Donnie Tyndall has an outgoing personality and has produced winners at both stops. A former MTSU assistant (2002-06) Tyndall is said to be interested and would be a solid choice.

    Colorado’s Tad Boyle. If you can win at Colorado, you can win anywhere. If offered the right package, Boyle would likely make the jump even though he says he is happy where he is.

    Chris Mack, Xavier. Sources say he is on Hart’s radar screen. No word on how interested Mack would be.

    Archie Miller, Dayton. A solid coach who would fit what Hart is looking for. Does he stay at Dayton another year or two and get a better offer than Tennessee?

    Not that it should be a criteria, I think Vols fans would like Tyndall the best. His Morehead State team was 25-10 in 2011, won its second OVC Tournament there and upset Louisville in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2013 at Southern Miss, he took the youngest team in the country to a 27-10 record and the NIT quarterfinals. His team last season was 29-7, tying the school record with 29 wins and again got to the NIT quarterfinals.

    Hart needs to move quickly as Martin’s timing to leave put Hart at a distinct disadvantage.

  • I wrote last Sunday that Tennessee State would likely hire Southern Illinois associate head coach Dana Ford as its head basketball coach.

    The Tennessean reported on its website yesterday that TSU had hired West Virginia associate head coach Larry Robinson. Other national outlets followed suit. The Tennessean later took it off their website and reported TSU would hire Ford.

    Soon after, everyone switched their stories, as Robinson apparently did not get an offer, or if he did, turned it down.

    TSU hasn’t had a winning program since the late Ed Martin resigned in the middle of the 1985 season.

    Teresa Phillips has been TSU’s Athletics Director since 2002.  She fired Frankie Allen, who won 45.3 percent of his games in nine seasons. She hired and fired the late Nolan Richardson III, who won 35.9 percent in less than three seasons, hired and fired Cy Alexander after winning 38.5 percent in six seasons. On the recommendation of former Vanderbilt and South Carolina Coach Eddie Fogler, Phillips hired John Cooper.  He left after three seasons (45.2 winning percentage) to take a better job. Phillips then hired and fired Travis Williams after he had two losing seasons.

    Only Cooper left on his own.

    There is no reason TSU cannot compete in OVC basketball. Yet it has underachieved under Phillips’ direction. Now it is Ford’s turn.

  • Born too soon. That would be former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen, the Pillsbury Throwboy who never met a pizza he couldn’t devour.

    He missed out on the NCAA’s recent food policy that allows college athletes unlimited meals and snacks.

    Lorenzen weighed in (pun intended) on the ravenous rule via Twitter.

    “I’ll tell you what – the NCAA really lucked out that I don’t have any eligibility left.’’

  • And police in Ludlow, Ky., are looking for a bank robber who hit a bank there.

    He should be easy to pick out of a police lineup where the suspects have to take their shirts off and show their backs to officers.

    The 26-year-old suspect is rocking a huge tattoo on his back that has “UK – I Bleed Blue.’’

    It’s unclear what year the bank robber graduated from UK.

    You can’t make these things up.

  • While former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel waits for his name to be called in the May 8 NFL draft, he has been taking in some baseball games.

    Manziel was shown at a recent Texas Rangers game with Kyndal Kyaire. She is a model from the San Diego area and a new gal-pal of Johnny’s.

  • Nashville PGA Tour golfer Brandt Snedeker has a lot of ground to make up if he is to have a solid RBC Heritage Tournament at Harbor Town in Hilton Head, S.C.

    Snedeker was right on the cut line at five-over after two rounds and had a 3-over par 74 in Saturday’s wind-swept round. Snedeker bogeyed the first hole, birdied the par-5 second, but finished with bogeys on 17 and the difficult No. 18.

    His 2014 struggles continue, as he hasn’t put four solid round together to this point in the PGA Tour schedule.

  • Vanderbilt product Sonny Gray has been the most consistent starting pitcher out of the Commodores Major League roster of pitchers.

    The 5-11, 200-pound right hander from Smyrna benefitted from a seven-run first inning Friday night to help beat the Houston Astros, 11-3.

    For Gray, he moved his record to 3-0 with an ERA of 1.80. He has four starts, as he was the opening day pitcher for the A’s. Against the Astros, Gray went six innings, gave up all three earned runs on nine hits, four strikeouts and only two walks. He threw 106 pitches, 65 of them for strikes.

  • Another former Vanderbilt pitcher, Atlanta Braves’ Mike Minor, was on the mound Saturday night for the Gwinnett Braves. It was a rehab start for Minor, who has been battling left shoulder tendinitis.

    The left-hander was making his fourth rehab appearance, his second with Gwinnett.

    Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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