Tyndall talks about loss of players; how to pronounce Vols
Tennessee basketball coach Donnie Tyndall talks to WATE 6 Sports on Monday
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - When Donnie Tyndall picked-up a Tennessee basketball jersey last week, he jumped into a job that has plenty of challenges-- the most immediate is making sure he has enough players for his first season in Knoxville.
"It's a huge hole," Tyndall said in a one-on-one interview with WATE 6 Sports on Monday.
"When you don't have a lot of experience returning as it is and then you lose four good high school players, certainly we've got to make up some ground."
Tyndall says he expects to sign a new group of players to make up for the departure of the freshman class.
Another focus is making sure Tennessee's current players, most of whom were signed by Cuonzo Martin, stay.
"I think everything is good," he said.
"Things can change in the next fifteen seconds, but all seven guys have told me they want to be back next year. All seven guys seem to be excited about our summer plans."
Tyndall's transition has been softened with a welcome text he received from Peyton Manning and a visit last week with fellow Michigan native and Tennessee football coach Butch Jones.
"I spent about thirty minutes with (Coach Jones) just giving me some pointers and helpful tips, things he thought were important. (He's) just a class guy. I know how busy he is. I joked at the press conference that Saugatuck (Michigan) guys are a little bit soft but once I saw him in person he's a pretty rocked up dude so I kind of let that lay."
Tyndall spent two years as a head coach at Southern Miss and before that he was at Morehead State in Kentucky. But shaking his Michigan habits hasn't been easy.
Fans and the media jumped all over his pronunciation of Tennessee's nickname at his introductory press conference last week.
"My accent is a little different from some folks down here but I have practiced. I've gotten much better. I have a key word I now rhyme with to help me. Practice makes perfect. I'll get there."