June 12, 2009
Tennessee's female fans took a crash course in UT football Friday, and early returns were that they passed with flying Orange and White colors.
Head coach Lane Kiffin and his first-year staff hosted the inaugural Lane Kiffin Football Clinic for Women on the UT campus. A total of 214 orange-clad "students" signed up and were in attendance Friday morning before the bell struck 9.
Five hours later, the reviews were all A's.
"I hate to admit this but I thought it was going to be pretty lame," Knoxville's Lynn Taylor said with a laugh. "I was wrong; it was great. They had us totally fired up for this season. I can't wait to go to the games because I will see them in a completely different light.
"I got to see things I would never get to see and meet people I would never get to meet. I just really enjoyed it."
Attendees began with tours of the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center, followed by welcoming comments from Kiffin and athletics director Mike Hamilton. Layla Kiffin, wife of the Vols head coach, then answered questions before turning things over to UT's all-star coaching staff.
From there, it was just like Game Day in Knoxville.
"They showed us how the players put on all their equipment, we toured the Neyland Stadium locker room, they gave us the pregame speeches -- it was impressive," Taylor said. "My husband and my brothers-in-law were completely jealous, and that was last night. Wait until they hear what all we did and what we heard. They will not believe it."
Kiffin says he gets a thrill out of seeing Tennessee fans fired up about their Volunteers.
"It was an exciting day for my staff and me," Kiffin said. "To be around the passion that was there among the women of Tennessee, and from other states as well. We had people from all over, some from as far away as Florida to get here.
"It was great for it to be our first event, to be able to reach out and educate our fans about what we're doing. Not only did we talk football, we also talked about recruiting and we did Game Day. I hope they enjoyed it."
Megan Kain, UT associate director for athletics development, thanked the women who attended Friday's event and made it a huge success.
"Fans like these are what it is all about, and we look forward to seeing them at Neyland Stadium this season!"
Kiffin hopes that "students" like Taylor pass the word about the excitement surrounding Tennessee football, with the 2009 opener against Western Kentucky just more than two months away.
Says Taylor, Kiffin's newest pupil, "I definitely would come back next year."