On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Aug 18, 2009 - Sports & Recreation - 352 pages
12 Reviews

There is no college football team more zealous and competitive than the University of Tennessee Volunteers

When Clay Travis, acclaimed author of Dixieland Delight, decided to spend the 2008 season up close and personal with UT football, he—and every other college football aficionado—thought he was in for a rollicking ride with one of the leading contenders for the national title. After all, when the Vols kicked off the season on September 1, the defending SEC East champions were ranked 18th in the country. As head coach Phillip Fulmer prepared for the game, he reflected upon a coaching career that included an astounding 147 victories, two SEC championships, and a national title. With 34 years at UT under his belt as both a player and coach, the Tennessee native had just signed a contract extension that projected to keep him at the university long enough to become the winningest coach in program history.

But when the Volunteers lost their season opener and the losses continued to mount, it became clear that 2008 was going to be a season on the brink for UT football. By December, the team had suffered its second-worst season ever, and Fulmer, the most beloved and recognized man in Tennessee, had been fired.

Based on exclusive interviews with Fulmer, UT athletic director Mike Hamilton, university boosters, team personnel, players and their families, and fans, On Rocky Top recounts in vivid detail how a season of promise tragically ended an era of college football. Enlivening the narrative is a diverse cast of supporting characters, including 65-year-old "Good Time" Charlie Harris, who has driven the UT big rig for almost 10 years; star running back Arian Foster, a fifth-year senior striving to become the all-time leading rusher in Volunteer history; and multimillionaire booster John "Thunder" Thornton, who defended Fulmer till the end.

A lifelong Volunteer fan whose grandfather played for the team during the 1930s, Travis reports from the locker room to the sideline, and has created a fascinating and loving chronicle of an impassioned state, a celebrated football culture, a beloved coach, and the sensational collapse of a once-mighty juggernaut.

  

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Review: On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era

User Review  - Chet - Goodreads

The 2008 Tennessee football season is one that most Volunteer fans would like to forget. It was the year we watched our beloved team implode and have the worst season most of us could ever remember ... Read full review

Review: On Rocky Top: A Front-Row Seat to the End of an Era

User Review  - Jake - Goodreads

Interesting read on the disastrous 2008 Tennessee football season, written by a young and talented writer. The most interesting aspect of the book for me is Clay Travis' exploration of the insanity of ... Read full review

Contents

California Dreamin
13
Running the Wrong Route
46
The Reclamation Project Commences
53
A Loathsome Duel
83
Matt Mauck and the Mysterious Quarterback Sneak
114
Peyton Manning Meet Jonathan Crompton
121
Volquest
144
The MAC Attack Comes to Knoxville
150
Dueling Fulmers
245
Good Time Charlie and the Football Funeral
251
12
262
11
273
The Future
277
I Love Phillip but
280
10
284
The List
294

Meeting Keith Davis
161
Carry Me Back to Tennessee
194
The Charge of the Booster Brigade
210
The Fourth Saturday in October
218
16
227
14
243
The UpsideDown Bowl
297
Mike Hamilton Finds His Man
308
One Last Time for Tennessee
313
Spring Footballs Eve
325
Acknowledgments
335
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Author of Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference, Clay Travis is a writer for FanHouse.com. A former columnist at CBSSports.com and editor at Deadspin.com, he has also written for Sports Illustrated and The Oxford American, and taught creative writing at Vanderbilt University. He cohosts the daily "Midday Madness" radio show in Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and son.

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