Reader email highlights from past year. Thanks for the inspiration, Jeremy Pruitt | Adams

John Adams
Knoxville News Sentinel

When former Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt was fired last January, I thought he had no redeemable virtues.

I was wrong. I realized that when I reviewed the work of my literary contributors this year.

Although Pruitt wrecked UT's football program, he inspired some of the best work from my correspondents. He also served as a distraction. Readers were so busy attacking him with their sharply written prose, they took fewer shots at me.

Here are some of the highlight emails from the year:

Greg writes: Day after day, you show that you’re a member in good standing of the cheap shot, snarky, personal attack media.  Wake me up when you decide to - or in your case, attempt to - do real sports writing and analysis.

My response: Keep sleeping.

Brent writes: I am a UT Football fan and a graduate of the system. I have long thought that the football program’s woes are a result of battling factions in the university administration for control of the football program, sports department, maybe for the whole university. As a fan, I have long felt something was amiss.

My response: Whoa! This is college football, not the “Game of Thrones.” UT has just made a series of bad hires.

Shirley writes: Some of those emails are hard to believe. Are you sure Sam Venable isn’t pulling a joke on you?

My response: The emails are real.

Shirley’s response: Idiots come in swarms.

Bob writes: I am embarrassed by the clueless hayseed we have currently ruining (I didn't mean to say "running") our program and his lack of respect for English grammar.

But I guess he "done good in English" at Alabama, or he wouldn't have "gradiated."

My response: I’m not suggesting Hugh Freeze should be an English professor, but he could spot Pruitt 15 points on a grammar test  and still beat him by 10. He also might beat Alabama occasionally.

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Darryl writes: I want to see Philip Fulmer fired a third time by UT!

Someone very sharp, like yourself, would probably think, “Fulmer has only been fired once by UT.”

Ah ha, so far!

If UT fires Fulmer for the Jeremy Pruitt debacle now, then like a weasel Fulmer would have a chance to burrow his way back and con another UT chancellor in maybe 3 years to hire him to run UT’s compliance department, therefore ensuring his passing on the payroll of UT fans.

My response: Rarely do I receive emails from such farsighted readers. You are a role model for us all.

David writes: Oh well, there goes the football team. One should never ask 'how much worse can it get?' here in B.O. Country.

Pruitt done the best that he could I suppose. We was lucky to have him, in the sense that the people on the Titanic were lucky to get a cabin on that initial cruise. Now he can take that remedial English class he's obviously been putting off.  

Fulmer can expand his role at Hullco. I have to go throw up.

My response: Great work, David. I think you have expressed the sentiments of Big Orange Nation as well as anyone. Also, spectacular Titanic reference, and thoughtful of you to advise Pruitt on how he can spend his extra time now that he's out of the football-program-wrecking business.

Tony writes: It’s about time for you to fall on your own sword and add your name to the gone for good list. Specifically, as the worst Sports Editor in the history of the Knoxville News-Sentinel! 

I’m glad you take great pride in your pathetic work. 

My response: Thanks for your suggestion, but I can’t oblige. My samurai sword is a gift from my mother-in-law, who purchased it while serving as a missionary in China.

I won’t devalue it with bloodstains.

Terry writes: I am thankful for Les Miles and LSU here lately. They have diverted attention from us hillbillies for a bit.  I always knew there was something not right about that dude.

Besides eating grass off the field, I think he smoked his share as well.

My response: Being too chummy with coeds might have been the most normal thing he did at LSU.

Terry writes:  I saw an article recently in the KNS.  A new restaurant coming to town, Biscuit Belly.  You think The Incredible Hullco may finagle that spokesperson.

My response: Terry is referencing former Tennessee athletics director Phillip Fulmer, whom he cleverly dubbed  the "Incredible Hullco" for his commercials on behalf of that company. Not sure what Terry is implying with the Biscuit Belly comment, but he sometimes writes above my head.

Bill calls: I saw Pruitt’s picture in the paper again. I get tired of opening my paper and seeing his picture. Let’s do away with that.

My response: I appreciate your opinion. However, Pruitt’s photo serves as a constant reminder that things could be worse for Tennessee football.

Marie writes: I won’t attend a game at Neyland this year. I prefer to watch and listen at home. However, this year I’m planning on boycotting both of those activities for the Vols since the kitten killer is still on the roster. His number should be stenciled in black and white and not emblazoned on a university jersey in orange and white. I’m appalled he’s still on the team.

My response: Charges were dropped. Of course, the outcome might have been different if cats could talk.

Mark writes: Just returned from a few days of fishing with Jack on a small lake north of Ogallala. The pike were even bigger than I could have imagined, but I forgot to take any photos. Anyway, Jack and I got into a big argument about how Peyton looks an awful lot like Tom Hanks, Jack said he does, I just decided to let er go. 

My response: What was Jack drinking?

I don’t see the resemblance. Manning has a much better arm. And based on Hanks’ performance in “Forrest Gump,’’ he’s more fleet afoot.

If any readers have a Manning look-alike in mind, I welcome their input.

Brent writes: I grew up in Knoxville, went to high school with Bob Hodge (ha ha), and graduated from UT in 1988.  Not to brag, but most trivia questions about UT football, I can answer.

Here is a question I can’t answer. Phillip Fulmer, assisted in getting one coach fired (Majors), was fired as a coach, assisted in getting an athletic director fired (Currie), fired as an athletic director, oops I mean “resigned” his position with more money as a severance package than most  people will make in their lifetime.

Do you think he will show his face at a UT game this year?

My response: Bob went to high school?

Just kidding. He’s one of the smartest people I know and affords me a firing range free of charge anytime I want.

Of course, the Incredible Hullco will be at Neyland Stadium. And he likely will charge UT an appearance fee.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or Follow him at: