Things don't seem to be going very well in the world of Tennessee athletics, wouldn't you say?
It seems that most of Knoxville wants Dooley run out of town for this reason or that, the football team has yet to record a meaningful SEC win and the women's basketball program is continuing to catch flack for the alleged treatment of Debby Jennings, Pat Summitt and other female athletic department employees.
Both the Dooley and Jennings situations don't seem to be coming to an end in the foreseeable future, so Volunteer fans need something to take their minds off the pain and turmoil of supporting the Big Orange right now.
The remedy? Cuonzo Martin.
Martin is in control, has a plan and is the clear-cut face of his program.
This is not to knock the new women's head coach Holly Warlick. She has the considerable task of replacing the most important and influential coach in women's basketball history, and Summitt still has an active role in the program.
Neither is it a knock to Dave Serrano or Ralph and Karen Weekly because they are running good programs as well. But honestly, how many of you went to more than five baseball or softball games last season? I'm going to go ahead and say the number isn't that high.
Martin took over a basketball program that was under investigation as his first season started and he took the team that was suppose to finish in the cellar of the SEC and coached them to second in the East, behind National Champion Kentucky.
Martin also has a plan — go out and recruit smart basketball players, not just athletes. And you know what? He's really good at it.
He brought in Jarnell Stokes last season, got a commitment from five-star recruit Robert Hubbs for 2013 and seems to have really impressed another five-star recruit, Austin Nichols, this past weekend.
Most importantly, Martin is the face of his program. To me, that is a mark of a great coach — it's not the only one, but it matters. It says he has control of his players and the direction of his program.
Look at Nick Saban. He has great high-profile players, but Nick Saban is Alabama. John Calipari is Kentucky, Mike Krzyzewski is Duke, Pat Summitt was the Lady Vols.
I asked Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon how it felt to be a fan favorite and one of the faces of the basketball team at Media Day a few weeks back. His response: "I'm not a face of the program. Coach Martin is."
That says it all.
It's the opposite for the football program. Tennessee has been making the same mistake for three years and players don't seem to buy into the system.
Tyler Bray is skipping press conferences and Da'Rick Rogers continually crossed the line to the point where Tennessee had no choice but to kick him off. Do you think they would give the same response to that question?
This isn't to roast Dooley, but rather to highlight Martin and what he's doing.
With Summitt starting to step out of the Knoxville limelight, it is Martin who is stepping up to take her place.
He is doing it in his own way, but has endeared himself to the Tennessee fan base.
The process began in March of 2011, and is picking up steam. So, if you are sad about the state of Tennessee athletics, are new to Rocky Top or just aren't a believer yet, take note.
— Austin Bornheim is a senior in Journalism and Electronic Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.