No one should blame men's athletics director Mike Hamilton for wanting to give Neyland Stadium a face lift.
The 2003-04 season has been one with few bright spots for Hamilton's department, so any change is welcome. Here are a few of the those rarities.
Football Offense: Casey Clausen (senior quarterback)
The Ice Man left a strong legacy in Knoxville, moving into second in almost every Vol passing record behind Tennessee's first son, Peyton Manning. Clausen finished with 9,707 yards and 75 touchdowns. Clausen's first pass as a Vol his freshman and sophomore seasons was for a TD.
Clausen led the Vols to a 10-3 record in his final year.
What They're Saying: "Casey has been a winner since the day he arrived on campus. We'll miss his leadership and competitiveness." - Coach Phillip Fulmer.
Football Defense: Gibril Wilson (senior safety)
The hard-hitting member of UT's secondary held together the Vols' defense in 2003. The California native finished with 114 tackles, second on the team, and three interceptions.
What They're Saying: "(Gibril) brought so much to our defense. He's a smart football player and should do well at the next level." - defensive coordinator John Chavis.
Basketball: Scooter McFadgon (junior shooting guard)
The Memphis transfer accounted for most of the Vol basketball team's offense this season. McFadgon led the SEC in scoring most of the year and finished fourth with 17.6 points-per-game.
He also led the SEC in free-throw percentage (91.2) and ranked fifth in the nation.
What They're Saying: "He's a little quiet, but once he gets going it's hard to slow him down." - coach Buzz Peterson
Cross Country: Tim Kelly (senior)
Kelly found happiness when he transferred to UT three years ago. The senior was the only Vol to qualify for the NCAA Championships this year and was named the team MVP.
What They're Saying: "Tim brought a lot to team and made us much stronger in the steeplechase... He did a fine job of getting to (the NCAAs) and he should be commended for that." - Coach George Watts
Swimming and Diving: Phillip Jones (senior diver)
Jones has been one of the most successful Vol divers in the history of the program, having won the three-meter NCAA Championship in 2003 and placing eleventh in the World Championships.
What They're Saying: "I'm very proud of his performance thus far considering his lack of experience at the world level. It was quite obvious that the judges did not know him but Phil scrapped and dove hard for every point and showed enormous heart and composure." - coach Dave Parrington.
Baseball: Derek Tharpe (senior pitcher)
Tharpe has led the resurgence that has the Diamond Vols ranked in the top-10 and off to the best start in school history. The senior has a team best 2.07 ERA and a 6-0 record for Tennessee this season.
He was named the best senior pitcher in the nation by Baseball America's mid-season report.
What They're Saying: "We need Derek to be strong. He set the tone for most of our series and so far he's doing a fine job with that." - coach Rod Delmonico
Tennis: Simon Rea (senior)
Rea is 13-8 this season for the Vols, but his foreign exploits have been amazing. The senior was selected as part of the Davis Cup team for New Zealand.
In doubles play, Rea also finished with a 2-2 record in the regular season and scored a strong victory in the SEC Tournament against Mississippi State.
What They're Saying: "Mississippi State played well against us. The highlights for us were obviously a couple of great matches by our seniors, with Simon Rea beating one of the top players in the country (No. 35-ranked Romain Ambert)." - coach Michael Fancutt
Golf: David Skinns (junior)
Skinns has put together several productive years for the UT golf team. This season he finished second at the Suntrust Gator Invitational, 12th in the Courtyard by Marriott Tournament and 31st in the SEC Championships.
What They're Saying: "But I think the smartest thing I've ever heard anyone in collegiate golf say is when David said he won't turn professional until he's ready to win professional golf tournaments. I think he'll stick around here at Tennessee and perhaps win an NCAA or two." - coach Jim Kelson
Track and Field: Sean Lambert (senior sprinter)
The Vols track squad co-captain has done nothing but strengthen his legacy in the 2004 Indoor and Outdoor seasons.
Lambert runs the 100-meter and 200m dash and is a leg for the Vol relay team. He recently posted a Regional qualifying time at the Penn Relays in the 100m, winning the event.
What They're Saying: "He is an unusual guy, Sean just leads by example. He is a great student. He just does his job, he is really competitive, he prepares himself. When athletes see that, it is very constructive for them." - sprinting coach Vince Anderson.
Newcomer of the Year: Mike Hamilton (athletics director)
Hamilton had big shoes to fill after Doug Dickey left in the late spring of 2003. So far the inside hire hasn't skipped a beat, already moving along plans to make changes to Neyland Stadium.
He did raise football ticket prices, but has shaken enough hands to warm over the UT community.
Coach of the Year: 1st place: Rod Delmonico, baseball, 2nd place: Michael Fancutt, tennis, 3rd place: Phillip Fulmer, football
Delmonico deserves the honor for taking a team no one expected to be in the running for a division crown and took them to the best start in school history.
Fancutt did well against top-10 competition, including a victory over No. 6 Duke. Fulmer gets a nod just because of the win over Miami, nothing else.
Men's basketball coach Buzz Peterson did get some sympathy votes for having to coach that team.
Team of the Year: 1st place: Baseball (31-11, second in the Eastern Division), 2nd place: Football (10-3, tied for first in Eastern Division)
Published: Tue Apr 27, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:07 p.m.