Local fans weigh in on UT football changes


For fans here in Middle Tennessee, there's been a lot of talk about the changes taking place within University of Tennessee football.

Some remain hopeful, while others find it disheartening to see the buyout of former coach Butch Jones and athletics director John Currie put on paid leave.

"Here we are in the best man cave in downtown Franklin," said Tony Steele of Classic Sports Barbershop. "We talk sports from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. close. Twelve hour sports. It's all we play. It's all we talk about. This is where we started 10 years ago from an old garage."

Since opening his barbershop, Steele has become a fan of a team.

"Tennessee," he laughed, another customer getting into his chair.

That's coming from a guy from Michigan.

"Michigan, don't get mad," he smiled. "I live here now. Working in a barbershop, they get on me if I don't be a UT fan."

There are UT caps in glass cases and an umbrella outside. A picture in the windows shows a "T" shaved into the back of a fan's head.

"I've grown to love some UT football, but it's been rough lately. It's been rough," Steele said.

Steele doesn't like the constant bad news, not for the fans who walk into his shop.

"There's guys probably not sleeping," he said. "Nobody wants to hear about how it keep being a mess."

He also believes the news is bad for the coach search.

"It might make somebody else who wants the job to say, it's a little messy," Steele said. "They're going to keep looking somewhere else."

News 4 visited the barbershop just minutes before UT named former head football coach Phillip Fulmer as its next athletic director. Even before the announcement, several in the room said they wanted to see Fulmer as the athletic director.

While many in the room disagree about a lot, they're not in a hurry to hear the name of a new coach.

"They need to take a weekend off," laughed a customer. "Chill for a weekend. Regroup on Monday."

"They need to hear from the community," Steele said. "I don't know why its always a rush. Nothing good comes from rushing. I think its going to have to be someone who bleeds orange and white that's going to have to come in. Peyton Manning, where you at? There's somebody waiting to take over UT and make it a great program."

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Multimedia Journalist

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