Checkerboard Chatter is a blog dedicated to covering, analyzing, and otherwise dissecting the University of Tennessee football and mens basketball programs. The blog is written by fans for the fans. Checkerboard Chatter started as a hobby for its creator, Derek Lusk, before the football season of 2009. In 2010 the blog expanded to cover mens basketball as well as Volunteer football. In the spring of 2011 Checkerboard Chatter added Contributor, Eric L. Taylor. In the summer of 2011 we expanded to include football recruiting coverage with Drew Pirtle as our Recruiting Analyst. Columnist Michael Bailey was added at the kick-off of the 2011 football season.
The philosophy of the site remains simple. Checkerboard Chatter wants to offer perspective of the fans in a well-thought-out and well-researched manner. Neither Derek Lusk or Eric L. Taylor are full-time journalists. They are both life-long UT fans and Tennessee residents who want to provide fresh takes through the eyes of the Volunteer faithful. Checkerboard Chatter isn't likely to break the news on a coaching change or a player discipline issue. But, what it will do is provide entertaining reading and thought provoking analysis from a couple of guys that bleed orange.
About Derek Lusk
Derek Lusk is the Founder and Creator of Checkerboard Chatter. He is a life-long Tennessean and UT supporter. His favorite Volunteer memories include trips to Kansas and Pittsburgh with his dad and brother to watch the Tennessee mens basketball team. Derek has lived in all three sections of the Volunteer state including his childhood in Chattanooga and college in West Tennessee. After a college career that was marred by a failure to fulfill on his vast intramural athletic potential Derek moved to Nashville where he lives with his wife and their two sons.
About Eric L. Taylor
Eric L. Taylor grew up as a young lad in West Tennessee rooting for the Vols in all sports. He has been in Neyland Stadium for many highs and lows, the lowest being the incomplete pass in the closing seconds to Jabar Gafney of the Florida Gators that was incorrectly called a touchdown in 2000. After that game, he aimlessly wondered the streets of Knoxville in search of the coldest beer in town and a sack full of Krystal burgers. Eric has a college degree in Business Administration - Marketing, and he has been involved in everything from sports talk radio to computer sales to restaurant & project management. While he may not pay his mortgage from his work on Checkerboard Chatter like a seasoned, professional sportswriter, his true passion is writing about a variety of topics & especially writing about the Vols. Eric currently lives in Middle Tennessee with his beautiful wife, baby to be and dog.
About Drew Pirtle
Drew Pirtle is the Recruiting Analyst for Checkerboard Chatter. He grew up in Middle Tennessee and is a recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Math and Natural Sciences. He has been a fan of all Volunteer sports since the age of 5 and has stuck with the Vols through the good and the bad throughout the years. His worst memory to date is the 2001 SEC championship loss to Matt Mauck and the LSU Tigers, which knocked the Vols out of the National Title game. Drew’s best memory, however, is being present for the glorious 1998 National Championship in Tempe, Arizona. After that game, his expectations for Volunteer football would never be the same. Drew is new to Checkerboard Chatter, but is excited about bringing Vol fans fresh recruiting news throughout the year. Drew is currently living behind enemy lines in Brookhaven, MS, but greatly anticipates his return home to the beautiful state of Tennessee.
About Michael Bailey
Michael has been following the Vols closely since 1994. Over the years, he has witnessed unbelievable highs- such as Al Wilson wreaking havoc on the Florida Gators at home in 98- and excruciating lows- the 2005 and 2009 Alabama losses for example. He says that the best part about the collective ups and downs is that he has always had a fellow Vol fan nearby whether it be a friend or family member to share the experience. To Michael, that's the essence of a Vol fan: someone who supports the team win or lose, someone who will celebrate or console another Vol fanatic depending on the situation.