With John Fulkerson coming back and a potentially sympathetic ear in Rick Barnes, there will never be another chance like this

Marky Billson

One of the first tests new East Tennessee State head men’s basketball coach Desmond Oliver will have is putting together a schedule.

And early indications are he is failing.

Oliver told reporters on Thursday he was working on scheduling Georgia and Tennessee on the 2021–22 Buccaneers schedule.

Makes sense. Oliver has been an assistant at both schools.

Except the game with the Vols would likely be played in Knoxville, and if ever there was a time for the Tennessee…


Anthem Kneeling, Transfers, Wes Miller, Communication, Questions of Race, Etc.

Marky Billson
  • When Jason Shay resigned as East Tennessee State head men’s basketball coach, there was a feeling the Buccaneers would have to settle for second best to find a coach.

They didn’t.

But make no doubt, upper east Tennessee didn’t just become a racist area when the Buccaneers knelt for the anthem last season.

Erwin still purged all of their African-American population 100 years ago and to this day is still painfully less than diverse.

Gerald Sensabaugh is still blackballed from coaching for nothing more than speaking out against the establishment…


Consider how he’s handled certain situations in his career

Marky Billson

A quote from East Tennessee State athletic director Scott Carter that was re-run ad nauseam over last summer on the Buccaneers flagship radio station comes to mind following the events that caused Jason Shay’s resignation as ETSU head men’s basketball coach.

That, seemingly above all, what Carter wanted to do as ETSU athletic director was “build great relationships.”

Not win games. Not increase the profile of the athletic department. Not increase the graduation rate or produce professional people or any of the 10 things linked to above.

“Build great relationships.”

Like…


The best player the Buccaneers have had since reviving football is severely underappreciated.

Marky Billson

The greatest player of the post-revival era of East Tennessee State football may very well play his final game for the Buccaneers (4–1) at 6 pm at Mercer (4–2) Saturday night.

His name is Tyree Robinson. And if you have a problem with how the ETSU fan base treated their basketball team last season, just remember how Robinson, a bonafide National Football League prospect, was treated after his freshman season.


He’s never lived in the Tri-Cities, and now must sell an area to his team that might support their play but not their minds.

Marky Billson

Here’s what the average east Tennessee sports fan sees when contemplating incoming East Tennessee State University head men’s basketball coach Desmond Oliver.


While other mid-major programs live in the shadow of nearby major programs, ETSU would be subservient to their larger neighbor

Marky Billson

Multiple news sources are reporting Tennessee assistant men’s basketball coach Desmond Oliver is the front runner for the head men’s basketball coach position at East Tennessee State University.

ETSU will want to move quickly on a new hire not only in an attempt to prevent any more transfers from the program following the resignation of previous coach Jason Shay, but in an attempt for the administration to save face and beat other schools to the best crop of candidates.


Weren’t we here before?

Marky Billson

For the last 20 years, it could generally be presumed East Tennessee State was going to have a good men’s basketball team.

Sure there were exceptions, but ever since Ed DeChellis brought in Zakee Wadood and Jerald Fields in 2000, ETSU has had only two losing seasons.

And one of those was the result of two star players getting kicked off the team for receiving drugs through the mail.

But ETSU’s winning ways are in jeopardy. Jason Shay resigned as ETSU head coach on Tuesday in large part because of the fallout that occurred when the…


His lousy contract didn’t help matters, either.

Marky Billson

Jason Shay’s resignation as East Tennessee State head men’s basketball coach comes as a surprise to even the closest observers of the Buccaneers.

But if one wants an answer as to why, look no further than the team’s action of kneeling for the national anthem this season.

Johnson City is not San Francisco, and when WJHL-TV’s Jesse Krull captured the entire team, including Shay, on the court kneeling for the national anthem prior to their game at Chattanooga it infuriated a large segment of the fan base.


And should take it any way they can.

Marky Billson

Don’t let anyone tell you national sports talk radio began with Jim Rome or ESPN radio.

Pete Franklin was a national sports talk radio star in the 1980s out of AM 1100 WWWE (now WTAM) in Cleveland.

Yes, boys and girls, before Mark Cuban took sportscasts to the internet, one would take their AM radio and search for out of town radio stations at night. …


Maybe the 2020–21 Buccaneers were a team you’d rather forget. But the Bucs didn’t leave their fans as unsatisfied as these teams did.

Marky Billson

This column is becoming influential.

In a previous piece I mentioned how this past ETSU men’s basketball season was the most disappointing for the program since the Murry Bartow era.

And now, I see on social media fans discussing what I’ve written, or building on these columns by asking what the most disappointing season was for ETSU fans.

The most disappointing season in East Tennessee State men’s basketball history is probably 1944–45. …

Marky Billson

Innovative sports media personality.

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