“We don’t give a d**n about the whole state of Alabama, the whole state of Alabama, the whole state of Alabama. We don’t give a d**n about the whole state of Alabama…..We’re from Tennessee!”
It’s been several years since a Tennessee football team has sung that little ditty in the locker room following a Vol victory over Alabama; eight years in fact. It’s been longer than that since we sang about Florida, and even though we have sung it a couple of times in the past decade about Georgia, none of our current group of Volunteers has ever taken part.
I’m not even sure that we sang at all following a Big Orange victory when Lane Kiffen was head coach in 2009. Kiffen seemed to want to do away with all things traditional at Tennessee, so I assumed that we didn’t. Under Derek Dooley, tradition was treated in a more sacred manner in Knoxville, but now under Butch Jones, the singing has returned; only we need an SEC win to be able to sing.
In 1992, I was in the Tennessee locker room following every game, win or lose. It was great to hear interim Coach Phillip Fulmer’s post game speech at Georgia, followed by the singing of, “We don’t give a d**n about the whole state of Georgia.” There were certainly no opera singers in the room that day; not even one or two potential candidates for American Idol. But, the look in Coach Fulmer’s eyes as he led the team in singing is something that will remain in my memory for the rest of my life.
That was a great day for Tennessee football. Coach Johnny Majors was still absent from the sidelines following heart surgery, and Coach Fulmer was just beginning his Hall of Fame career as a head coach. Heath Shuler had just engineered a Volunteer victory over the favored Bulldogs in Athens, and as the game ended, the numerous Big Orange fans at the game also began to sing; “It’s great to be a Tennessee Vol…..It’s great to be a Tennessee Vol.”
But it was the singing in the locker room that stuck with me the most. Even the late Edwin Huster, the executive producer of the Vol Network, had a big smile on his face as he joined in….”We don’t give a d**n about the whole state of Georgia…..We’re from Tennessee! ”
Tennessee football teams have been singing following wins for decades and decades. I’m not sure when it started or even how it started. It’s not reserved for just states, but private schools as well. “We don’t give a d**n about the whole school of Vanderbilt…….” is a good example.
Tradition has a place in all phases of life. We need to respect it, honor it and cherish it. It is more prominent in college football than any other sport, and Tennessee has as much pure tradition as any other school. When Lane Kiffen brought out the all-black uniforms on Halloween in 2009, I had a hard time dealing with it. Tennessee won over South Carolina that night, so we all had to accept it. Coach Butch Jones brought out the smokey-gray uniforms in the pre-season, so wearing them against Georgia this weekend isn’t a quick decision. Besides, Coach Jones has already re-established a lot of the little traditions at Tennessee, so he gets a free pass when it comes to changing uniforms.
A college football program that has posted 800 wins all-time should be well-stocked in tradition and Tennessee is. After the game ends on Saturday, and if the Vols are fortunate enough to win, I hope that Tennessee players coaches and fans alike are all singing, “We don’t give a d**n about the whole state of Georgia, we’re from Tennessee!” I know I will.
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).