>We are Tennessee

>This hit my inbox today. Thought it was worth sharing if you hadn’t already read it. ‘Tis almost the season….

August 1, 2010

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon on campus. There’s very little traffic on Volunteer Boulevard and here in the Athletic Complex things are eerily still. That all changes this week as August is here, a new sports season begins and the start of a new semester is a few short weeks away.

I have just returned from vacation and spent a great deal of my time reflecting on the past year, both personally and professionally, and preparing for the year ahead. There were a number of highlights last year as we finished 16th in the Director’s Cup, second among SEC teams. The brilliant run by men’s basketball to the Elite Eight and the performance of our tennis programs with the men playing for the National Championship and women advancing to the Elite Eight along with the Lady Vols finishing second nationally in indoor track are just a few of the stand-out moments. Our men’s track program was, and is in a time of transition but the future is extremely bright with J.J. Clark at the helm. We have made significant enhancements at Lindsey Nelson Stadium and while baseball has struggled in recent years, we continue to look forward – and work hard towards – building a consistent winner under the leadership of Coach Todd Raleigh.

On my way to campus today, I intentionally drove to Neyland Stadium, parked and took it all in. The changes there are astounding and we think you’ll be extremely pleased. While visualizing what the first game day is going to look like, I took time to reflect on where we are in football. Clearly, the last three years we have had our fair share of turmoil and divisiveness. Now is the time for unity in purpose and support. Having observed Coach Derek Dooley and his staff for seven months, he is rebuilding our football program in the tradition that we have known and appreciated for so many years. We will be well-coached and will operate in a first-class manner.

As we work towards that end, I would ask for your unwavering support of these young men who have been through so much. Some strong leaders have emerged out of the trials of the last 24 months, and I expect their character will be revealed in the season ahead. We have four home games in September. Each of these will be instrumental in determining the direction of the 2010 season. I believe in our team, our staff and our fans, and I look forward to where that will take us. We need you there in Neyland Stadium wearing orange and white and making a difference for these young men with your loud, consistent and vocal support.

This is a special place. We count it a blessing to work for and represent you each day. Thanks for being the greatest fans in America.

Sincerely yours,
Mike Hamilton

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