UT sports: Life and death, news and notes

Marvin Westwestwords

Joy to the world, Tennessee has settled on another alternate uniform, black for Saturday.

There was a time I thought players were choosing anything except orange. I now think the retail market is directing traffic. Each time the Vols switch, fans just have to have new souvenir jerseys. Nike makes money. The UT athletics department gets a cut.

Can pink be far away?


Information about Nico: Famous California prep quarterback Nico Iamaleava was busy elsewhere on Alabama weekend but said he thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of the Volunteers’ victory over the Crimson Tide. A week later, he calmly directed a 37-8 triumph over La Mirada. His Warren High team is 8-1.

Tennessee’s five-star commit largely worked the field with intermediate throws and took off for one 13-yard run that ended with a slide. Warren coach Kevin Pearson liked that.

“He’s one of the most special players in the country, so there’s not a lot not to like about him, not much at all,” Pearson said. “I wish he would slide a little more often, but he likes physicality.”

Little brother Madden Iamaleava is tuned in to Tennessee success. He says the Vols have a “leg up” for his commitment.


Death in the family: Watson Bell, shortstop on the 1951 Tennessee baseball team that finished second in the College World Series, has died at 94. He lived in Scottsdale, Ariz.

R. Watson Bell

Bell was born in Knoxville. Before UT, he played basketball at Rule High. After UT, he served in the U.S. Army. After that, he was in financial management.

His business career included 15 years with General Electric, eight years with Lenox, where he was chief financial officer; nine years with Mohawk Data Sciences where he was executive vice president and a member of the board of directors; and five years with Pandick Technologies where he was president.

Watson is survived by Jeanne, his wife of 68 years.


Insiders (you know who you are) say Josh Heupel is unhappy with UT-Martin coach Jason Simpson. Friction supposedly goes back to last year and the recruitment of son Ty Simpson.

Maybe you saw a hint in the just-before-halftime Joe Milton to Princeton Fant to Jalin Hyatt touchdown pass when the score was already 45-7.

Maybe you saw it in the postgame touch and go instead of a traditional handshake and best wishes.

Rumor has it that Coach Simpson didn’t give Coach Heupel proper respect as a recruiter. TV said Ty had grown up liking the Vols but dropped out of sight after Jeremy Pruitt went away.

Trick play? It could have been intended as a little distraction for Kentucky to think about. It really could have been a message for the daddy-coach, just in case he ever thinks about another money game in Knoxville.


Connections: Shamurad Umarov, a Tennessee football commitment, was born in Russia. He grew up in Alpharetta, Ga.

Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh was born in Russia. He grew up in Brooklyn and Dublin, Ohio.

When Shamurad first visited the Vols, line coach Glen Elarbee told him he could make a big impact, a big difference. That was believable. He is an offensive tackle, 6-7 and 330.

Shamurad Umarov is of Turkish descent. His family was displaced. The Russians said they could stay only a little while. They could relocate to Italy or the United States. Photos of Georgia showed trees and green grass.

The Umarovs moved there when Shamurad was one. He cried during the flight. His mother learned the word “milk.”

The family has learned a lot since then. They found it amazing that colleges give free education to football players. They just heard about name, image and likeness and the Pilot company, founded by former Vol tackle and captain Jim Haslam, and “wouldn’t it be something if Pilot wanted you to promote Pilot.”

You never know. Shamurad’s dad is a truck driver.

Marvin West welcomes comments or questions from readers. His address is marvinwes75@gmail.com


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