JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: May 20, 2018

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Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to He Hate Me … 

MIKE SLIVE is a legend of not only SEC Commissioners, but NCAA history. Slive died last Wednesday in Birmingham at the age of 77. 

Slive is survived by his wife of 49 years, Liz. They had a daughter and a granddaughter. 

He followed SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer at a time the SEC was facing NCAA violations at a number of schools. 

Slive, a son of a butcher in Utica, N.Y. served as an attorney and a district court judge in New Hampshire. 

He was the SEC Commissioner from 2002 until retirement in 2015. Slive was a quite person when it came to sharing his academic background, one that was highly accredited. He was bold when it came to compliance and the result was the SEC’s reputation with the NCAA was cleaner than it had been in years. 

He saw the SEC teams win seven consecutive Bowl Championship national titles in football. He had earlier founded the title of commissioner of the Great Midwest Conference and Conference USA. He brought the SEC into the era of having the SEC founding the SEC Network in 2014. He also crafted the College Football Playoff, something others did not want to see. 

Current SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saw Slive as a colleague, but more than that as a friend. He added Texas A&M and Missouri to the 

SEC, bringing the number of schools to 14. Some people on both sides of the street questioned the move, but it added two huge TV markets in Texas and St. Louis. 

I found Slive to be someone who understood the role of the media and he had many friends in the media nationwide. He will be sorely missed. 

PREDS jumped into the political ring when they publicly endorsed interim Mayor David Briley. Maybe the ones in the Predators’ offices that made that decision didn’t know sports and politics are not bedfellows. 

It looked bad as the Predators are currently negotiating with the city to update Bridgestone Arena. The way the Predators could have feathered their nest was to not lose three of four home games against Winnipeg. 

They were favored to beat the Jets, but fell short. 

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry made the endorsement in an online video in which he’s joined by team mascot Gnash. The video was tweeted out Wednesday by Briley’s campaign. 

Their special mayoral endorsement came as a surprise to many. In my 40 years in writing sports, I have never heard of a sports team endorsing someone for a political office. They need to stick to getting their team to go deeper than they have in postseason play. 

BILLY BREWER passed away May 12 in Memphis. He was better known as Billy “Dog’’ Brewer, a famous Ole Miss football player who later became their head football coach. He was 83. 

His teams won eight Egg Bowl games. He coached the Rebels from 1983-93 and had an overall record of 67-56-3. He won the Liberty Bowl twice and Independence Bowl once. “Dog’’ was second in school history in wins behind the legendary Johnny Vaught. Brewer was inducted posthumously into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame this summer. 

BILLY CANNON is another legendary football player who has passed away. He was 80 years old and died in St. Francisville, La. Cannon is widely known for returning a punt return for a game-winning touchdown on Halloween Night in 1958. 

Cannon returned in 1959 and won the Heisman Trophy that year leading the Tigers to the national championship. He was inducted in the college Football Hall of Fame in 2008. 

He later became a dentist after playing football and served three years in federal prison for counterfeiting. 

Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at joebiddle11@gmail.com. 

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