Posts Tagged ‘Vol Network’

A Changing of the Guard…

As I mentioned the other day, any of you that have regularly read Gate 21 have probably notice the deafening sound of the silence here for the past month or so.  That silence was prelude to this post.  There is no better way to say it than to quote the words of the legendary John Ward:

It’s Time…

I started Gate 21 in 2007 not really knowing what I was getting myself into.  I really had no concept of what it was that I wanted to do with the site or, in fact, how I would do it.  I just decided one day that I could write a blog as well as the next guy and within 10 minutes, the original version of Gate 21 was live for all to see over at  Within 2 months, I had over 10,000 visitors and had taken the site to a privately hosted (i.e. I had to pay for it) server and debuted the cartoonish looking site that hung around until mid-2009 when I overhauled the site once again.  You are looking at that version now.

Since that less-than-auspicious beginning in 2007 I have spent literally thousands of hours writing, designing, re-vamping, updating, and otherwise working on producing and publishing Gate 21.  Along the way I have had had the help of many, many, people.  These would include writers HomeSweetHome and VolAmbassador, who have both made major contributions to the site over the past several years.  Then there were others across the blogosphere who have both assisted and collaborated with me on articles, memes, roundtables, Power Polls, BlogPolls, and running jokes.  These would include folks like Ghost of Neyland, MoonDog, LSUFreek, Will, Hooper, and of course—the best of the best—Joel at Rocky Top Talk.  These are but a few of the many with whom I have interacted and with which I have had the pleasure to become acquainted.

Then there are those of you out there across the blogosphere and the wider arc of the internet that have visited my humble site and read a bit of what I had to say.  There are even those of you who have taken the time to leave a comment here and there.  To each and every one of you I offer my sincerest gratitude for more than 2 years of interaction across the divide that is the internet.  I have not always been right about things, I have not always been seriousI have not always been couth, but I have always tried to be honest about my views and perspectives on the world around me and my love for the Tennessee Volunteers.  All I can say is that these last 2 1/2 years have truly been a pleasure.

All things, however, must come to an end…

Thus, while it pains me on many levels, this will likely be the last post on Gate 21, at least for the foreseeable future.  And, now it is time for the Gate to close.

The thousands of hours that I have spent on this site have been a labor of love, as blogging always is.  While I may have advertisements here on the Gate, the fact of the matter is that I have lost money on this endeavour from the outset.  The cost of hosting the site alone has been substantial.  Yet, this exploration of “Life, the Universe, and the Bounce of the Ball” (Thank you Douglas Adams) has been a welcome and wonderful creative outlet for me, and one which has been far more “therapeutic” than I ever imagined.  And to those of you who have visited and taken the time to comment all I will say is that you never know just how much a single sentence left in the comment box or via Twitter really means to folks like myself who are blogging their lives away.

There’s really nothing that makes a writer feel better than knowing what they wrote was interesting enough that someone felt compelled to respond…

Now, however, the demands of my “real” life are such that I simply cannot maintain the Gate in the way that I have in the past.  It is hard enough to run a site with substantial help and a bevy of free time.  It is next to impossible to do that alone while trying to maintain a job, a family, and some semblance of sanity.  As I have said before, the informational cycle on the blogosphere lasts approximately as long as the attention span of a hyperactive 4-year-old who just ate 5 bags of Skittles and washed them down with three cans of Red Bull, and I simply cannot keep up with that.  My lack of timely comment over the past football season stands as a testament to that reality and one which I simply can no longer ignore.

I know, Frank, shocking isn't it?

These sorts of conclusions are not always fun, but they are necessary.  I think Lieutenant Frank Drebin probably said it best:

A Spoonful of Drano sound bite

Okay, enough of the depressing stuff, now for the good news…

For those of you who have enjoyed my writing—though I am certain there aren’t that many of you—take heart!  I am not abandoning my devotion to Tennessee athletics only to go gentle into that good night.  While I may not be able to justify continuing on here at the Gate, I fully intend to continue writing about the Vols.  Why?  Because, in the words of Clay Travis, I simply cannot imagine not doing it.

VolNation Thus, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to announce that, effective immediately, I will be joining on as a writer for the VolNation Blog.  Thus, any of you who wish continue to read my mindless prattling, I’ll still be around.  I cannot overstate how lucky I feel at having the chance to jump on board at VolNation, and I hope to see some of you over there in the near future.  While my time at Gate 21 is now at an end, I am extremely excited about what the future holds in store for me at VolNation.

In the meantime, the Gate will not be disappearing (though, after the next few days, I really won’t be monitoring comments any longer).  It will still be here and you will still be able to send me hate mail via the contact form here on the site, at the email address listed in the sidebar and on the Ushers page, or via Twitter.  For those of you who have subscribed to the RSS feed here at the Gate, you can now follow me via the feed at the VolNation Blog.  The Gate will now take its place among the so-called “dotsam and netsam” that floats across the web.  Everything will stay right where it is—most notably, my tribute to Sam and Andy’s.

