Aug 22, 2013
By Brian Rice KNOXVILLE, Tenn.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- Butch Jones has gone on the road since his hiring as head coach at Tennessee in December to bring the message of Volunteer football to all corners of the state. On Thursday afternoon, that outreach continued by bringing in Nashville Vol Network affiliate 104.5 The Zone to broadcast live from the Anderson Training Facility during Tennessee practice.
The station's 3HL show with Brent Dougherty and Clay Travis (Blaine Bishop, the show's third host, remained in the Nashville studio) broadcast live from the top level of the facility as the Vols practiced below, ahead of game week preparations that begin Monday.
"It was a great day to have them here while we're practicing and really be able to talk Tennessee football with all of our fans around the state of Tennessee," Jones said following a wide-ranging interview with the crew on-air.
The show spent much of the month broadcasting live from another football training camp, that of the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. Though he marveled about the pace and excitement of the show going on just outside the window in Knoxville, Travis said the facility itself impressed him the most.
"The Titans facilities are nice, Tennessee's facilities are spectacular," Travis said, comparing the complex to the practice facility of the state's NFL franchise. "I think that really sums it up. The Titans were recently valued by Forbes as a billion-dollar franchise and they have pretty good facilities. You walk in and say `that's a nice training room, that's a nice weight room, everything else associated with it.' Tennessee's blows it all out of the water. And I think that speaks to the commitment that the University of Tennessee has shown with a $50 million facility, it's jaw-dropping breathtaking."
"We feel it's the best in college football with all of the amenities that it takes to build a championship caliber football program," Jones said. "We're fortunate to have that."
Dougherty found one area of the training facility of particular interest: The Hall of Fame Wall, where a photo of his great grandfather, Nathan W. Dougherty who played guard from 1906-09, looks out onto the indoor field.
"It was really wild for me to see that," Dougherty said. "Just to see the other names on that wall and to see my great grandfather's name up on the wall, it actually brought a tear to my eye. It's something to have that kind of family history at a place like this. He loved football and loved the University of Tennessee and my family takes great pride in that."
The elder Dougherty later became Dean of the College of Engineering and was Chairman of the UT Athletics Board for 40 years. Dougherty was also influential in the design of Shields-Watkins Field, but is perhaps best known to Vol fans as the man responsible for bringing Robert Neyland to Tennessee with one stated mission: Beat Vanderbilt.
"In my family, that was always what was said," the younger Dougherty said of the legendary tale in Vol lore. "He was so irritated that Vanderbilt was always beating Tennessee. That was certainly the reason for the hiring of General Neyland, to beat Vanderbilt. And here we are."
As Jones looks to rebuild the Volunteers' reputation of being the state's team, reaching the fan base in the state capitol and the entire mid-state area has become a concentration for the program. Travis points out that the evolving size and demographics of the Nashville area make it a perfect target for a program on the rise.
"Nashville is a battleground," Travis said. "Nashville is looking to add a million people over the next 20 years. So you start thinking about how many different communities Nashville has and how many places those people are coming from, all over the southeast, all over the midwest. If Tennessee wants to own Nashville, I think you really have to aggressively go after that market."
And, with the candor listeners and readers of his work at outkickthecoverage.com would recognize, Travis described the openness of Jones and his willingness to have the show on campus as a reason for Tennessee fans to be excited for the direction the program is headed.
"Some coaches want to curl up in the fetal position and not share what you're doing on a day-to-day basis," Travis said. "I've always believed if you're really happy about what's going on, you're going to want to talk about it all the time, and you're going to want to grab that megaphone and talk to as many people as you can. I think Butch Jones really gets that."