He slips your mind sometimes. Future generations of Vols fans will more than likely have no clue who he was or why we hired him. He was the Tennessee basketball coach during the 2013-14 season. Tennessee had recently been through some turmoil before deciding to hire Donnie Tyndall. Before Tyndall, our former head coach Cuonzo Martin, had just recently dipped and left Tennessee for the University of California because fans turned on him trying to have him removed and Bruce Pearl brought back by starting an online petition. Which before Bruce Pearl was let go for lying to the NCAA for having a BBQ, so you would think after all that Tennessee would make sure their next hire was the safe and right hire?
He came here at a controversial time. After Tennessee fan's signed a petition to remove Cuonzo Martin and bring back Pearl, Cuonzo then left and went to the University of California. Leaving us in a very confused and surprised state Tennessee decided to make, at the time, the most Tennessee move possible. We hired the ugly half brother of Bruce Pearl, Donald Joseph Tyndall. Tho there was some rumored controversy from Southern Miss, there wasn't much to worry about, after all, Tennessee essentially fired Butch Jones for lying about a BBQ, so they definitely wouldn't hire someone who has potentially NCAA issues, or at least they would do their research to make sure the person they hire has no affiliation to that kind of thing?
Well if you thought that's what Tennessee would do, you thought WRONG, because they decided to do the opposite. They hired an used car salesmen with a 400 pair sneaker collection who now is currently serving a NCAA imposed 10 year show cause penalty that will be effective until the ripe time of April 7, 2026. If this wasn't a home run hire, I don't want to see one. Looking back it's nothing to worry about considering we have a coach who has us preseason top 5 that is undoubtedly a much better and more honest coach than Bruce Pearl and Donnie Tyndall combined.
But how did we get here? And who exactly is Donnie Tyndall and where did he come from? Well young Donald was born in the small town of Ravenna, Michigan. With a population of just 1,219 the odds were stack against young Donald but that didn't stop him.
Tyndall the one year head coach of led St. Catharine during the 1996-97 season to its first ever trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament, and in order to get there they had to defeat the ever so terrifying defending champs, Sullivan College of Louisville. This was a battle they would be talking about for ages to come. By leading his team to the tournament Donnie became the youngest head coach to lead his team to the championship in Junior College history. His legendary story had already began to unfold. Greatness was upon the horizon for young Donald. Nothing would stand in his way. He soon after was named the 1997 Junior College basketball coach of the year.
The fact is despite all his achievements and upcoming success this is a man he decided to follow all he had done by having coaches take tests for kids, and well here is a good example of some of Donald's fine work:
A real super star if there ever was one. I never understood the hire from the first move. Donnie had average success at Moorehead State, and slightly above average success at Southern Miss. Obviously his hire was a rush hire, because despite our fans protesting, nobody expected Cuonzo to leave, especially after his recent Elite 8 appearance. I personally was a huge fan of Cuonzo and tho his offensive was about as exciting to watch as an amateur golf match, I still had high hopes for him here at Tennessee.
I will admit at first glance I did laugh a little at Donnie, and part of me has to feel kind of bad for the guy, but then I remind myself of the kids he negativity effected by cheating them out of a chance of a real education by letting them take short cuts and not do their required work. People want to hate on Millennials, but it's people like this man, why their bad reputation exists.
Currently Donnie Tyndall is currently suing the NCAA claiming his innocence. Blaming a man name Howard and claiming he had nothing to do with the whole ordeal. I personally don't buy it, but crazier things have happened. An undisclosed source on 60 minutes claim's he was the "Mastermind" behind the whole thing, and he has no one to blame but himself. Tyndall was also caught trying to delete and destroy information as the investigation was on going. He is a hot mess of a human being.
We have to, at least some what, consider ourselves blessed he was only here a year, who knows what damage he could have done had he spent 2, 3, 4, or more seasons here at Tennessee. Tennessee is now on a much different path than we were with Donnie Tyndall. We are projecting upwards while he is going down. Now I can't hold to much hate for the man considering he never got Tennessee in any kind of trouble, but I do believe he would had given the chance, and it was only a matter of time.
Given the recent trend we can expect to see him coach in the SEC once he returns. He will join the ranks of Bruce Pearl (Auburn) and Cuonzo Marin (Missouri) of former Tennessee coaches to end up coaching against us instead of with us. But more than likely he will never coach again, and I would put bank on that fact.
It's refreshing to go look back on these days, because just two years ago we thought Tennessee basketball was in worse shape than the football program at the end of the Dooley days, and that's saying something. Times have changed and Tennessee could be called a favorite to be a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament this year with all the players the Vols have returning. This year should be fun if your a Vols fan, but not so much if you're a Donnie Tyndall fan...