Tennessee sports is in a rebranding phase.
Don't panic. There are some things that will never change.
The "Power 'T,'" the Orange and the White, "Rocky Top," Smokey and checkerboard end zones will forever remain a part of UT's brand, but as the university seeks excellence in every department, sports will be receiving a little tweaking.
Let's all let out a sigh of relief.
I think we can all agree that the athletics department is "a project that could use a little tweaking." Specifically on the men's side of the coin.
While the Lady Vols struggle to find enough media attention, the athletics department has more challenging problems to address. Several of the men's teams are facing branding issues that can't be fixed with a press release and some team love.
From just flat losing, to SEC, NCAA or even legal violations, something must be done to address and adjust the image UT sports has created over the last few years.
We've witnessed some of this rebranding in the form of coaches. Baseball, men's basketball (women's basketball has no branding issues), football, and swimming and diving are some of the sports that have recently undergone coaching changes.
The hope with coaches like basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin, football head coach Butch Jones and baseball head coach Dave Serrano is that they have the leadership capabilities so desperately lacking in these sports. There's so much that can be said.
There may not have been any Manti Te'o incidents or Lance Armstrong debacles, but it's safe to say that UT has had their fair share of turmoil in the public relations department.
I know a few incidents are passing through your mind (a certain quarterback and his beer bottle tossing ring a bell?), but there's probably much much more going on under the surface than you're even aware of. There are times when the UTPD crime log holds more than meets the eye or the paper.
While our male athletes are far from superheroes, they are painted as objects of affection. They are put on pedestals that few deserve and even fewer know how to handle with responsibility.
The athletes who do respond well to the limelight, I respect so much, but these are few and far between.
Maybe these "new" coaches are the answer. They've come in with new goals and aspirations and new leadership techniques. They have a passion to see their programs improve, not just athletically in terms of winning and losing, but in team chemistry, relationships and character.
Let's hope their rebranding goals, or just brand-amping goals, lead to a brighter athletic future.
— Lauren Kittrell is a senior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at lkittre1utk.edu and followed on Twitter at @LKittre1.