The head coach of UT's football team is extending a personal invitation. That's right, Butch Jones cordially invites you to this weekends game! It's no secret UT has had several bad years before Butch Jones arrived. Now at 2 and 2, Coach Jones wants everyone to help build a winner.
Coach Jones tells the players what to do on the field. Now he's got a message for the fans get behind us. Coach Butch Jones says, "The big thing is knowing they're wanted and they're needed. And they're wanted and they're needed."
At his news conference, he said it's his job to educate the students on their role as dedicated fans. We checked with the UT ticket office.
The student section sold out the first game, but not the second one.
Coach says he's not disheartened by the lack of student fans, he sees the whole process as an opportunity and challenge. Coach Jones says, "Eighty to ninety percent of our student body is from Tennessee. They grew up being Vol fans and we need them in the stands."
Most students told me they went ot the first game against Austin Peay because it was the first of the season and Butch's first at UT.
A lot of them skipped the second, and aren't planning on being there Saturday. Joseph DeChristina says, "We have a lot of energy, but when you get shut down in Oregon it's hard for someone like me to scream my head off for ya."
When they heard about coach's plea for more student fans, they liked what his idea. Student Daniel Butler says, "You can tell when the students are behind the team, they're more uptempo. If they're just hanging out and the game isn't as exciting."
Karly Rader says, "If they saw an empty section, they'd think it's not good enough for people to come out and watch."
Coach Jones says, "Neyland is special and them knowing we need them they can directly impact a game."
The top reasons students tell me they don't go to the games are work and lack of money. We checked with other SEC schools to see how their student attendance stacks up. Of course, Alabama was sold out and so were Mississippi and Kentucky.