Precisely one week ago, the seemingly stable men’s basketball program at the University of Tennessee suddenly erupted in chaos when head coach Cuonzo Martin decided to bolt for California. In a week’s time, and after multiple phone calls and broken rumors, the Vols have a new coach.
Donnie Tyndall accepted the job last night. He arrived in Knoxville this morning, fresh off a flight from Southern Mississippi. The former Southern Miss head coach possesses a career record of 200-106 and has led the Golden Eagles to 27 and 29 wins, respectively in the last two seasons.
Tyndall was introduced by athletic director Dave Hart in a press conference today at Pratt Pavilion. He gave a brief introduction and answered some questions from the media, all the while maintaining that same shiny grin he had after landing this morning.
Tyndall began by showing his appreciation of Hart likening him to football coach Butch Jones and jokingly stated that “all the Grand Rapids guys think those Saugatuck guys are soft.”
Tyndall and Jones are both from Michigan.
Tyndall added that Tennessee was a “dream job,” and thanked several people who have helped him get to this point.
Tyndall showed a humorous side saying, “Some of you have heard that I was the second choice for this job (after requesting his fiancée to stand up). Look at my fiancée and then look at me. It proves I’m a good recruiter, huh?”
On former Vol coach Martin, Tyndall showed an understanding for his situation, “Coach Martin did a fantastic job and made a move that was best for him and his family,” said Tyndall, and after pausing briefly added: “but I’m certainly glad he made that decision.”
Tyndall spoke about how involved his daughters are in his job, and likened them to the young girl from “Remember the Titans.” He said they are often on the end of the bench, cheering him on. He added that his youngest daughter sent him an all-caps text recently alerting him of the vacant Tennessee job. Tyndall showed the text to Hart when they were discussing the open position.
Concerning his preferred style of play, Tyndall said,“Our defensive philosophy is much like Louisville. We have an aggressive, attacking style of play. Offensively, we will push and run a lot of ball screens. We will run a high-low motion sort of like Kansas.”
These elite basketball schools were not the only ones he mentioned. When asked about coaching basketball at a “football school,” Tyndall said, “What Billy Donovan has done at a “football school” (Florida) is exactly what we’re going to try to do here.” He expressed his goal of reaching the Final Four and winning a national championship.
Edited by Zach Dennis