Feb. 18, 2011
Sunday night marks the ESPN premier of The Color Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story.
Holloway, one of the most celebrated athletes in Tennessee Volunteers history, is the subject of a Kenny Chesney-produced film that documents the life and career of the SEC's first African-American starting quarterback. As part of ESPN's Year of the Quarterback initiative, the film debuts Sunday on ESPN at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Wednesday night in Knoxville, guests turned out for a private screening at the historic Tennessee Theatre. Among the attending UT notables were Holloway's head coach, Bill Battle; 1998 national championship coach Phillip Fulmer, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and current Vols head coach Derek Dooley.
'A Very Truthful Piece'
Holloway said that screening was his initial look at Chesney's finished product.
"After seeing it for the first time, it's an emotional piece and it's a very truthful piece. I told the truth. I told exactly what happened and how I felt. I think my mother did the same and so did my sister.
"And I was really shocked at what my daughter had to say in the film, because I had no idea that she didn't know anything about my athletic background. Every time I was with her, I was always talking about her and wanting to find out what she was doing. I guess I never took the time to tell her what I had done."
Holloway is in his 13th year on the Tennessee athletics department staff and continues to serve as a vital link between the current Vols football staff and its storied history.
UT's Assistant Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Relations and Lettermen also has been inducted into eight halls of fame throughout North America. He remains associated in the minds of UT fans with the razzle-dazzle offense he quarterbacked during his undergraduate days of the 1970s. Nicknamed "The Artful Dodger," Holloway packed excitement into every play, whether it developed into a pass or a scramble.
Holloway also was the first black baseball player in UT history and went on to garner All-SEC and All-America honors as a shortstop, finishing with a .353 career batting average. He still owns UT's longest hitting streak at 27 games.
The Huntsville, Ala., native says the film's personal nature made it more special for him.
"All the other hall of fame speeches and accolades I have been through, those are factual. They are because of things people can look for in a records book and actually point to. This is something that involved my whole family.
"After seeing it, I can honestly say I enjoyed it and I think everybody had a great time. It's probably the best single product with all my family involved that I've ever done. And I think everything was portrayed exactly like it was."
Holloway, who turned 57 last month, says Tennessee fans and his Huntsville friends should notice one important theme throughout the film.
"I hope they get that my mom and dad raised a pretty good guy. I'd be satisfied with that. My parents succeeded in their efforts to raise two pretty good children. I hope people can come away seeing a little bit of that.
"And the only thing that would have made this more complete is to have had my dad and Haywood Harris (former UT media relations director) around. They both probably had the best seat in the house up there anyway."
Who's Who in Knoxville
The Holloway project was the idea of Chesney, the country music superstar who grew up in the Knoxville area idolizing Tennessee's scrambling quarterback.
"We all know Condredge is a great athlete, and know all the statistics and everything he meant to Tennessee football," said Chesney, who sang and produced the acclaimed "Boys of Fall" music video last year. "But I think the thing that all of us who made this film have realized is that we got to know how great the man is behind the Orange No. 7."
Chesney this month was recognized by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame as Tennessean of the Year for his contributions to sports, including his work on the "Boys of Fall" music video.
Other guests at Chesney's screening in Knoxville included ESPN College Game Day announcer and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, former Penn State quarterback and ESPN/ABC announcer Todd Blackledge, Monday Night Football commentator and Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, who also is a former UT graduate assistant. ESPN/ABC announcer Brad Nessler moderated the Q&A panel immediately following the screening.
Former UT player and current Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was in attendance, as were former UT and NFL quarterback Pat Ryan and former UT quarterbacks Randy Sanders and Sterling Henton, UT 1998 national championship quarterback Tee Martin, former UT wide receiver great Larry Seivers, and UT's Lester McClain, who was Tennessee's and the SEC's first African-American scholarship football player.
Holloway's honor roll includes recent induction by the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He also is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, UT Baseball Hall of Fame, and the city halls of fame for Toronto, Ottawa, Knoxville and Huntsville.
Holloway is married to the former Courtney Haralson of Meigs County, and is the father of Jasmine and Condredge III.