As for me, I am on to a new home on the web and new challenges.

So, for the last time, I bid you farewell from Gate 21.  To each of you out there with whom I’ve come in contact as a result of my time publishing Gate 21 over the past 2 1/2 years, I say thank you for reading, best wishes, and Godspeed.  Now, more than ever, I suppose my signature “tagline seems appropriate.  Thus, I will end this final post as I have ended those that came before it.

Until we meet again … Go Vols!

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

Remembering John Ward: Ten years since “Give Him Six!”

Tennessee Football Regardless of how things turn out for the Tennessee Volunteers this fall, the 2009 season represents so very many milestones—it really isn’t even worth the trouble to try and count them all.  There has been so much change lately and so very many new looks and faces that everything seems as if it is in flux.  Some feel this near c-change is long overdue, others decry it as a loss of tradition, others still reserve judgments and simply point to the inevitable movement of the hands of time.  Still, no matter how great the changes may be, the echoes of years gone by still ring in the air around Neyland Stadium.  Thankfully, this will never change.

Vol Network In addition to all of the “obvious” landmark events that have or will occur as part of the 2009 football season, there is one more that may go unnoticed by many.  Though it hardly seems possible, the 2009 season marks Bob Kesling’s tenth year as the “Voice of the Vols.” Since the kickoff of the 1999 football opener against the Wyoming Cowboys, Kesling along with color-commentator Tim Priest, and sideline reporter Mike Stowell (who succeeded Jeff Francis in 2007), have brought the sounds of Big Orange football into our homes via the “Statewide Stadium” that is the Vol Network.

As have I pointed out in previous posts, since I was a child, I have always been a dedicated fan of live sports radio broadcasts.  I learned at an early age that television broadcasters, no matter how good they may be, simply cannot match the style, flair, color, or excitement that a gifted radio sportscaster can bring to a game.  There are few on television that come close—Ron Franklin and Mike Gottfried being pretty much the best—but even they cannot quite stay in step with the great radio broadcasters of the game.  Of course, for every Franklin and Gottfried, there are a bevy of lackluster talking suits which do little more than get in the way of the game rather than actually improving your understanding of what is taking place.

Thus is the curse of television…

Read the rest of this entry

Flashback: The Great Games — Kentucky 1997

The Great Games |

Last year, during the off-season, I began a series on the Great Games played by the Tennessee Volunteers football team over the many years as seen through my eyes.  As I am wont to do, I seem to have lost my focus and have not exactly done a capital job of keep that series going.  Imagine that.

Since the off-season is once again upon us—paired with the fact that I have been coming up pretty spare in terms of ideas lately—I’ve decided it is time to once again take a walk down memory lane and re-live some of the greatest games in Tennessee history.  For those of you who missed the 2008 installments of this series, here are the ones I’ve covered thus far:

In addition to my list, Will, one of the sages over at RTT has been counting down the top-50 games of the Phillip Fulmer era in grand style.  Predictably, some of his favorites are on my list as well.  Trust me, his list is worth a look (and is far better researched, far more thoughtful, far better written, and … well … just far better than my little foray into the ghosts of games past).  Since I don’t want to be accused of stealing his thunder, I will be citing to his accounts of his favorite games liberally.

In fairness, it might be best to just skip this article altogether and just go read his work.  Lord knows I would but for the fact that I have to write it…

22 November 1997

Tennessee Football vs. Kentucky Football

(5) Tennessee 59 •    Kentucky 31

Commonwealth Stadium  •  Lexington, Kentucky

Some folks might think I am crazy for including the 22 November 1997 contest between Tennessee and the Kentucky Wildcats on my list of great games.  I can understand why they might question my thoughts on this (or my sanity).  This game was anything but a flawless game for the Vols and was hardly the Tennessee defense’s finest hour.  In fact, the game as a whole was pretty darn sloppy, as was the weather.  Still, for reasons which I will attempt to explain (a feat I will likely fail utterly to accomplish), this game still ranks as one of the great games in Tennessee football history.  The short answer as to why can be summed up in two words:

Peyton Manning

I make no bones about it.  I am a huge fan of the guy  who wore No. 16 for the Vols from 1994 to 1998.  As many have pointed out, both Andy Kelly (1989-91) and Heath Shuler (1991-93) could—in their own right—claim to be the greatest Vol quarterback in the history of the program during the time they wore an orange shirt.  Then, starting only a few snaps into the 1994 game against the UCLA Bruins in the Rose Bowl, everyone in Orange Nation began the process of forgetting everything they ever knew about quarterbacks at Tennessee, as true freshman Peyton Manning took the reins from senior Jerry Colquitt, who quite tragically (and downright depressingly) suffered a career-ending injury in the first series of his first start at quarterback.

The rest, as they say, is history…

Read the rest of this entry

Yet another Meme: Shaun Ellis, “He made it! He made it!”

