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Readers weigh in on expectations for Lady Vols coach Kim Caldwell.
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Readers weigh in on expectations for Lady Vols coach Kim Caldwell.

I continue to be surprised by the interest in Lady Vols basketball. That’s based on all emails about the program since the firing of Tennessee coach Kellie Harper and the hiring of Kim Caldwell.

The Lady Vols haven’t had a national presence in so long, it’s a wonder the fanbase hasn’t become more apathetic. I am curious to what extent the interest in a new coach will have a further impact on the crowds next season.

Of course, ticket prices can be a factor. At least that’s what Joel tells me.

Joel writes: I’m not too worried about LV basketball right now. It’s true that Harper hasn’t done us any favors due to her apparent shortcomings in recruiting, but to say they’re falling further behind is unthinkable at this point.

I believe if there are 11 SEC teams in the tournament, I’m confident the LVs will be one of them. If six or seven teams make it, I’m not so confident.

In the meantime, I won’t worry about it. I’m much more concerned about whether “enhanced fan enhancements” will cost me my men’s and women’s season tickets.

My answer: The odds of prices rising are greater than the Lady Vols’ chances of making the next NCAA Tournament.

Mike writes: If the Lady Vols don’t make the NCAA tournament field next year for the first time ever, I’m sure there will be plenty of naysayers screaming that this is proof that Kellie Harper should have been kept instead of adopting a new one. less experienced coach who they claim is in way over her head.

But in my opinion it would be evidence of why Kellie should have been fired. The lack of quality players on this team is clearly a result of Harper’s poor recruitment in recent years.

Her lack of success in recruiting was shocking. Kellie Harper will be to blame, not Kim Caldwell.

My answer: Caldwell will have less to work with than her predecessors, Harper and Holly Warlick. She also has to rely on a squad that – apart from the three transfers she has added – has not been put together for her fast, complete playing style.

There’s something else working against her: the SEC will be stronger than ever.

Phyllis writes: Why do you keep adding negative, ugly comments about Harper no matter what story you’re trying to write? She is a good coach and represented the university well.

You, Danny White and UT should be ashamed of your actions.

My answer: You prepared me for more negative comments. But I will resist the urge.

James writes: I’m excited about Kim Caldwell’s presence. We will win over twenty games in her first season, which will be better than Coach Harper’s last season.

My basis for this positive outlook is that Coach Caldwell did something that Coach Harper did not do. She has hired experienced staff who will complement her, including solid recruiters. Adding other SEC coaches is important.

Her style of play will attract top high school talent. Defense wins ball games and her emphasis on that will make her competitive against the top 25 teams.

My answer: If Caldwell can win more than 20 games and make the NCAA Tournament in her first season, Lady Vols fans could be optimistic about what’s to come. That would also make her a strong candidate for SEC coach of the year.

Colonel writes: Since you still have a “Mike” or “Mikes”, should I change my “handle” to “Colonel Lite?”

At least, if you still want my contribution.

ADAMS: Lady Vols basketball is expected to miss March Madness in Kim Caldwell’s first season. I can see why

My answer: As a veteran, I welcome contributions from current or former military members, regardless of rank. But because I am a strong supporter of freedom of expression, I will also publish emails from conscientious objectors.

Let’s start with just “Colonel” and see how it goes. You can later become a ‘major’ or a ‘general’ depending on the quality of your emails.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He can be reached at 865-342-6284 or [email protected]. Follow him on: twitter.com/johnadamskns.