Shortly before it was announced Major Wingate had been suspended from the basketball team, I ran into him on the UT campus. Unaware of the pending disciplinary action, I asked the 6-foot-10 senior center a few questions about Vol hoops.
First, I asked how surprised he was that Tennessee
achieved a 22-8 record, an SEC East title and a No. 2 seeding for the NCAA Tournament in 2005-06. His answer shocked me; he indicated that he wasn't surprised at all.
"I said from Day 1 that we'd be one of the teams to be reckoned with in the nation," he said. "I was right. I told Coach Pearl when we had our first meeting. It was funny that it came true."
That led naturally to my next question: What was it about the new coach that inspired so much optimism among UT's players?
"We just had faith in the system," Wingate said. "He wanted to run and we wanted to run, so that's what we did."