ATHENS, Tenn. (WVLT) Thousands of people gathered at a benefit dinner hosted by the Athens area Chamber of Commerce. The guest speaker for this year's event was Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban.
For the past few months, the Athens area Chamber of Commerce had received hundreds of phone calls and emails from Vol fans saying they don't want Saban in East Tennessee.
The event tonight was pretty civil and it had a lot of security. Coach Saban told reporters that he wasn't here to talk about football.
"This is not about Tennessee this is not about Alabama its about what we do for people how we try to help people," says Saban.
Saban spoke about motivation, growing up and team work.
Nneka King, a resident of Athens, and lifelong Bama fan, was happy to see the coach. She said, "It was really amazing... cause I'm use to seeing him on the television, seeing the real person is really awesome"
Steve Cordell came up from Chattanooga to see the coach. "He's not only a great football coach, but a great guy in general," says Cordell.
1500 people attended the event. The city of Athens says its the largest in the city's history.