Reports of Tennessee football hiring Greg Schiano sparked a major backlash among Volunteers fans, proving they choose integrity over winning.
Shoutout to Vol Twitter. Shoutout to Tennessee football fans everywhere for taking a stand and making their voices heard.
No matter what happens with the Vols’ coaching search, and regardless of what’s true and untrue, Tennessee fans made clear where they stand. You can potentially cross a few moral and ethical lines.
But Greg Schiano was a line too far.
In case you missed it, reports began to spread like wildfire that the Vols were finalizing a deal with Schiano, the former head coach of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and current defensive coordinator for the Ohio State Buckeyes, to become their next head coach.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 26, 2017
Again, these were just reports. Nobody officially said anything. But it didn’t matter. Tennessee football fans had enough.
A Washington Post report in the summer of 2016 noted that documents show Schiano knew of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse at Penn State. To be fair, Schiano has denied it. But the documents implicating him are in a deposition. That’s pretty damning.
And it was damning enough for Vol Nation to say no way!
Vol Twitter went off from the start. Here’s just a few things that were said by former Tennessee football players.
Coaching options OTHER that Schiano:
Kim Jong-un, Putin, even DOOLEY!!!!!!
— Fuad Reveiz (@FReveiz) November 26, 2017
All of my twitter right now is saying no to this Schiano hiring lol. All of it. Even other teams and conferences are even saying no. Lol. @John_Currie lemme know if u need more info.
— Ramon Foster (@RamonFoster) November 26, 2017
I’m just going to say this if we hire Greg Schiano as our next head coach my options will be open to which college program I will Be donating my TIME and MONEY to. (No disrespect to GS) but if UT leaders don’t take football serious then I will find the program that will!!!
— Albert Haynesworth (@haynesworthiii) November 26, 2017
State lawmakers even got in on the action.
Our Tennessee standards mean something, and a Greg Schiano hire would be anathema to all that our University and our community stand for. I sincerely hope that these rumors are not true, because even serious consideration would be unacceptable.
— Eddie Smith (@RepEddieSmith) November 26, 2017
— Rep. Jason Zachary (@JasonZacharyTN) November 26, 2017
We expect the highest standards for our public institutions. The special few chosen to lead within those institutions should have a demonstrated history of integrity and character. I hope today’s rumors are not true, because protecting children is more important than anything.
— Bill Lee (@BillLeeTN) November 26, 2017
And fans then went to protest the hire at Neyland Stadium.
A small group is starting to get together at Neyland Stadium to protest a potential hiring of Greg Schiano. More cars are pulling up as I tweet. pic.twitter.com/urTpCvmvll
— Louis Fernandez Jr (@LouisWBIR) November 26, 2017
Simply put, Vols fans did not hide their displeasure from the start. And that’s a major testament to all of them.
Let’s be clear. Greg Schiano has as good of a resume as many of the people that are Tennessee football coaching candidates. He turned Rutgers into a national power. He has experience in the NFL.
And it’s very clear that the guy knows football.
However, the reports of what went on at Penn State were enough for Vol Nation to do everything to send him away. After all of that, this report surfaced.
Greg Schiano is currently concerned with the climate of the Tennessee fan base and the reaction towards reports of his contract being finalized at Tennessee. The deal may not get finalized.
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) November 26, 2017
For all of this, Tennessee football fans deserve a ton of credit. Regardless of what happens with this coaching search, Vols fans made their voices heard. They may accept a few things, including potentially hiring a guy like Bobby Petrino with his baggage. Heck Schiano has red flags elsewhere.
However, they made it clear that what Schiano is accused of at Penn State is unacceptable.
Often times, fan bases receive tests as to whether or not that put integrity and morality over winning. Tennessee football fans faced a major one on Sunday. And to be honest, they aced it with flying colors.