Recycled Rebels?

University of Tennessee fans should keep a close eye on Oxford, Mississippi. It seems on the verge of becoming a training ground for UT coaches.

Consider:

David Cutcliffe was voted Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the 2003 Ole Miss football team to a 10-3 record, the program's best mark in 32 years. He also led the '03 Rebels to a share of the SEC West title with eventual national champ LSU.

After a losing season in 2004, however, Cutcliffe was fired by school brass. He recently was hired to fill the vacancy on Tennessee's staff created by the departure of Randy Sanders.

Rod Barnes was voted Naismith National Coach of the Year after guiding the 2001 Ole Miss basketball team to a 27-8 record, the program's best mark ever. He also guided the '01 Rebels to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

After four losing seasons, however, Barnes was fired by school brass. Now he is being considered to fill the vacancy on Tennessee's staff created by the departure of Scott Edgar.

There could be a trend developing here. A guy enjoys remarkable success as a head coach at Ole Miss, gets fired after hitting a rough patch, then winds up resurfacing as an aide at Tennessee.

Barnes has not yet been hired, of course, but he visited Knoxville on Wednesday to officially interview for the UT opening. .If he gets the job, he'll be the second recycled Rebel head man to join the Vol coaching family in the past six months.

For what it's worth, Ole Miss' head baseball coach is Mike Bianco. If this trend continues, he could wind up joining Rod Delmonico's staff by the start of the 2007 season.


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