On the day that then-Tennessee athletic director John Currie was ordered to return to Knoxville during his search for a football coach, one UT coach was lamenting the passionate and vocal responses of students on Rocky Top.
Women’s tennis coach Alison Ojeda, a former UT All-American player, texted Currie on November 30 just before 2 p.m. ET and offered Currie, seemingly unsolicited, the following support.
“Good morning, I hate the way our students have so much say in matters they don’t,” Ojeda texted to Currie. “I’m a big believer that part of our job is to teach our team how to trust their leaders and how to believe in them. … You’re our leader and I believe in you! Smile!”
It was on this day that numerous people reached out to Currie, who had gone “radio silent” and said faulty WiFi on a flight was a reason UT leaders, including chancellor Beverly J. Davenport and UT System president Joe DiPietro, could not reach him. No one was more active than Reid Sigmon, Tennessee’s executive associate athletic director and cgief operating officer, who repeatedly texted Currie stressing Currie’s “urgent” need to “please call” and “call as soon as you get this.”
Ojeda’s text message was part of the information discovered when Gridiron Now and Trey Wallace of The Read Optional filed a Freedom of Information Act request with UT officials in December.
Ojeda’s comments seemed a contrast to her public remarks when she was hired in late November 2016. At that time, she said the Lady Vols’ athletes needed more than just a coach.
“I can pull from some of those (playing days at UT),” Ojeda said. “Players now, they want a coach to be a heck of a lot more than a coach. They’re going to want to come in your office and talk about everything that’s going on.”
(You can follow John Brice on Twitter @JohnDBrice1)
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