Here’s a little magic from John Ward and the Vol Network to go along with Joel’s post over at Rocky Top Talk this morning discussing Shaun Ellis’ miraculous runback of a recovered fumble versus the Auburn Tigers in 1998.

I would try to describe it, but that would only diminish the call from the legendary “Voice of the Vols Emeritus.“  But don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself…

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

How can you not love the sound of John Ward behind the microphone?

– So it goes Email lawvol No McAlisters

**Disclaimer and Notice: All Audio Clips remain the property of the licensing authority and their respective universities and/or institutions. Gate 21 makes no claim of ownership to these clips, and they are displayed on this website for the sole purpose of public commentary, discussion, and discourse, and are, in good faith, believed to be a Fair Use. Any questions or concerns regarding the display of such audio should be directed to the publisher of this site.

Wooo! Tennessee is playing for the SEC’s Big Hardware Today

I only have a few minute, but I wanted to take a moment to cheer on the Vols today as they get ready to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs today in the SEC Tournament Championship Game.  I do not know why or how, but suddenly the Vols look like the team we all thought they would be at the start of the season.

Better late than never…

It's time to finish strong, men!

The game will air today on CBS as well as online at CBS Sports at 1:00 pm. As always, the game will also be broadcast by the Vol Network through its broadcast affiliate stations, as well as via the live internet stream available through UT, and via XM Satellite Radio on Channel 199.

Barring incident and time permitting, I will be joining in the Live Game Thread over at Rocky Top Talk, where everyone is always welcome to join in and either celebrate or commiserate throughout the game.

Go Vols, Beat the Bulldogs!

– So it goes Email lawvol

Beware of Visitors in Blue… (Kentucky vs. Tennessee)

Oh, they may look harmless, but you have to be careful…


Yes friends and neighbors, tonight the Kentucky Wildcats (NR), come into the Tommy Bowl to take on the Tennessee Volunteers (15 AP / 24 USA Today) in what is sure to be another serious challenge for Bruce and the Barbarians.

Like the BasketVols, Kentucky has struggled with inconsistency since the start of the season.  Though the Wildcats are currently 12-4 on the season (1-0 SEC), two of their losses were against far-from-impressive teams:  VMI and Miami.  That said, the boys in blue have appeared to rally lately, barely losing to Louisville and defeating Vanderbilt in a 70-60 win last Saturday.  Given the heat that Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie has felt since the start of last season, a win tonight is a must for the Cats.

Billy Clyde Gillispie in all his Glory!

The Vols, on the other hand, are struggling to reign in their defensive woes (currently 298th … that’s right 298th in scoring defense) and find some offensive consistency (shooting an average of 45.5 from the field and 30.8 from behind the 3-point arc).  Kentucky, however, has always been Tennessee’s biggest rival in basketball, and the Vols should have no problems getting up for all that the Wildcats have to dish-out.  My question from yesterday, however, stands: will Tennessee’s desire, hustle, and tenacity be enough to win the day?

Well, one way or the other, we’ll find out tonight at 9:00.

For a more in-depth preview and breakdown of tonight’s game, check out what RBK has to say over at the BruceBall Blog, as well as Joel’s thought’s at Rocky Top Talk.

The game will air tonight on ESPN and (where available). As always, the game will also be broadcast by the Vol Network through its broadcast affiliate stations, as well as via the live internet stream available through UT, and via the XM Satellite Radio Channels 199 (Tennessee) and 200 (Kentucky).

Barring incident and time permitting, I will be joining in the Live Game Thread over at Rocky Top Talk, where everyone is always welcome to join in and either celebrate or commiserate throughout the game.

Go Vols, Beat the Wildcats!

– Go Figure …About Lawvol

Image Courtesy of: Smash South Sports / HeyBC

So, is it Kiffin? Who do we believe?

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

All sorts of rumors are flying about in Big Orange Country about Lane Kiffin.  Numerous websites, blogs, and news organizations are reporting that Smilin’ Mike has already offered the Tennessee coaching job to the 33 year-old former head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders.

Could this be Tennessee's next head coach?

In response, Mike Hamilton publicly stated that he had not offered Kiffin the job.  According to the Knoxville News Sentinel Hamilton stated:

We have not offered the job to anybody.  If anybody has said that, that would be incorrect information.

Our process is fluid.  I understand there is a lot of interest in what’s going on. It would not surprise me that people would want to talk about these kinds of things.  The process is not over.

— Courtesy of the Knoxville News Sentinel

What Hamilton did not say was that he had not already made a decision, even though a formal offer had not yet been extended…

I find this all a bit troubling, considering that this weekend is supposed to be about honoring our current coach, as opposed to spinning the rumor mill about who our next coach will be.

Either way, I agree with Mike Hamilton that there it is understandable that people are interested.  After all, I suppose I am writing about why it bothers me that so many people are writing about it (now you are beginning to understand why I became a lawyer).

One way or the other, here are a few of the noteworthy stories flying about at present:

Meanwhile, I’m just wondering what it could be like to have a head coach only one year older than me?

– Go Figure …

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