#8: Tennessee Fans’ Venom Toward Coaches Is Legendary
We are counting down the 10 most out of control college football fanbases over the next two weeks. After a trip to Tuscalossa, AL, we stay in the SEC for a visit to good ol’ Rocky Top in Knoxille, TN.
Sports Illustrated’s 2009 conference-by-conference fan survey lists favorite traditions for different schools. Vols fan said they enjoy: “The Vol Walk, the Vol Navy, the parting of the T, the Pride of the Southland Marching Band, Rocky Top, ‘It’s Football Time in Tennessee,’ and of course ... winning.”
Add one more thing to that list: Showing their hatred for former coach Lane Kiffin, who skipped town last year after one season to coach at USC. And by hating Kiffin, we mean outwardly spewing venom toward the man. The blog sportsrubbish.com practically published a video diary of YouTube clips (warning: NSFW) of the fan reaction toward Kiffin’s defection. They burned lots of stuff, destroyed things, generally rioted and, in one fan’s case, urinated on all Kiffin memorabilia before burning it and threatening the coach.
But don’t say Tennessee fans don’t have hearts. A local firing range canceled a scheduled “Shoot at Lane Kiffin Bobblehead” event for charity, which fielded several complaints. People were probably upset it wasn’t Kiffin himself in front of the firing squad. We kid. But it’s not that far from the truth. Ask former coach Phillip Fulmer, who won a national championship in 1998 but was run out of town after a 5-7 campaign in 2008.
So take it from us: Vols fans are intense about their team. In the SI survey, 15.3 percent of fans voted for Tennessee as the league’s rudest fans, good for third place behind Florida (19.2) and LSU (32.2). Only 3.3 percent of fans voted them as the SEC’s most-polite spectators.
Call it a hunch, but we have a feeling those were all UT fans.
CFB’s Top 10 Most Unruly Fanbases