Don DeVoe got the boot after the 1988-89 season. Wade Houston lasted five seasons (1990-94), then Kevin O'Neill bolted after three (1995-97). Jerry Green was shown the door after four years (1998-2001), bringing Buzz on board in 2002.
I suspect the LAST thing Hamilton wants is to make another coaching change and start another rebuilding process. That's why I think he will retain Peterson if Tennessee simply posts a winning record this year. I believe the A.D. will base his decision on the following:
1. The need for stability. Consider how much continuity has helped the UT football program in recent years.
2. Buzz inherited a mess. The hoops program already was on a downward spiral (6-10 in its last 16 games of 2001) and was beset with disciplinary problems. (Buzz had to dismiss Harris Walker and Terrence Woods, then Marcus Haislip missed two months of action with academic issues.)
To make this year's NCAA Tournament, Buzz probably needs a 17-12 record. That appears unlikely to happen. But if you lower the standard to 15-14, the Vols (8-5) have a shot. They could achieve that by winning seven of their eight SEC home games ... even if they lose all eight of their remaining road games (seven SEC foes, plus Louisville).
I know I'm in the minority here, but I really believe a winning record keeps Buzz on the UT payroll.